Missouri Loves Company
Friday I rode with the Breakfast Club/Crew, as is my wont. Accent on the enjoyment, and the food.
We stopped in Lexington MO, for well-made sandwiches and cofffee better than any thus far (sez Jon). The amazing thing about the town was : stunning historical architecture (soak it up, J.P.– it will be gone by Denver) so good that I practically hit a pedestrian as I rubbernecked Yet Another 1860 brick home. One of the owners of Enigma Rarities tea/art shop told me she’d lived in Middlebury Vt prior to Lexington, and that she was starting over in this historic–and affordable–prairie town. Her daughter was selling flowers, and team B.C. purchased a fistful of sunflowers for my handlebars.
I (heart) youse guyz.
It was so damp out that all three layers of my clothes (cotton tee, pink cotton longsleeve, and nylon jersey, black) were drenched and little air evap. made my heart race toward heat stroke when I might have been smart to risk sunburn…It was great to chill in a proper tea room. Shame that I didn’t check my profanity at the door. More than once I found my self letting fly with a completely unwarranted ” @#)$*#!” to the chagrin of my mates.
I’m a bowl in a china shop, tis true.
Saturday and Sunday were unseasonably NON HUMID days…Brilliant blue skies, rolling curvaceous furrows straight outa Thos.. Hart Benton’s paintings.
Teamed up w/ Bryan R. (he steered us onto beloved “Katy” trail) and Adrianna T.M., faced ninety miles jump-started by a accidental prayer breakfast. It’s clear that we are in the heart of a sort of bible belt. Churches everywhere. Should it be a surprise to walk into a coffeeshop and bump into a a dozen or so overall’d men at long tables in the Country Cafe of Auburn? That we were the unwitting attendees to a traveling preacher’s sermon? As we shoveled in the number one combo (three eggs, pancake, two sausage, hashbrowns and coffee) without comment, he was serving up inspiration with biscuits and gravy to rapt farmers.
Eye contact, the occasional murmured word connected the disparate groups. We were the strangers, and yet we were welcome. That was good enough. They even said they’d pray for our safety, leaving the salvation up to us .
Back on the road, a stiff breeze clobbered us from the North. Two tactics helped:
1) two minute intervals at the front, while the other(s) rest in the slip stream, and
2) every twenty miles, rest in the shade under a good tree.
Seems reasonable, right?
But who stops long enough to gaze up into the triple-cross spoke pattern of a mature maple canopy? (with music by unknown avian composer)?
Legs propped on trunk, splayed in the impecably mown grass of yet another tidy home, we resemble drying carcasses.
Saturday was hella windy, between St. Joseph MO (run-down river town, felt like there was nearly no one home) and Auburn. Yet another tea shop (the Duck Inn) sustained us even though they technically were closed at one p.m. Three others (Irish, Danish and Italian–no joke) on auto-tour also benefitted from the ladies of Craig Missouri’s hospitality.
Sunday easy breezing into Council Bluffs Iowa, with lunch in Omaha.
We picked the Pollo Nuevo. As soon as Bryan opend the door our ears were scorched w/Mexican music, and somehow we got our order across, sat for a supremely tasty plate of the real deal (fresh cilantro chopped in the kitchen, real frijoles, great sopas and burrito) and the leering men I’d tried to ignore began to raise their voices. Bryan told me the men’s room had holes punched in the soft sheetrock. Right behind us, an Unhappy Customer called his friend a ‘pendejo’ and picked up a chair. We finished fast, got out.
Then today–a brilliant pink dawn and scary bruised blue clouds in the west. Even though I’d carefully squeezed guava jam into a baggy, and baggied up my camera, cue sheet, and sweater, I felt unready. A soaking rain might ruin this ride toward Lincoln Nebraska, home of Monkeywrench Cycles. Farmers love these steady rains, but I might be too wet to go the neccessary six miles off-piste. At the last second I heaved the bike into the big truck, and several riders followed suit.
The rain hit hard, then stopped, making me rue not riding. Oh, good, it resumed later…
But no, it was great to just saunter into Nate Woodman’s unique scene in the precise center of the USA (see the plaque on the intersection of O and 13th streets).
Actually he’s on P, but damn, who’s counting.
I jumped ship from the tour for a day and happily distracted customers and Nate and Eric who hold down the fort. A few 42 team members perused the scene and picked up the things they needed (glad Justen got the killer jersey!) then the shop was all mine.
Turns out there have been very well documented rides out of Lincoln. Rapha had a national tour and filmed a clip.
We rode home for a small get together where I met Nate’s neighbors: Paul to the west , newlyweds Frankie and Jesse to the east…
Who among us gets to live sandwiched between friends? I mean, other than you college students?
As Nate put it, “we might not have the most interesting stuff in the world here, but it’s sure good enough to stick around and enjoy”.