Day 44: Ash Grove to Pittsburg, KS

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the Ash Grove city hall to ask for permission to camp in the city park. A woman named Debbie told me there’s actually a bike hostel in the park, then she gave me the key to the hostel. I was surprised because the hostel is not mentioned on my map.

Ash Grove bike hostel

Once I arrived at the hostel I took a shower. As I was taking a nap, Mike, the caretaker of the hostel came in. We chatted a bit and he gave me a laser engraved coin that shows the TransAmerica Trail passing through Ash Grove, MO. What a cool unique gift! I will treasure it as a good luck charm.

After Mike left, I decided to get dinner at Joy Wok, a Chinese restaurant. The food wasn’t great. As I was laying down on the sofa back in the hostel, another bicyclist came in. His name is Rich and he is an ESL (English as a second language) teacher. As we were talking, Mike stopped in again to check up on Rich.

Rich, another cyclist going west

Rich is an interesting man. He’s 75 years old. For some reason we started talking about Trump. I gave my opinion about him and Rich was offended. But he said he enjoyed talking to me. I thought he was being sarcastic. When I said that, he got really mad. I guess I had a hard time reading him. After we both cooled down a bit, we talked about less serious things, such as Rich’s love of pets. I think Rich is a little lonely on this trip. He asked me if he can ride with me since we’re both going in the same direction. But he rides a shorter distance on average and I need to ride over 70 miles the next day, so I had to decline.

I ended up going to bed a little after 10 PM. This morning I woke up at 5. I donated $10 to the hostel. That's my usual donation. After packing things up, I headed out to Copper Grill, a nearby restaurant, for a western omelette and some coffee.

First breakfast

Second breakfast

At 6:30 AM, I started my ride. There were some storm clouds and it only drizzled a little. The temperature was cool and road was hilly at first, but then became flatter after 20 miles or so. I reached Golden City at 9:30 and had another omelette at Cooky’s Café. Mike, the caretaker of the bike hostel in Ash Grove, had told me to try the pies here. I tried the Dutch blueberry pie with a scoop of ice cream on top. It was excellent!

On the way to Pittsburg, Kansas, I met two cyclists coming from the opposite direction. Chris and Peter are going to Yorktown, Virginia. I didn’t chat long with them since Chris was trying to pump up his back tire. Plus we were on the side of a busy road.

Chris and Peter

The humidity started to rise in the afternoon and I arrived in Pittsburg at 1:30 PM. I had a spaghetti with meatballs lunch at Napoli’s Italian Restaurant before going to the Tailwind Cyclists bike shop in the north end of the town.

Made it to Kansas!

My Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires came in. Roger, the shop owner, helped his apprentice, Andrew, to change my tires. I put on longer bar ends because the ones I had bought at the bike shop in Farmington was too short to hold. Roger and Andrew also put on new toe clips since the old one had a crack on the joint. The total came out to be $202.74, including the tires and labor.

Roger training his apprentice, Andrew

After the bike shop, I pedaled a few blocks to the city’s RV park. Someone had left raw meat on the picnic table under the pavilion so there were a bunch of flies. I guess I won’t be staying under the pavilion tonight.

I rode over 72 miles today. Not sure if I want to ride 13 more miles to Girard for the city park there. Maybe I’ll get some dinner here in Pittsburg and just set up camp at the RV park. Surprisingly, there’s free internet at the park.

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