Dan, Anona, and Wolf River BobW.R.B. looking out at the 5 states : Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and
"You're standing in the state of Confusion"
Trying not to get us lost
Dan and lil' Lonnie
Well, a lot has happened since the last post and it's getting harder to keep track of the days.
We left Watkins Mill on Sunday morning and rode down Highway 92 toward Smithville. We chose to take 92 instead of the planned route because it cut out about 20 miles from the trip. It was Sunday, so the road wasn't as busy as usual. We made pretty good time... stopped at about mile 50 for lunch at a English-pub inspired brewery in touristy Weston, MO. They accidently brought us an extra beer oops... but Dan rallied. We ordered a hefty lunch of fish & chips and a salmon sandwich, with lots of fries. We road 50 more miles that day, across another scary bridge in Atchison, KS, to stop in beautiful White Cloud, Kansas at 8:00.
The White Cloud Marina (which was actually a fish gutting station) was right on the main drag, next to the river, and was where the map suggested we camp. There was an info kiosk about the Lewis and Clark Route and a wooden awning structure that had Lewis and Clark info in it. (There was also a bathroom that was full of dead animals, which we discovered without bike lights.) With the exception of the bathroom, the whole place was clean and seemed like as good a place as any to set up camp. We setup our tent and got ready to take "showers" in the water spigot, when we saw an old man with a walking stick come down the road from town toward us. He hollered "hello!" and we said hi, and he came up and introduced himself. "You guys biking in? Welcome to White Cloud! I'm Wolf River Bob, and I'm the Lewis and Clark greeter." We told him what we were doing, and he nodded and said that he watches from his Lewis and Clark Look-out for travellers, and comes down to welcome them, whether they are coming by car, bike, kayak... Wolf River Bob kind of confirmed that it was alright for us to camp by the marina, and he made us feel really welcome! When he walked away, Dan and I looked at each other, not believing that we had just met this guy. He seemed like a character straight out of some old movie.
In the morning, we were greeted again by Wolf River Bob, who came down to let us sign the guestbook, which he kept in a plastic leaf. The guestbook was full of names from the 1970's on, including a guy who kayaked from New York and was heading to Astoria, Oregon, and a guy who biked around the world. We met Wolf River Bob at his antique shop for a tour of the town before we left. He took us (in his pick-up) to his look-out spot and camp site at the top of a bluff. He had cleared an area for camping and bonfires. He had a barn full of old wagons and wagon parts, and an old sleigh and corn shucker. He told us a little about the homes and buildings in town , which was a little sad because it seems that Bob is the only person who cares enough to keep up with all the repairs and maintenence. We almost wanted to stay and help him chop wood and clear brush to get ready for the towns huge bi-annual flea market that he helps put on. W.R.Bob then took us to his antique shop. It was full of treasures (my grandmother would be appalled) ! He had skillets stacked up outside, wheels of all sorts, western boots, shelves of old bottles, and all sorts of memorabilia. The movie Paper Moon was shot in White Cloud, so Bob had a huge cardboard tribute with pictures of Ryan and Tatum O'Neal pasted to it. He had pictures of all the old western movie stars. We learned that Wolf River Bob himself had lived in California and was an expert at the bullwhip and quickdraw. (He once knocked a cigarette from his buddy's lips with a bullwhip!). Apparently he was an entertainer and worked as the maitre'de at a Hollywood restaurant. Whew...that's a lot about Wolf River Bob... We obviously could have spent all day listening to him talk! What a character!
We finally got back on the trail. We rode about 55 miles to Auburn, Nebraska, where we met up with Dan's cousin Leslie. Oh, it felt so good to see a familiar face and to have a shower and a comfortable bed! Leslie really took care of us too! We cooked up some spaghetti and baked some cookies and just chilled out with a movie (through which I lasted about 20 minutes before falling asleep..). Yesterday we woke up early (Leslie is a teacher and had to leave home at 7:30) and ate pancakes and hit the road again. We spent a couple of hours in road construction, and that slowed us down. For some reason we were pretty tired yesterday. We rode 70 miles to Wilber, NE, where Dan's Grandma picked us up in her pickup. Cheating? No way! See, it was going to be a 2 day trip, but we opted to get a ride for the last 60 miles so that we would be able to spend all day today in York. We sure have been eating well here...!
P.S. We didn't say much about our stay with Mitch in Jeff City. He was a real meat & potatoes kind of guy. Like literally...he cooked us up pork steak and potatoes for dinner. Dan and I split a potato and...a pork chop. I couldn't refuse! Dan was itching to tell Mitch that I was vegetarian (after I was done eating) and finally the truth came out. Mitch had a good laugh, and finally said "that's like having a dyke over and sleeping with her before she goes home!" Oh Mitch...