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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Date: Thursday, June 4, 2009
Route: From Topeka, KS to St. Joseph, MO
Temp: 55 to 80/Winds: 10-15 mph
Elevation Climb: 3500 feet
Miles Ridden: 86 miles

Nothing against Kansas - but after 6 days and about 500 miles (one wide state) it was fun to cross another state line! We went through Atchison, KS which was Emelia Earhart's home. We're in St. Joseph, MO tonight - which was the kick-off spot for the Pony Express Route that ends in our hometown of Sacramento.
Carol stopped and toured Amelia's birthplace home as you can see from the pictures above. She was an amazing woman - and her accomplishments were many. Amelia made great strides in opening the new field of aviation to women. In 1935, she became the first person to fly from Hawaii to the American mainland. By doing so, she became not only the first person to solo anywhere in the Pacific, but also the first person to solo both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Also in 1935, she joined the faculty of Purdue University as a female career consultant. It was the purchase of a Lockheed Electra, through Purdue University, that enabled Amelia to fulfill her dream -- circumnavigating the globe by air.
In May of 1937, Amelia embarked upon the first around-the-world flight at the equator. On July 2, after completing nearly two-thirds of her historic flight -- over 22,000 miles -- she vanished along with her navigator Frederick Noonan. They took off from Lae, New Guinea, bound for tiny Howland Island in the vast Pacific Ocean. The distance from Lae to Howland was about equal to a transcontinental flight across the U.S. A great naval, air and land search failed to locate Amelia, Noonan, or the aircraft, and it was assumed they were lost at sea. To this day, their fate is the subject of unending speculation. Some theorized the pair ran out of fuel looking for Howland Island, and had to ditch in the Pacific. Others thought they may have crash landed on another small island. Some speculated they were captured by the Japanese, accused of espionage, then held as bargaining chips in the event war erupted between the U.S. and Japan.
Along the way today, Champ and I were passing through one of the little Kansas towns - and we spotted a hammock in front of a house on a tree lined street. There was a young lad sitting in it with his dog. We asked if we might try it out - and after he got the okay from his mom, the picture above shows a very relaxed bike rider!

We arrived safely at the hotel - with the exception of my roommate Champ, who was taking a short cut to get our chocolate milk (which I've learned is a great energy booster after a long day one the road). He hit a big ditch, went over his handle bars, hit his head - and broke his helmet, bit his lip and bruised his leg badly. We went thru the excitment of the calling the EMT's and took him to the hospital. He's back in the motel licking his wounds and threating to ride tomorrow. I'm not sure that will happen! He's a very lucky guy that it wasn't any worst than it was!

Carol's been here for four days and it's been great having her here. It's been fun sharing this experience with her. It's hard to believe that in three weeks we'll be in Boston and she'll be there to see me dip the front tire in the Atlantic Ocean.

Please excuse the shorter message tonight, but we've been busy going to the hospital, buying Champ another helmet, getting his prescriptions - and I've got another 86 miles tomorrow. More then!

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