1984 Bike Tour: Day 30 – Kansas is big state to lose partner in

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Monday, June 11, 1984
Golden City, Mo., to Chanute, Kan.
98 miles

Locator map

I’m reprinting the day-to-day journal entries of a cross-country bike tour my friend and I took in 1984.  More about the TransAmerica Tour 1984

Gene’s Journal

Tonight finds us at Bryan and Janette’s apartment in Chanute. They’re a wonderful couple that Bruce met at a restaurant in town where he was eating. Bryan found me a few hours later as I was riding into town.

That’s because Bruce and I got separated today.

We cycled the 35 miles from Golden City to Pittsburg in about 3 hours. Riding our first flat roads in four weeks meant  we had a lot of power to cover lots of ground — fast.

At Girard we turned north and the tailwinds pushed us even faster. I took off with the pure joy of cycling fast. I made a left turn after 7 miles, stopped, fished around in my handlebar pack for a plum and waited for Bruce. He never showed. I cycled back to Girard into the headwind. No Bruce. I had no idea what could have happened.

No Bruce

I returned to the cross-country route and followed it into Chanute, our agreed upon stop for the evening. I stopped at the first motel on the edge of town. No Bruce. I checked a campground across the street. No Bruce. I stopped at the city park. No Bruce.

As I continued into town, wondering what to do next, a bicyclist riding my way waved me over and asked if I’d lost my friend. I could’t believe it. Five minutes later I was walking into the T Restaurant where Bruce was finishing up a plate of fried chicken.


As we pieced it together, I had pulled a little too far off the main road and Bruce was doing some head-down pedaling of his own and plain didn’t see me. It was miles before he figured we were on different routes, so he just followed the signs to Chanute.

After I ate, Bryan and Janette put us up at their place for the night. We told him all about our trip, and he told us about some bike racing he’d done. He also gave us some pointers for alternative routes to take for the  next day.

Bruce and I just couldn’t believe our luck. First we get separated, then we staying as guests in someone’s comfortable home.

Headline: June 11, 1984
The 2nd-ranking leader of the underground, non-communist
Solidarity trade union in Poland is arrested and
charged with treason.

Bruce’s Journal

Another long day. 98 miles in the heat. And whoever said Kansas was flat? They’ve got something called the Flint Hills, and while they’re not as rugged as, say, the Ozarks, they are definitely hills.

We had a first today. Bis and I lost each other in the early afternoon, about 40 miles from Chanute, which was our destination. He was up ahead and pulled off the road (7 North) to our next turn. Somehow I passed him on 7 and neither of us saw the other. I went on up the road, picked up 39 West, and after a few miles realized that Bis was nowhere in sight. He then doubled back to find me, and that was that.

We found each other about five hours later in Chanute. We both wanted to strangle each other, but really we were glad there was no accident or calamity and that we were both all right.

A local cyclist

I got into town before Bis and put my bike in front of a restaurant on the way to the city’s park–where we had planned to camp. I figured he would see the bike on his way there. Anyway, I ran into a local cyclist and he was curious about the Cannondale. He was a nice guy and even gave me a pair of bike gloves when I told him that Bis was in desperate need and that the bike shop in Pittsburgh was closed.

Later, he saw Bis and told him where I was. And after that he came back to the restaurant with his girlfriend and we talked over coffee. They invited us over to spend the night and we accepted. They were such nice people–Bryan and Janette.

We talked bikes and got cleaned up and a good night’s sleep. Janette made us breakfast in the morning. It was another one of those really nice things that seem to happen only when you’re on the road. They really took care of us.

200 miles

So we are in Kansas now, and the day ended up great, despite our losing each other in the afternoon. We’ve covered 200 miles in two days and are feeling pretty good. We’re going to try to keep the centuries going all the way through to Pueblo. We’re really in decent shape now, I think.

We’re in store for another hot day. It’s 78 now at 7:30 in the morning and already humid.


Day 31 — “Shortcut proves hazardous”

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1 pings

  1. […] really say why, but some of my best memories of bicycling across the US come from Kansas. Maybe it’s the wide open spaces and one century-day after another. That positive vibe was […]

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