Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Friday, August 15, 2008
Falls City, NE to Atchison, KS
66 miles (7664 total miles)

Things did not go smoothly today. We started off with a nice breakfast at a local spot in Falls City, chatting with some of the folks there. One of them told us as we left that, by the way, he thought there was a bridge out on Rt. 7 where we would be going. We went back through town, taking pictures of the place and made a wrong turn, going about 2 miles before we woke up enough to realize it. So we headed back and got on the right road out of town. Oh, and it was also foggy, and got foggier as we went. Our glasses kept fogging up, too; Pat took his off - he just wears them for sun and wind protection, but I had to keep wiping mine off. After a while, the fog lifted a bit and the riding got less tense. We were still doing the roller coaster routine but the hills weren't too bad. We soon came to our first town, Rulo, where we would get onto Rt. 7. Rulo is in Nebraska but it's right across the river from Missouri. We took a picture of some historical markers there and the bridge into Missouri. We asked one of the truckers at the bar & grill there if he knew about a bridge being out on Rt. 7 and he did. He said the detour was marked well but that the road they'd send us on was really hilly. He recommended we take a road a couple of miles farther on our detour, saying it was a lot less hilly. We decided to go with the standard detour because we were worried that we'd miss the road or take a wrong turn and make a longer day even longer. But, boy, he wasn't kidding about the hills! We thought they would just be more of the same that we'd seen in the last couple of days. Well, they were just as frequent but a lot steeper.

Early on our detour, we went into Kansas, our 24th state. I only know this because our GPS showed a big blue line marked State Boundary across its screen and we went over it - no sign, no nothing. For a while, we were also on an Indian reservation, which straddled the Nebraska-Kansas border; no sign for that either, but there was a casino there. The detour signs were very good up to the casino and then they disappeared. The casino was called the White Cloud Casino, which we assumed would be in the town of White Cloud, but no, it was about 5 miles from town. We arrived in White Cloud, a small town, also on the Missouri River and were greeted by an old gent who was sitting in front of his house drinking a Gatorade. He asked us to stop and chat, which we did and he launched into one story after another about himself and the town of White Cloud. He said his name was Wolf River Bob and he was 83 years old. He'd done a lot of biking himself but lately his health hadn't been so great. He was the self-appointed historian of the town, apparently, and enjoyed meeting folks who came through town. He said a trio of bicyclists from New Jersey had come through a few days prior, heading west. We were surprised we hadn't met them on the road.

We got onto Rt. 7 at the edge of town and enjoyed a relatively flat stretch for a few miles, then it was back into the hills. We stopped at the town of Troy for a pretty unsatisfying lunch at a gas station/deli and headed off for the last 18 miles to Atchison. We stopped for a snack before tackling the last big hill, about 7 miles from Atchinson and a very nice young woman in a pickup truck stopped in the highway to check if we were ok/needed anything. She said her house was just up the road, so if we needed to use the bathroom or anything, we were welcome to. It was tempting, but we figured we wouldn't since we were so close to the end. We eventually made it into Atchison, noting the Amelia Earhart signs - turns out this is her birthplace. On arriving at our motel, we found our challenges for the day weren't yet over - no cellphone access, no internet connection, and this was to be our rest day stop, where we would have to work out next week's route and reserve places to stay! With a lot of scouting around, we discovered that the Super 8 across the street from our motel has wireless and is owned by the same person so the hotel clerk said we could just come and sit in the lobby and work on our laptop there. So at least we'll be able to use the internet. The phone issue is still a problem, but we'll probably just get a phone card and work with that.

We arrived at our motel at 5:10, having gone 65-2/3 miles in 6-3/4 bike hours. Our estimate for the day had been about 57 miles, so you can see how much our false start and our detour added! Tomorrow will be a rest day, at least for our legs. It looks like we'll have a busy day, though.

The facade of our historic hotel, built in 1924

The Rexall Drug Store on the ground floor of the hotel

A pretty house in Falls City, NE

The Richardson County Court House

Fancy decorations on a brick bank building

A little light fog as we leave town

Oops, the fog gets heavier on the hills

The bridge into Missouri at the town of Rulo, NE

Historic markers greeting visitors from Missouri

Vegetation along the Missouri River

We come to our detour...

and cross the Big Nemaha River

At some point around here, we enter Kansas

The fog is lightening up - view from the top of one of our detour hills

These are some of the hills we had to deal with today

A string of houses near the White Clousd casino

Another pretty view from the top of a hill

The White Cloud Casino sign

More hills!!!

Fancy grain silos on the edge of the town of White Cloud

The town of White Cloud and its water tower

Pat chats with Wolf River Bob in White Cloud, KS

The front license plate on Bob's truck

A view of Missouri from White Cloud (the road goes steeply downhill to Rt. 7)

The welcome to White Cloud from Rt. 7

A view of the river at a park near the welcome sign

A fancy pavilion by the park

On the flat stretch after White Cloud, a pretty view of the river area

A trailer park by the Missouri River

A big Kansas hill, with the same sandy soil as the Loess Hills

A line-up of new, shiny grain silos next to a decrepit barn

The Missouri hills look big, too...

and pretty

A Lewis & Clark marker about the Wolf River area

A pretty hill in Kansas and, of course, a corn field

The Kansas state road signs have a sunflower motif

Wolf River

A stunning cloud dwarfs the hills below it

We enter Atchison, the birthplace of Amelia Earhart