Sunday, June 20, 2010

bak 2010 - I Heart Herington

The plan was to take a little easy today. I didn't leave Minneapolis until 8:00am. Some nice country roads, smooth pavement and little traffic, had me riding faster than I had planned. Like my buddy, Pat, says "Take what the road gives you". Eight or nine miles out of town there was a SAG stop, and I saw John from VA as we refilled our bottles. We rode together and visited for several miles. When he dropped back I pushed on. The next SAG stop was in Talmage, where the SAG hags had a patriotic theme going.
As we neared Abilene we crossed I-70 to the south for the first time this week. I made the 43 miles to Abilene in less than 3 hours so I joined a small group waiting for the Pizza Hut to open at 11:00 so I could carbo-load at the buffet. After they opened they informed us that the buffet wouldn't be ready until 11:30, so I headed back to an old drive-thru and enjoyed burger, fries, and root beer on the ledge of their flower bed.
Then I spent some time taking pictures of the Eisenhower library, museum, and home. My parents and I had driven out to Abilene and spent the day here several years ago, and my Dad was able to tell us of his experience with some of the vehicles and weapons on display.
As we headed out of town we waited with the rest of the traffic for a train to pass. Shortly after the crossing I spotted some Shetland ponies and goats, one of which seemed as curious about me as I was about him. Maybe he was just looking for a handout. Perhaps pie?
22 miles from Abilene, a couple hours after lunch, we rolled into Hope, KS and they had cold water and homemade ice cream for us in the city park.
Our destination for the day was Herington. Honestly I had never heard of Herington, but the welcome they gave us surpassed many warm welcomes we had already received. First they had asked the tour organizers to have us come into town from the west and south. Less traffic on these roads, and the chance to see more of their town made it a great suggestion. We rolled by beautiful little lakes, a charming old downtown, and some great neighborhoods. Every person we saw waved to us. Many had welcome signs on their lawns, or in the windows of their businesses. As we turned off of Main St. volunteers handed us small bags of snack mix, and as we rolled into the high school we were handed a small cup of cold Gatorade. At every turn volunteers in yellow vests were there to direct us, and stop traffic for us!
They had food vendors set up at the school. Benches made from 2 x 12s and straw bales were in place for us to sit and eat and visit with the locals who came to welcome us and see what 800 people riding across KS look like. The dogs look different in Herington, but like I told the school superintendent who was present to help riders get on the shuttle downtown, answer questions, etc. " I live in Olathe, but Herrington is my new favroite town in Kansas".

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