Saturday, July 2, 2016

Katy Trail Part 2 "recalculating"

A very wise Assistant Principal I had the privilege of working for had a plaque in her office that said "life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain". That was today. Quite literally.
Last night I checked the weather to see what the low was going to be and I learned that 1-2 inches of rain was expected today. And thunderstorms. Well, my plan to ride another section of the Katy Trail wasn't going to work.
Not only that but I had a reservation at the KOA in Salina, KS, which was only about 300 miles away. I couldn't cancel my reservation without paying anyway because it was under 24 hours before my arrival. If I hadn't made the reservation I would have just added more miles to my day and gotten to Colorado earlier. So, what to do in Kansas?
Thanks to the trains, which were better than random Walmart noises, but still came through a few times overnight, and the time change, I was awake for good by 4:30. So, might as well seize the day! It started getting light by 5:30 and the radar looked good that I might be able to get in a quick section before the heavy rain came.
I was out the door before 6 and heading down the trail. I'm glad I'd parked right next to it! It was a nice morning. Cool and cloudy and breezy! I decided I'd ride 5 miles and turn around. This part of the trail was all farm land! Wide open with little tree shelter. I'm glad I didn't ride it yesterday when the sun was blazing! It was nice with the clouds. But I was considering that thunderstorm prediction. It would not be a good place in a storm. In fact the cornfields and wide open space and riding a bike had me singing the Wizard of Oz music! It had started to sprinkle a bit when my Map My Ride app announced that I'd ridden 5 miles so I was ok turning around realizing that I'd pushed the window of good biking weather as far as I could. By the time I got back to the van it was a steady rain. I ducked in and showered and finished getting ready to leave. By the time I pulled out it was pouring! Good timing!
The 100 miles across Missouri were not fun. It was raining buckets the whole time. I could hardly see. I'm glad I wasn't trying to ride my bike, but driving wasn't fun either. I knew I'd eventually drive out of the rain and sure enough just past Kansas City the rain let up and the clouds lifted. It was still cloudy, but much better driving weather.
I've decided I like Kansas! It's not flat like everyone thinks. It's rolling with farms and trees! It's much more scenic than Illinois of Missouri!
I was stil left with the problem of finding something to do for a few hours, though. I'd discovered that Dwight D. Eisenhower was raised in Abilene and his boyhood home and Presidential Library were both there. I didn't know a lot about Eisenhower and I'd never been to a presidential library, so why not?
I pulled in behind an Allegro Bus RV with Virginia plates! I walked past it and saw that they had a sticker from Reines RV in Manassas! Small world!
I went into the information building and got there just in time for the next showing of the movie! The movie was a great introduction to Eisenhower! He was a cool guy and I think we should re-elect him! He did so much, but what I liked best was that he did it quietly and used respect, kindness and peace to achieve greatness! That's what we need more of!
After the movie I bought my tickets for the boyhood home tour, the museum and the library. I quickly went through the museum, it was a lot to read and take in and mostly about Eisenhower's military success. Also, I only had about 20 minutes until my tour of Eisenhowers boyhood home.
When I got to the house, I was the only one for the tour! Just as we were getting started another lady came up, and the tour guide let her join. At one point I mentioned that I'm a teacher in VA. The other lady says "we are from VA and our daughter is a teacher." Yep. She was one of the owners of the Allegro Bus! We got to chatting, almost upstaged the tour guide, who I don't think was happy that we were making friends. After the tour she told me that her daughter used to teach at Sleepy Hollow ES in Fairfax! I know people who might know her! They live in Mineral now, but they regularly come to Northern Virginia to see the kids and grandkids. She even gave me a tip on a great seafood place in Gainesville!
After we parted ways I went to check out the Presidential Library. I was expecting rooms full of books. Not the case. There was a conference/press conference looking room and some exhibits about women in the war. No books. I wanted to know what Eisenhower was reading, or see books that supported things he believed in. Oh well.
I'd made all the stops here so it was time to move on. Next stop was across the street, The Greyhound Hall of Fame. All about Greyhound Racing. And they had 2 retired Greyhounds that greeted you at the door and you could pet them! Gary & Ginger were both glad to see me come in and covered me with kisses and sniffs and let me scratch their ears! Best museum ever.
Greyhound racing is also a subject I know little about. I watched part of the movie - the lady ended it before it was over, I think she forgot I was watching it - and checked out the exhibits. I gather Greyhound Racing is like Mushing - the dogs love it and the humans make sure that it doesn't hurt them. Only thing is the gambling and the need to win. I know the Iditarod is all about winning, but you see how winning starts with loving dogs. With the greyhound racing it seemed more like it was about money first and dogs second. I could be wrong, I only spent about 30 minutes thinking about this!
By now it was after 2 and I decided to head to Salina. I'd found a potential bike path and there was a Braum's Ice Cream. Braum's is an Oklahoma chain that I frequented when I lived there and it was a treat to get some here. I ended up driving around Salina a bit more than I'd planned, but I found a nice park, with access to the Salina Trails System. There's a main rec trail that runs on top of the Salina levee. It's nice, but it's not completed so there are only short sections. And, it would be really hot if the sun was out! I found a route that would allow me to ride just a few miles to the Braum's, get ice cream, and ride back! The whole ride was under 5 miles, but it was nice to check out part of Salina and get a little more biking in. And of course riding on top of the levee made me sing "American Pie." And now you are too. You're welcome.
It was getting close to 4 and I decided it was time to get to the campground so I could dump, get water, fill up my propane - that was reading empty, and get settled. By the time my chores were done the sun had come out and the wind had kicked up! It was very pleasant outside so I enjoyed reading my book over dinner and I even pulled out my chair!
I saw on the weather forecast that storms were predicted! There are huge storms to the west and it's very dark and breezy here, it's nice outside, but it seems like it's going to storm big any second. Just as long as we don't get any tornadoes! Still singing the Wizard of Oz music...
The next morning...the storms did arrive just as it was getting dark. It was really nice! It rained hard and there was some thunder and lightening, but it wasn't bad! It was bad south of I70 and to the west - there were tornado warnings, but in Salina it was a nice storm! The timing was just perfect to send the folks launching fireworks inside too!

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