So, let’s talk about that road to Marysville. Very hilly. More than very hilly. It’s the sort of hilly where it feels like it’s almost all hills. The crest of one reveals a downhill, but also the next hill you’ll have to climb.
I heard that people were counting them, and I’ve heard numbers between 40 and 62 being kicked around. The hills, however, are tolerable on their own. But when the heat picks up and the wind kicks up and blows from the side or in your face, those hills seem a lot more daunting.
Nevertheless, it was a fantastic day with many surprises that the wind and hills couldn’t blemish. They might have left many of us tired, but that’s no big thing.
OK. So where to begin. And I don’t have much time tonight because tomorrow is “Century” day and we need to leave very early to try and beat the heat – which I think is going to reach the high 90s. That will make riding 100 miles more of a challenge.
There was so much to love on this route. There was the small town of Agenda – and the hidden garden behind the Cedar Porch store. Owner Glenda Trecek explained that she bought the first building after it caught fire, and then worked to get the rest of the buildings on this small downtown. Then she set to work rehabbing the buildings that now house Cedar Porch, Hope Floats, Chantily Lace and Clover House.
“There wasn’t any place in the area for a woman to shop,” Trecek said. “People probably thought I was going to close in a year, but I’m too bullheaded to close.”
Behind the stores is a fountain and garden area that is beautiful – and totally worth the small ride out of the way.
Then there was this lemonade stand a ways outside of Agenda. I don’t need to say much about it, except show these pictures. The kids were adorable, the kittens were adorable and for a bonus there was a dog that everyone took time to pet. It was really neat to see kids out selling lemonade to everyone on BAK. I’m a sucker for it – we had stopped not long before, so I didn’t really need any lemonade. But I can’t resist kids selling lemonade. I’ll stop every time, and it seems I’m not alone.
And then there’s Barnes, Kansas. This town was shockingly fun and interesting. It has 159 people in it – 159 people! You know what else it has? Two restaurants, a bunch of antique stores other places I didn’t get to visit. In Marysville, people said the town will close of the street and basically rent out the whole town for a wedding.
This town also had a girl named Natalie, who sat at the corner to route us into the downtown.
“Come on downtown,” she boomed with an enthusiastic and cheerful voice. “We have nice cold water and Gatorade and chicken wraps and the restaurant has chicken.”
As soon as we saw and heard her, we were excited to be in Barnes. After Natalie’s shift ended, I spotted a young boy meeting riders at the same corner to escort them into town.
Then there’s Marysville. This town, like all the towns before, have really gone out of their way to make us feel welcome. The flags were up on the bridge as we entered town, and as we entered downtown someone routed us the right way to our sleeping quarters.
The downtown area had a lot to offer. A band, food, a beer garden. Everything! It really was a great experience. Bellville the night before had done very much the same – and pulled it off expertly. These towns are filled with so much pride and dedication, it’s really remarkable to think of all the trouble so many people go through to make our experience fun and memorable.
Though today’s ride was tough, it was rewarding and filled with a number of great experiences. There was no shortage of great photo opportunities and great views of this state. There was also no shortage of laughter.
Tomorrow won’t be strictly business, but it will be more businesslike than usual. My group wants to beat the heat and knock out this 100 miles before it gets to brutal.