Thursday, September 13, 2012

on the road to ...

... Sedalia and the Escapees RV rally starting the 15th. For us however, "on the road" can mean a multitude of things. For now it means just that a couple of days here, a day there, and perhaps a couple days that leads to a couple of weeks in other places - our typical mode of travel.

We stayed in Big Cedar a couple of weeks and enjoyed exploring SE Oklahoma and SW Arkansas. Oh what a beautiful area of fields, valleys, mountains and above all, green. I do get so tired of the browns and beiges of the drought and SW summer normal colors.

I am now back in saddle of my bicycle, extending my riding more each time I hop on. It is a hard slog after being off for so long and getting so out of shape with having a car and driving everywhere. While in Peace Corps I walked and road public transportation (which means walking even more). I did ride in Panama but it was only to go into town, a ride of no more than 3 miles when I did it. As I often had to carry things, my bike was out of the question. But now I am back into it ... oh my aching legs, shoulders, arms, wrists, and butt.
We also got the tandem up and running - that is another story. It felt so good to get back on that one. Once on it I quickly recalled one of the downfalls of riding the "Rear Admiral" position, NO cooling draft comes my way until Danny gets down onto his aero bars.

Thanks to a friend on one of the quilting blogs that I belong to, and the fact that we are going to be in Missouri, Danny and I have decided to initiate ourselves back into touring on the tandem. We are going to ride the Katy Trail after we attend the rally and classes. We still have planning to do and make a decision on the week that we will do it in, but hey, the main decision to do it has been made. We are hoping to post as we ride by using the MiFi but as we will be camping some days, that might not happen.

On to Tulsa where we visited Alf, Stacey and the Boys. All are doing well and enjoying life. The drive up from Big Cedar, although only 200 miles give or take, was breathtaking. i think that I could actually live here if we could find something on a lake. The green and trees are my undoing along with the mountains. Oh they aren't at all like the Rockies or the Alps or the Andes, but still they are as beautiful as any of them. Of course having the ticks is a big worry and the mosquitoes do drive me batty when I am out, but other than that, it is great. While in Tulsa we managed to visit a wonderful bike shop where I replace my disintegrating helmet and gloves. So now I am in top form, safety-wise. 

Our next leg took us into the far SE corner of Missouri where we stopped at the George Washington Carver National Monument: Another stamp for my book. Here we learned so much more than the "discoverer of almost 300 uses for the peanut". He was a scientist, educator, humanitarian, and above all he had a deep sense of purpose that his Creator led him by. He only patented three discoveries of which one was for pigments that are now found in the basic Crayola as he didn't want his discoveries to be "held by a minority" but available to those on the lowest part of humanity. His Agricultural Pamphlets were translated into many languages and became the Bible of Ag in many developing Third World companies, used by many NGO's. A truly humble, gentle man, but a man with a stubborn streak that led him to great things. He was born a slave, managed to educate himself when it was denied to him, and spent man years teaching at Booker T. Washington's Tuskagee Institute in Alabama as head of the Ag department. He was also a renown painter having earned Honorable Mention at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair.
 As a sickly young boy he spent many hours becoming one with nature and nurturing his love for botany, a love that would guide him for the rest of his life.
There are many sayings posted around the world regarding education that are his quotes - we saw them in Nepal in the schools, in Panama, and in Colombia, to name just a few. 

A truly great man ...

Feeling humbled and thoughtful, we continued on to Fort Scott, KS.