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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

June 8, 2007      Miles 64      Total miles 2364      Ended at: Great Bend, Kansas


As I was leaving Ness City, there was a John Deere dealership on the outskirts of town. They had several of these huge tractors in front of the dealership. I went in to ask how much one of these tractors costs and the salesman said they can run up to $300,000.

Now if you think that tractor is big ... check out this HUGE stack which is going to a refinery in Montana. The driver of the truck told me it is 120' long and weighs 200,000 pounds. He told me he has transported pieces that are 200' long. It takes a crew of people to work with him as he drives the truck. The platforms the piece is on have rotating tables so he can turn corners with ease.

Marritt was coming towards me at a very fast pace. It was a day when she had a slight tailwind. I saw her coming and was wondering why she was pedaling so hard. She is riding from Boston, Massachusetts to California and has been on the road since May 13. She is an assistant volleyball coach at Tufts University and is also working on her masters degree. She is 23 years old and is the only woman I have come across riding solo across the country. Her riding style is very aggressive and she has put in many 100+ mile days. I would guess she is riding solo because no one could keep up with her. Go Marritt!! Her dad is thinking about joining her and riding part of the way with her.

In this area wheat is a huge crop. I had always heard you could chew wheat seed and it will get to be like gum. I decided to rob a couple of heads of wheat and sure enough when you chew it, it will turn to a gum like consistency. It doesn't really have much flavor but it is different.

I talked to a wheat farmer today and they are having a pretty good crop this year. He said harvesters will be coming through here in about three weeks. A lot of the combining is contracted out but a lot of farmers have their own combines. He told me last year was hard on the farmers because in March they had a hard freeze which damaged their crops heavily. He also told me the farmer does not set his price when going to the market. The buyers tell the farmer what they will give ... take it or leave it.

Eric Smid is from Holland and is cycling from east to west. He said it was hard for him to find the time to do this. He changed jobs a couple of months ago and works for the National Bank of The Netherlands. When he changed jobs he told them he would go to work for them under one condition and that was if he could take three months off to ride his bicycle across America. They agreed.

I have a lot of pictures of cows. I noticed back in Oregon, when I would pass a bunch of cows, they would always look at me. I thought it was strange but I guess they are curious animals because they will stop their eating to see what is going on. I always tell them to quit eating all that food. I'm thinking about becoming a cow whisperer.

I am getting into an area where I am seeing more and more small cattle productions. Along with that comes the feeding end of the business and there are a lot of fields with the huge round bales and huge square bales of hay.

Cathy is mending her fences and also putting in a strand of electric fence wire. I think she told me she has 120 cows and 100 calves this year.

The biker on the right is Michael Ross from Corvallis, Oregon. He is a senior student at the University of Oregon studying art. The rider on the left is Breck Berk, 22, also a senior student and is studying international business and Chinese. He teaches Michael some Chinese as well. There is another friend with them but he was lagging behind and I never got his photo.

Towards the end of the day I saw these two guys setting up their tents. They are English and the one on the left is 32 year old Stuart Hamilton who is a librarian by trade and a walker by hobby. His friend is Dave Toolin and they are walking across America from Delaware to California. They walked half way across the country last year and stopped during the winter months and resumed their walk this year.