joshua klevorn

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show me the mo'

after a fantastic night and morning in Chanute, we headed into the rising sun once more, our panniers as light as our hearts as we rolled out of the city limits.

throughout most of the morning, we started to hear the cries of Canadian Geese "v"ing their way south for the winter. as we were also heading into some strong southern winds, mark, mathias and I found ourselves in similar formation on several of the legs of our ride today.

one of the most rewarding aspects of touring via bicycle is crossing paths with fellow tourers. in a world of fast cars, smart phones, headphones and the like, our commutes both long & short are becoming more and more isolated. not so in the biking world. we met a chap (Michael) from Germany today, who'd ridden 2000 miles from NYC and was on his way west to LA. it's always a pleasure to swap stories and info on the roads ahead, nearby bike shops, good spots to stay, etc. what's more, I find it amazing how connected you can become after as little as five minutes in conversation with someone you've never see before - and likely will never run into again.

our last city before the Missouri border was Pittsburgh, which, if I had gone to high school in Kansas, would most certainly have wanted to attend one of the ones in that town. their school mascots? the Gorillas and the Purple Dragons.

not more than a few miles down 126, we passed the fifth "welcome to" sign of our trip. and just like that, Kansas is in the rearview mirror. show me Missouri!

until next time,
may God hold you in the hollow of His hand

fields of faith

so far, Missouri has looked quite a lot like our home back in northern michigan. homesteads. farmlands. and hills. lots of hills.

the change in terrain naturally brought a change in our riding pace. today marked the beginning of what will likely last through the Ozarks and the Smokies - 80 to 90 mile days, with more time in the mornings and evenings at each town we stay in.

this evening we stopped in Marshfield, MO, and were privileged to be able to skype with our church back at home. Dorothy Prins and the K-4th graders at Walloon Lake Community Church are one of the many groups that have lifted mark and myself up in prayer during our time on the road.

thanks to some wifi at McDonalds, we were able to see all those bright & shining faces of the wednesday evening class for a brief time and answer a few questions the kids had about the trip.

thanks to our stop in McDonalds, we were directed to Fields of Faith by a few people that overheard our Skype conversation, and correctly assumed we were believers who might be interested in a gathering of several churches at Marshfield's football stadium for a tailgate and time of worship that evening. (which had started just as we finished up our Skype with the kids back at Walloon).

and so, thanks to Missouri's terrain, we found ourselves arriving early enough to participate in a town's incredible gathering of believers. Fields of Faith is put on by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes across the country each year as a way to bring the youth from local churches of varying denominations together. nothing beats good food & fellowship on a cool fall night under the lights of a football field.

once more, we found ourselves blessed to be serving a God who provides and goes before us on this journey. today He proved to us yet again how perfect His will and His timing is for each of our lives - no matter where we are, He's watching over us and has plans to prospers us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.

until next time,
may the road rise up to meet you

touring 101: the wave

alright future tourers, listen up! one of the critical aspects to cross-continental riding is "the wave". motorcycles, truckers, RVs, minivans - each has it's own unique greeting that must be strictly abided by to ensure a safe & enjoyable ride for all parties involved.

the "biker" (applies to all motorcycles, crotchrockets, cruisers, etc.) - swing you left hand out almost to form a peace sign (but not all the way), making sure not to raise it above your handle bar. keep it low and keep it cool.

the "camper" (RVs, 5th wheels, camper trailers, etc.) - a coy wave of the hand coupled with a condescending smile, knowing you are way more environmentally friendly in your own exploration of the Great Outdoors than those gas-guzzling, smoke-spewing contraptions they've dragged across the country.

the "commuter" (sedans, minivans, single drivers, etc.) - extended wave well after the driver passes you, with as friendly a smile as you can muster. you're biking across the country and they are dragging themselves to another 9 to 5 job. which one of you needs more cheer in their life at that point?

the "cyclist" (this should be obvious) - wave. pull over to their side of the road. chat for 5-10min. exchange names & upcoming road conditions. (optional) handshake and/or hug it out.

the "porchsitter / yard worker" (again, the audience here should be obvious) - your most parade-like wave and smile, maybe even a "hi" or "howdy" or mornin'!" .... this is one of the few times your interaction with someone on the road lasts longer than a passing split-second. why not go all out with a hearty greeting?

the "truck driver" (semis, work trucks, etc.) - this is a trickier one, and depends on a few conditions. with a tailwind: use the same "almost peace sign" but raise your left arm high for maximum visibility. with a headwind: either a quick "howdy partner" nod (but do not touch your bill of your helmet in salute as well, that simply looks foolish. you are not a cowboy, no matter what you think) or a quick flick of the hand that must occur before the truck passes you. both hands on the bars, my fellow tourers, whenever a large vehicle blows by you in headwinds, as their draft can easily knock you and your 90lbs. of bike/panniers right off the road.

the "wait to pass" (cars coming from behind and waiting til traffic is clear the opposite way) - extend the wave til after the car has passed, and if you can swing it, a loud "thanks!" never goes amiss.

there you have it! you're one step closer to becoming a seasoned roadster who knows their way 'round any turn of the trip.

and for those of you keeping track back at home, we're in Summersville for the night, staying in "the square" which we're thinking is just a fancy new name for the town's city park. but when it's right next door to a restaurant that's playing game 5 of the tigers vs. athletics, I'm fine with it being called whatever they want to call it. go tigers!

until next time,
may the wind be always at your back

the Ozarks

straight into the Ozarks we charged! up and over the hills, each one easier than the last. believe it or not, It took until mid-missouri to think "maybe it has got easier to cycle since we started".... more likely, though, it was simply God giving an extra boost of energy for the day.

most noticeably, the air has become much more humid & muggy the further east we ride. with trees and rivers in plenty, there's moisture all around, and we no longer have the luxury of a clothesline at night (whereas out west we could soak out clothes in the shower before dinner, line them out, and pack them away dry as could be before we even went to bed). henceforth, I shall likely revert to my original method of drying clothes - ortliebs.

you gotta believe me when I say they are the gold standard in panniers. 100% waterproof not only means your stuff stays dry through rains, snows and fording rivers, but also throughout the day as soggy shirts, socks & shorts are strapped to the outside of each bag. even if we're chugging along at only 10-12mph, seven hours in the sun with a little wind works wonders. it's a man-powered dryer that has come in very handy during the trip.

will be staying in our first state park in a long time tonight. I could try and describe the joy we felt at finding out they had hot showers, but alas, no words could convey such emotions.

until next time,
may the rains fall softly on your fields