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After yesterday’s ordeal I was feeling more than a little apprehensive about what lay ahead today, as I am sure several other riders were. In the event we were worrying about nothing. A shorter route, sunny and warm but not overly hot air and, joy of joys, virtually no wind. And what wind there was was blowing from behind. We had even been given a start time half-an-hour later than usual – 8:00am which meant that I could complete my pre-ride routine at a much more leisurely pace. Within a few minutes of leaving, our group which today included the Fabs (with Greg) as well as Bruce, Kathy, Mike and Robin, closely shadowed by Dana, was spinning along effortlessly at around 20 mph. The change in our attitudes was palpable. Instead of yesterday’s grimaces and white knuckles there were lots of happy, smiling faces and even a fair bit of happy chatter and laughter. What a difference a day makes. Bliss!
The second half of the day’s ride was pretty much like the first. Fast and relaxed. So fast that we arrived in McPherson around noon with time on our hands. As this was a Sunday most places in the older part of the town were closed. During a very brief sortie around the town I was amazed to discover that at one time it boasted an Opera House. The preserved building now operates as film theatre and venue for hire.
“I will record the death of my classmate and boyhood friend, General James B. McPherson, the announcement of which caused me sincere sorrow. Since we had graduated in 1853, and had each been ordered off on duty in different directions, it has not been our fortune to meet. Neither the years nor the difference of sentiment that had led us to range ourselves on opposite sides in the war had lessened my friendship; indeed the attachment formed in early youth was strengthened by my admiration and gratitude for his conduct toward our people in the vicinity of Vicksburg. His considerate and kind treatment of them stood in bright contrast to the course pursued by many Federal officers.”
With most places closed and an early arrival at our hotel we adjourned to Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, a regional fast food outlet, to kill time. The place was absolutely heaving with, judging by their dress, families who had spent the morning at one of the many churches in town. The appearance of four sweaty, lycra-clad cyclists momentarily silenced the place and we were very definitely the centre of attention. With considerable aplomb we marched to the counter, placed our orders and claimed our seats acting throughout as if this was entirely normal behaviour, which it is – for us! Gradually the assembled throng resumed its conversations though we continued to receive receive sideways glances from the patrons throughout our visit. Once we had feasted we returned to the hotel, checked in, showered, changed into our ‘street clothes’ and went in search of a bar to guzzle some pre-dinner beer.
Chatting to Pete over a glass or three I happened to mention the challenge of finding enough sockets to plug my assorted inventory of electrical apparatus in to recharge. This includes the Garmin, two bike lights, a digital camera, iPhone and iPad, electric toothbrush and Shimanono Di2 gears on the bike. If I plug everything in at once, the lights in the room dim noticeably, such is the demand for electricity. A favourite place to find sockets is in the base of the lamp that sits on the nightstand. The problem I often encounter is that I connect up via a US/UK adaptor through a UK plug and a charger which means that depending on the location of the sockets on the lamp there is often not sufficient room to squeeze it in. “Don’t you use the bible?” was Pete’s response. “Use the bible?” said I. “Yes” said Pete, “I extract the bible from the nightstand and shove it under the lamp to raise it up high enough. I’ve even made a little game of it, trying to guess which drawer the bible will be in when I first come into my room.” So dear readers, I end today’s lesson by directing you to Genesis 1:3.