Thursday, November 10, 2011

My day off

November 9,  Frederick OK, Rode 87 miles
  Met with Cordel Fire Chief and Witchata (sp?) County Emergency Manager Max Booth.  Also dropped off monitors at Rocky fire department through contact at the senior citizens center.
  Barry Diffendaffer (sp?) stopped on the highway to talk to me.  He's a local farmer about my age (61) who also bikes a lot.   I asked him what the round rolls of hay were and he said just another way to bail it.  For most of my life I've seen those round rolls of hay and never asked anyone what they were.
   Wind was at my back all day so I cruised most of the day at 20+ mph.  "Only" peddeled for 5 hours and 54 minutes.  Average speed for the day was 15mph.   It was a bit of a thrill cruising at 20mph.  If I peddled hard I could get my speed up to 25mph on the flat.    I pushed it all day long because it was fun and I wanted to break my old record whatever that was.  In the end I realized that I can get a lot more miles with a lot less effort just by riding fifty or 60 miles a day.   I lectured myself that riding into the wind should be just as much fun as riding with it if I have the right attitude.  Frankly I can see that riding with the wind all the time could get really old as it's hard to keep up with the peddles and it makes me want to ride even faster and peddle harder.
   I stopped at the County Health Dept. on my way into Frederick to see if they were interested in the rad monitors.  No.  I asked the receptionist if there were any "economical" motels in town?  She said, "I think they are both economical."  So I stopped at the first which is the Scottish Inn.
  The geography and scenery changed a lot today.  It's looking more like the southwest.  While I probably should not compare, the route that I have taken to cross the country has been much nicer than the one I took 44 years ago.  I have avoided riding across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa both because of the weather but also they are so flat with the same endless sort of scenery.  Not that I don't like cornfields but I've both biked them and I've seen them from train and bus at least 30 times (bike once).  I hope I've not spoken to soon but I've biked across New Mexico and Arizona before (43 and 42 years ago)  so I know what's ahead.  Also, three years ago I visted about 130 fire departments in AZ by car which required about 6,000 miles of driving throughout the state.  I've been to all the smaller cities and towns in AZ with the exception of Beaver Dam.  I look forward to revisiting those that I pass by again.

November 10, Still in Fredrick as it is my "day off."
  I never have said how much my bike weighs, or my pack weighs or I weigh.  My bike was so heavy that I did not want to know how much it was.  The same for my pack and me.    I know after the first four days of riding I lightend my pack by about 30 lbs.  I was carrying an incredible amount of junk.  I think I've lost about 15 pounds of body weight so me and the bike together are about 45 pounds lighter than when we started.  If I stay on the road I'll probably lose another ten pounds.   I look better and my back doesn't hurt any more when I get up in the morning.  Also my knees have stopped bothering me.  Before the trip I figured my kness likely would not hold out if the rest of me did.
   So I got a haircut today in Frederick and I went to visit the fire department.   I ended up spending three and a half hours at the fire department and was invited to eat lunch with some of the crew.  When I showed Chief Newman the training cards and rad monitors he asked me to show him how some old Civil Defense meters he had worked.  He and his crew there really liked the new SIRAD technology and the simplicity of it.  But all agreed in the end that the information in the 60-Second Nuclear Detonation training cards had more life-saving value than "techonology."   So much of the technology, radios, electronic meters, etc. that is out there is either too expensive to maintain, sitting on shelves, or nobody knows how to use it that it is functionally useless.
   I showed Chief Newman how to make a radioactive sample with a paper towel and vacuum cleaner.  That was a big hit with him and the crew.  They all realized that if the air they were breathing was that radioactive then we've been lied to that it is so dangerous.   The EPA and related agencies have use our fear to create nice jobs for themselves etc.
   Chief Newman was so interested in radiation monitoring that I got out the Kearny Fallout Meter and showed him how it worked and gave him the instructions for making one himself.  He says he plans to order the postage stamp-size monitors for the whole county as well as make some Kearny Fallout Meters or get scouts to make them.
  So when I got my haircut the lady cutting my hair who is 82 told me that her grandson-inlaw is the fire chief in Mantaou which I passed but did not stop at.   So I gave her a monitor/training card pack to give to him.  She wanted a monitor for herself and her husband who was the former fire chief but still works for the town.
   While Frederick looks about as rural as you can get it is ringed about by abandoned nuclear missile silos visible from the road and as close as two miles away.  It is also about 18 miles from the nearest military base.   It is also well-know that a lot of radioactive material is transported on local roads.  So interest in radiation is very high here and I've been made very welcome in town for as short of visit as I've made. 
   My ride is also serving as a new sort of credential as firefighters and police officers are impressed with my "feat."   I am too.  It's hard to belive I've ridden this far and I'm surprised that I even want to keep ridding.
   One of the firefighters who is 28 but in line to be chief someday, was explaining to me how he thought there were "two America's."   He said the people who live in Oklahoma City have no idea of rural OK life.   I might add to that that congress is not only out of touch with rural America they are disconnected from it.  It's amazing that the government pays millions of people for not working when there is so much work that needs doing all throughout America.
  I'm 15 miles from Texas and hope to stay in Crowell TX tomorrow night. 

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