Ty's Ride for the Cure

Los Angeles-Boston





Day 24-McPherson, KS-Abilene, KS

61.6 miles official miles

3:50 bike time

climbing statistic irrelevant

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Abilene, oh Abilene, prettiest town I’ve ever seen.  These words must have written by Stevie Wonder or at least some thirsty cowpoke in 1880.  Abilene had a population of about 3,507 in 1900 and 6,543 in 2000, which is staggering growth by any measure.  I can’t figure out why we picked Abilene to stay for a rest day.  Yesterday, we were in McPherson with a population of over 25,000. We had a nice hotel with a beautiful outdoor pool, were next to Montana Mike’s where we had dinner and brews and were also located next to a WalMart.  One of the guys got his hair cut at WalMart.  Did you know that you could do that?  If you are laughing at this, I was not meaning to be funny.  When you are biking, you don’t really care if you go to WalMart to get your hair cut.  

Anyway, after a tough day in the saddle for me (more on that later) we arrive in Abilene, a town full of history.  This includes the hotel we are staying in (Best Western President’s Inn) while in Abilene.  Supposedly Eisenhower stayed here when he was President, hence the name.  No kidding.  That gives you an idea of the age and quality of the property.  I was expecting to see Norman Bates at the front desk when we checked in and was not disappointed.  I also saw Mrs. Bates.  And yes, the cockroaches were most displeased that I had disturbed their afternoon nap.  Well needless to say I checked out along with Gil H and we checked into the Holiday Inn Express across the street.  They were kind enough to pick us up and take us back to the Holiday Inn.  I am paying $40 extra per night (most of us are) on this trip so that I have my own room.  I Googled up (don’t you just love Google?) the hotel and their average rate for a stay is $38.  Yes $38.  With inflation, not even Motel 6 is $38 anymore.  Let me do the math.  I’m paying $40 extra per night so that I can stay by myself in a $38 hotel.  There should be a shell game out front of the hotel or three card monty.  So here I am at the Holiday with whirlpool, sauna, pool, laundry, breakfast and carpet you can walk on without having shoes on. 

OK, now for the history.  Abilene was the northern terminus for the Chisolm Trail.  The Chisolm trail was created to capitalize on one of the first great arbitrage opportunities in the West.  Cattle brought $4 a head (that’s cowboy talk for one animal) in Texas where the trail started and $40 per head (note the hotel price) back East.  So Mr. Chisolm drove his cattle up to Abilene where he could put them on a train and ship them back East.  At this time there were no railheads in Texas.  This system lasted for about 20 years and made Abilene one of the biggest cow-towns in the country.

Wild Bill Hickok became marshal of Abilene for a short time in April of 1871. His time as marshal was short lived when, in a shoot-out with Phil Coe, he accidentally shot his friend and deputy, Mike Williams by mistake. He lost his job two months later in December.  Today he would be suspended with full pay while on leave of absence with an investigation that would last a year, only to find that the union contract forbid him from being fired.   If you like history you will like reading about Wild Bill.  He was the first dime novel hero and was truly fearless with a gun.  That’s why he died at the ripe old age of 39.  That’s about all there is to Abilene.

You might have noticed my caustic sense of humor today.  Yesterday was just a tough all round day.  I had a lot of lower back pain and the wind was blowing at 15-20 mph, mostly a headwind/crosswind for the first 20 miles.  Fortunately my teammates dragged me in and I made the ride, although I didn’t pull at the front at all.  It is hard to bike this far without experiencing some physical ailments and I am thankful to them.  I am going to get a massage, sauna, whirlpool and heating pad treatments today.  Just when my bum heals up, then my back starts giving me pain.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Hopefully, I’ll be ready to ride tomorrow as we have a 105 mile day to Topeka, Kansas and will have reached the halfway point.  Mental attitude and tenacity will be the key for the next two weeks.  So any words of encouragement are greatly appreciated.  Thanks for all the support.

The countryside changed to more rolling hills and more open grassland with an occasional wheat field instead of all farmland.  It was actually quite beautiful.  Also, yesterday we stopped at a very famous coffee shop for the SAG stop. It was in the middle of the country.  We had a cinnamon roll and a soda for $1.50.  And they posed for pictures and said howdy and thank you.  It was very enjoyable and the folks were very nice people.  I posted a couple of pictures from the stop.  Take that Starbucks. 

And one final note. I love the people that we meet along the way. Yesterday at the hotel two very nice ladies were counting wheat heads. It is part of a random sample and allows the government to estimate the wheat harvest (remember trading places with Eddie Murphy). They were so nice and related how they collect the samples and what a good versus bad harvest was. Biking across America, I really get to see America. And I've added two more viewers to

Signing off…….. 


Bill trying to figure out where the stores are on 6th Avenue.

I love these old barns. This was a gorgeous day.
Holy cow! We are in Tampa already.
Make no mistake. Jim on the left can give Kobayashi a run for his money. (Kobayashi is the hot dog eating champion)
This was a great place to stop. These are the places you see that people in cars and the interstate don't see.
I loved this sign. It's been here for a while.
My elevator theory holds up.
Kirby House, an old mansion where we stopped for lunch.
Biking can be tiresome. Gil resting.