Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dust in the Wind

Dear Kansas,

Though I have never, until yesterday, set foot within your boundaries, I have admired you from afar. Specifically, I like the way you sit regally in the center of our nation, never calling undue attention to yourself. You are the keystone to the central plains, and the crucial bridge between the epic mountains of Colorado and the calm, Midwestern states that I love: Missouri, Illinois, Indiana. You fill our bellies with your wheat, your corn, your beef. Though many deride you as a "fly-over" state, I have been quick to defend you and your importance to our great nation. I've rooted for your teams, and never once did I deride Bill Self for leaving my beloved Illini to coach the Jayhawks. In short, Kansas, I have been one of your biggest supporters.

So I have a question for you: Why are you being such a dick to me?

I so looked forward to biking through your majestic land. But really--30 mile-per-hour crosswinds and headwinds? Instead of enjoying your tailwinds pushing me gently through your plains, I've been fighting to stay upright.

And was it my imagination, or did you blow just a bit harder when cars would come roaring up behind me?

I'm willing to let the tailwinds slide, but do you have to work against me? How about a little still weather?

There were moments in today's ride when you called off the wind, but then when I would shift into a higher gear, you would kick it up again.

You're making it very hard not to take this personally.

I mean, was it really necessary to blow harder as I got closer to my destination for tonight, Dodge City? And what was with that dust storm you sent my way with only five miles to go?

I'm not even going to discuss the heat.

Look, Kansas, I'm planning to be here for the next four or five days, and I know that you hold all the cards. But what say you cut me a little slack and ease up a might?

In return, I'll tell all my biking friends that you're great fun to tour through--superior tailwinds, etc., etc. Then, you can stick it to them.

What say you?


Special announcement:
Congratulations to Jenny Fererro of Carlsbad, California, for coming up with the correct answer to our "travel trivia" question. Jenny, you should be receiving your prizes in four to six weeks.


  1. Oh yeah! My mouth is already watering for that Clif bar! ;) But seriously, my competitive nature is crazy with joy that I won...waiting anxiously for you'd next contest! -Jenny

  2. English professor: please note that the glaring typo in my previous post is the fault of my iPhone. -Jenny

  3. Dearest Rocco,
    You misunderstand me. The crosswinds, the burning heat, please do not see these as acts of aggression or hostility. I--the state of Kansas--have been following your journey since you left California. I've read your "blog" and delighted in your wanderings as you practically loitered in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Yet, when you arrive here, in me, the state you profess to love so much, you seem determined to whip past through me like a East Coast liberal on a jet plane to San Francisco.

    "Oooooh, Kansas is flat. I'll make great time," you thought.

    I'm sure after the rough beauty of Utah and Colorado, I must seem like a push over. I'm just a plain state, after all. Well, let me tell you something, Mister California, my state motto says it all: Ad Astra Per Aspera, to the Stars with Difficulty. It is not hostility but love that makes me want to slow your progress, to lengthen your stay, and through this difficulty, to make you a better person, to help you evolve (although not in a Darwinistic sense, this being me/Kansas and all).

    Plus, we don't go for tail winds around here. We find them...morally suspect.


    P.S. Carry on, my wayward son.

  4. "The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes." Kind of hard to blame poor Kansas given the mystery of it all! Looking forward to seeing you in about 2 weeks Rocco, keep on fighting the wind dude!

  5. Okay-todays post (as turned into a PG rating) made me drag out the Kansas Album (I think I was in 7th grade when I got it).....unfortunately, albums don't come out too often anymore. I might forget about mowing the yard and just hang out and let the kids pick out albums and listen to them! Go Rocco!

  6. From one cyclist to another..."Fuckin' Kansas" might not want to say it out loud until the state line is firmly behind you.

  7. Bicycle Proverbs
    Beware of the semi truck.(I used to ride from Arcata to College of the Redwoods. Although nothing in length compared to your noble journey, I will never forget those damn truckers. They scared the @#$% out of me on many occasions.)

    Anything shouted from a passing car will sound like "Blargh blah blaaaaargh" and is best not given too much thought.

    From Squid Joe, the man from nantucket