The Wonderful Hospitality continues and we make it to Kansas City for Menno Con 15! 

We made it to KC! We are so glad to finally be here. Sorry about the longevity between posts, we have been really busy. And when we  are exhausted at the end of our days in Kansas, sleeping became a larger priority than posting a blog write up. Anyways we we so happy to pull up infront of the Westin we are staying in here in KC and after a week of short nights and sleep deprivation, the last few nights of soft mattresses were great. Throughout Kansas we had been getting up at 4 and trying to hit the road as soon as we could to try to beat the 95 degree heat that arrived midday.  

We are carrying a large map that we mark our route everyday. I’ll attach a picture and those of you who have been tracking us from home can compare on your own maps! Last week we made some huge headway covering 700 miles in 8 days and it’s literally a straight line east when we look at the map across Kansas. It was kind of nice to get up and say “well, this road east all day”. Navigation made easy. 

We did deviate south a bit to visit our sister school, Hesston college in Hesston,KS. We were also able to ride through other Mennonite meccas including Moundridge and Goessel. We arrived at Hesston college around midday and were able to get a tour from Bethany Miller who works in admissions there. I was extremely impressed with the campus and it was fun to be there. I have heard so much about the school from my friends who went there, it was nice to see where their stories took place. 

We stayed with our friends (and newly weds) Kaedi and Jesse Baer in Hesston! We had a wonderful lunch together at a Mexican restaurant el Cerrito, I believe it was called. In the evening I borrowed jesse’s car and drove to Jake smuckers house in Goessel. Jake and I were paired up as roommates during our first year at Goshen and lived with each other for the last four years. Jake wasn’t home but I had dinner with Dan (brother and junior at Goshen college) and parents Barb and Joe. 

  
Jackson met up with his friend Wesley who lives in Hesston and they worked at camp friedenswald together a couple summers ago. 

We also felt that we should look a bit more presentable for when we showed up in KC, so we all got haircuts. 

  
Our three days to KC were awesome. We had fairly easy mileage and the last day we had a strong tailwind which blew us right into the city! 

We knew the cities we wanted to get to, so we had a destination but we didn’t know where we were going to stay. 

Oh and I should say that our day to Emporia, KS we had our first major bike issue. Jackson’s rear dérailleur cable snapped. We tried to pull it tight and just tie it in place to the front tube. This basically allowed Jackson to have two gears to work with. Unfortunately we were in eastern Kansas and beginning to go through a lot of rolling hills. So that led to a tougher day, and Seth and Jackson switched bikes for a while to give Jackson a bit of a break. So after getting that fixed in the bike shop in Emporia, we were sitting outside the bike shop figuring out whether there was camping in town and where we could eat. We started talking with a guy who was coming into the bike shop and he invited us to stay at his place. 

We went to eat at a BBQ joint called Bobby D’s in emporia and we had been waiting to sit when Seth looks across the restaurant and sees our friend Tammy who we saw a week and half earlier up at Rmmc. She is a pastor in Newton KS, and just happened to be passing through emporia on her way home from a conference in KC. It was a very fun coincidence to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar setting. When we went to pay for our meal our waiter told us our bill had been taken care of. I wonder who it was! 😉

  
(Thanks for dinner Tammy!)

Cliff Allen, an avid cyclist and well known in the community let us stay in an apartment above his garage. The generosity we received from Cliff was amazing. We threw our bikes on the rack of his car and he drove us to his place. 

  
(Loading bikes onto Cliffs jeep.)

When we got there, his son, Luke who’s 26, had a bunch of friends over and Cliff introduced us along the lines of “found these bikers on side of the road” and no one seemed surprised at all and just welcomed us right into hanging out, like we had been friends for a long time. Cliff woke up and made us breakfast which was really nice, and then while we were packing up our things upstairs he was in the garage rewrapping jacksons handlebars and added another layer of his own. Now Jackson is rocking some bright blue handlebars. Plus, he set all our bikes up on his stand and cleaned all of our chains! Wow. 

 
(Thanks for the great night Cliff! Left to right: Caleb, Cliff, Seth, Jackson)

On our way to Ottowa, our next stop, we rode past a Lemonade stand in a small town of Williamsburg and got some refreshing cold lemonade and Popsicles. We like supporting young entrepreneurs! The parents of the kids, Justin and Regina, running the stand were really interested in our trip and asked if we needed a place to stay in Ottowa. They quick called their friends and found us a place to stay for the night! We had a great time with Erin and Eric Zuelke and it was fun to also see Regina and Justin again later that evening because they had already been planning to grill some burgers with Erin and Eric. It was fun to make the connection that Eric actually graduated from Hesston College in 2007 in bible and religion and knew all about the Menno ways. 

Big thank yous to our hosts this past week including Kaedi and Jesse Baer, Cliff Allen and family and Erin and Eric as well as Justin and Regina Evans!

We are living it up here in KC! Helping out with the Goshen college booth and seeing so many fiends and our families is so wonderful! We hope to advocate for our beloved school and join in on the recruitment process! 

This also means rest and relaxation for us off the bike. Actually Eastern Mennonite booth had a couple stationary bikes Set up in a race situation. So we were thinking of putting on our cycling gear and going over to break some records! 

Peace and blessings! 

-Caleb 

 

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