Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kansas. Part 1 to emporia

Part 1 of the Kansas trip. 

The last Thursday of May, The Mike and I started off for Kansas for his Dirty Kanza bike race.  (200 miles of "gravel" in the Flint Hills of Kansas (flint =what arrowheads were made from). A few years ago he told me to 'go do something else' on race day, so he wouldn't be tempted to bail on the ride at the various points where spectators can see the racers.  In the past I've partaken in the Hospital Hill Run, but this year the two races weren't on the same weekend and I searched a few pages and found Rural Route 13.1 on the Running in the USA site. He had a race to do and I had a race to do! YEAH!  

Our first stop was the cap city of our state, getting something at a bike shop and then heading over to Jason's Deli for lunch.  They have gluten free bread upon which to make sandwiches. Of course, the sandwiches have so much filling, it's just much easier to eat it with a fork and knife :-)  
Our next road side stop was just inside Missouri at the fabulous rest stop with a nice walking path and cutouts of bison and a lone Native American on horseback.  
We got to Emporia and checked into the dorm rooms.  Dorm rooms? Really? It turns out, once the local hotels are booked full, the local University rents out dorm rooms. Funny, we met in college, but neither of us were living in the dorms at the time!  The University is a short jaunt to the main street where the race starts/stops and where shopping and restaurants are located.  Perfect location.  We had a breakfast card, which also let us into the bldg, and our roomkeys on a chain. Made us feel like latch key kids. About 200 other folks were in the dorms as well.   
Our room was a basic dorm, but location, location, location, is the key!  
Beautiful town architecture. 
Around Campus
Thursday night we had a date at Radius Brewing Company with a fellow racer The Mike had met on the Tour Divide last year.  They were staying with a local resident and his wife, who came along as well. I'm not sure who ended up making this place the dinner location, but it's a reminder to not judge a book by its cover.  We've dined at microbreweries before and have had excellent luck being able to choose a gluten free item. [ Last year it was in a small town in Montana where I had the meat and cheese appetizer "tray" which was a very large cutting board with enough meats, cheese, and dried fruit, that we had some leftover for breakfast!] This establishment's menu had several options that would be gluten free and others that could have easily been made gluten free (burger without the bun).  I actually had a conference call to be a part of for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, so I missed out on a bit of the pre-dinner atmosphere.  Mike ordered a beautiful cobb salad for me with blue cheese crumbles and grilled chicken. He had an artisan pizza and it looked fabulous (he said it was too).  As we were with company, I didn't get any photos of the food ---I do have some control!

Friday morning we had our first experience with the dining hall. I had communicated with the director before the weekend and she knew someone would be coming in with food restrictions.  Kimberly was greeting all diners and she got me in contact with the head chef who prepared scrambled eggs for me 'in back'.  A group of racers saw that my food was being done in back and looked questioningly at me. I just said, "food allergies" and one was very interested, as he said he needed his stuff prepped specially as well. ---It never hurts to ask!

The Mike and I went out to walk around campus (it's not very large, reminded me of the private college campus I attended for a couple of years before a transfer), and then explored the main street shopping area. All the shops fully embraced the tourist dollars--I mean racers--- who came to their fine town.
Friday Mike checked into the race:
Check in at the Granada Theater.

The first year Mike did this race, there was a viewing of The Goonies on the big screen in the middle of the afternoon!  
Of the 1800 riders, The Mike was chosen to be on one of 30 trading cards. A big honor indeed.   
One of the 'windows' inside the Granada. 
The Granada
Fabulous sign at Jimmy Johns. 
Friday we ate at Jimmy Johns for lunch.  I forgot to ask for no mayo and they put a LOT of it on.  I wonder if that did me in on Saturday morning, since I have to avoid soy as well. Hmm...

I went out on Friday afternoon for my short run to stretch the legs.  As I came up through a campus road, there were inspirational signs already chalked on the pavement for racers. .  .

. . . It was very nice to see this just on a 30 minute run. I can only imagine what it was like for the cyclists who finished before dark.  
my favorite
This is a one room school house moved to the edge of Emporia University.  Beautifully set against the gorgeous sky.  The stone posts are prairie fence posts, which I had need of to ask two men working as I didn't know what they were.  
Those two guys then said that this area on the west side of the school is to become the national monument for fallen teachers, such as those at Sandy Hook.

From the Emporia Gazette's facebook page:  Emporia Gazette There are 112 educators that have died in US schools. This is the national memorial to those fallen educators. The memorial has been funded through donations and was spearheaded by the National Teachers Hall of Fame also located in Emporia. The memorial will be dedicated on Thursday. Many family members of those listed on the memorial will be at the ceremony as well as several dignitaries. The public is encouraged to attend. 
I've been to this town four times now and never knew this until this trip!
All up and down the main business street there are various pianos painted and left for people to play. They all seem to be tuned well ---at least the ones of which I tickled the ivory.

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