Archive for December, 2008

Biking Wind River

December 15, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

Most every bike rider who goes cross-country starts in the west and rides east. I started in Florida, headed northwest to Seattle. When I got to Wind River, Wyoming, I understood! That west wind howled in my ears like a freight train. I put plugs in my ears in a futile attempt to muffle the sound. For days I pedaled into that wind, bent so low over the handlebars that they touched my chest. Pumping as hard as I could, I could manage barely six miles an hour. How the pioneers in wagons maintained their sanity I do not know. Back home now, my mind measures any wind against what it knows is blowing yet in that far place. By comparison, they’re a breeze.

Below are a few paragraphs from my book about my ride through Wind River.

It is 2:15 and 60 miles to Dubois. I soon understand why the mountain range off to my left all the way to Dubois–the one for which the reservation is named–is called Wind River. For the next four hours I pedal upstream into that fast flowing river. By 6:30, I have gone 30 miles: 30 more to go. No way!

At Crowheart, a lone service station I finally come across, I ask if I can sleep on their floor. He says they don’t have a place. He suggests Red Rock, 14 miles up the road. I don’t see how I can possibly make it. I’m so tired I can hardly think. But I thank him and leave.

Back on the bike, I come about two miles later to what must be a mirage. Off to the right about 50 yards from the road is a compound composed of a church, a school and a house, all enclosed by a chain link fence. The gate is open and I enter. Parking my bike in front of the house, I step up on the porch and knock. No answer. At the church and the school? Nobody. I’ll wait. I’m out of the wind. And the last thing I want right now is to get back on that bicycle.

Nightfall comes late as I sit on the porch and wait for someone to come home. In the distance off to my left at about 11 o’clock I see lights come on and I can make out the sound of music carried on the still night air. The only other sound is of rushing water that I decide comes from a creek, though where it is from where I am I haven’t a clue.

The house faces east as best I can figure. I reach that conclusion because as I sit here I look back along the road I arrived here on and because that west wind whistles around the sides of the house. The two-foot wall that encloses the porch affords some protection against the chill that invades this place as the last rays of the sun are swallowed by darkness.

My teeth begin to chatter. I rummage through my panniers to find my insulated long-Johns, my stocking cap, my flannel shirt, and my wind breaker. Before putting on my gloves, I wolf down several peanut butter sandwiches, an orange, apple, some nuts and raisins. Then on with the gloves, I stretch out on the hard wooden floor of the porch, expecting any minute to see headlights swing into the gate and to have someone open the door behind me and welcome me inside.

No one comes. Wearing practically everything I have and using my helmet for a pillow. I sleep. I wake up often. And mash the button on my Timex that lights the read-out. Teeth chattering, muscles twitching, I change positions; sit up, lie down, stretch out, roll over on the other hip when pressure gets too great. One good thing about the cold: I can almost forget how hard the wooden floor is.

When I wake up at 4:15, I feel like a tin man who hasn’t been oiled, but I make spastic attempts at exercise to get warm. I repack my bike, stuffing things into whichever pannier will hold it, giving no thought to the filing system I’ve carefully devised so I’ll know just where everthing is. I hit the road at 5:15, wearing thermal underwear, blue jeans, flannel shirt and rain suit, complete with hood. And I’m still cold as I re-enter that infernal wind I thought had abated. I didn’t hear it much last night, but it’s back this morning. No, it’s not back. It was here last night, howling down this highway. My being out of it didn’t diminish it, only my awareness of it. The wind will still be here when I am home writing this book.

The wind is still trying to push me backward like it did yesterday. The only difference in the wind this morning is that it’s colder. Hunkering down on the bike as low as I can, leaning forward until my chin rests on the handlebars, pumping as hard as cold legs and tight muscles allow, I inch forward into the wind on a dark, deserted road.

After a few miles, the pavement ends; gravel of every conceivable size replaces it, and for the next seven miles I fight those rocks to keep from being up-ended or ruining a tire. And when an infrequent car passes in either direction, I’m engulfed by dust and flying pebbles.

Big Earth moving machines wander back and forth across this boulder strewn trail that passes itself off as U.S. Highway 26. My speed drops to an average of six miles an hour; it’s 9:30 by the time I get to Dubois, 24 miles from my front porch bed.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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A Message at Christmas Time 2008

December 15, 2008

From Ed Chasteen

To All People of Good Will at the Christmas Season,

Andy Pratt, vice president for religious activities at William Jewell College, and I are planning a special Human Family Reunion for next May 1st and 2nd. We are inviting all students who were HateBusters while on campus and all those who attended Human Family Reunions. We are contacting them by email, asking them to come and/or submit email accounts to me of their time as student HateBusters and attendees at the Human Family Reunion and what consequences for their later lives ensued. I will pull all of their accounts into a book and make it available on line and at our Reunion.

HateBusters was called upon in September this year to respond to a hate crime in Missouri City, just 10 miles from campus. We went to the aid of Tom and Sylvia McFall and their family. We organized a Love Letter campaign (go to http://www.hatebusters.com to see and hear a TV newscast) that brought hundreds of letters from all across the country and a couple of other countries. We got a lawyer to handle their case pro bono. Their case is pending in the courts. We continue to monitor and assist.

I got an email this week from a woman in Kansas City who said her daughter was the victim of a hate crime. HateBusters is assisting with the 25th annual Liberty Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration to be held in January at Jewell. For three Sundays in January, HateBusters will conduct a World Class Person Program for the membership of First Presbyterian Church in Parkville, our goal being to help them go anyplace at anytime and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe.

During 2009 I will be visiting more of the 105 county seat towns in Greater Liberty as The Pedalin’ Prof from William Jewell College. Lesig Essig, owner of six local McDonald’s has contacted McDonald’s in these towns to enlist their support. I will offer to speak in their high schools about becoming World Class Persons.

Bless you!! Thank you for doing all you can where you are to make your little piece of God’s good earth a place where you can go at anytime to anyplace and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe.

Your Friend,

Ed Chasteen,

HateBusters Founder and President

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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Go the Distance

December 15, 2008

By Ed Chasteen

Ten thousand miles every year on my bicycle! That’s my goal. Only once, five years ago, have I actually made it. I most always make a D or better; often a C; sometimes a B; now and then an A-. Then in 2003, an A++. I hit 10,000 that year just after Christmas, then rode a few miles more.

Better than 20 years now I’ve been going this distance. No other medicine to keep my MS at bay do I take. I’ve convinced myself that every day I ride is another day I don’t visit a doctor. The endorphins that come with biking jolt my reluctant body to life as no other prescription ever has or can.

Long retired, I ride to live and live to ride. No vacations! My bike goes with me everywhere. Neither heat nor cold keep me off my bike. Only ice! In every season of the year, I ride. Every day of the week. During the work-week, alone. But Saturday! Ah, Saturday! Then the Greater Liberty riders join me. Two or three to 30 or 40, depending on the weather. And off we ride to a town some 15 to 25 miles away for breakfast.

Psyching myself up when the wind is howling or the mercury plummeting, takes all the mental energy I can muster on weekdays when I ride alone. Sometimes I lose the fight with myself and crawl aboard the stationary bike in my spare bedroom that goes nowhere and leaves me feeling only slightly less defeated than not riding at all.

But no matter the season or the weather, Saturday’s dawn draws me as a magnet to the place where by email the hundreds of us Greater Liberty Riders have been told to meet to begin our ride. Today on this mid-December morn, Rodger and I have come an hour early. He could begin with everybody else, keep up with them, and arrive with them for breakfast. But I can’t. So I arrive in time for breakfast, I’ve taken to starting early. Rodger comes to keep me company.

The mild temperature is offset this morning by winds gusting to 40 miles per hour. Off we go. Three miles we’ve ridden, just to the intersection of Ruth Ewing Road and 291 Highway, when Steve drives up in his car. “I thought I’d catch you at the bike shop before you started. I can’t believe you’re riding in this wind,” he says. “Park your car and come with us,” I say. “I need to go back to the shop and wait to see if other crazy people come,” he says.

Rodger and I leave 291 to descend a fast and meandering ribbon of road into Missouri City. The dogs come out to protect their turf but show no zeal for their mission. We’re soon past The Smallest AAA School in Missouri and back to 291. Soon we spot a biker far behind and coming fast. Lyle catches us. He and Rodger ride on ahead. Two others appear in my rearview mirror. Steve and Rick speak as they pass me. Rodger is waiting where Z leaves 291 for the mile into Orrick and breakfast at Fubbler’s. We arrive together.

Heather is waiting. I called yesterday to say that a dozen of us were riding to breakfast. “The wind got seven,” I tell her. Our table for 12 has been set. We don’t have to ask for more water. We have learned the character of all the places we ride to on Saturdays. Each is distinct from the other. Rather than compare them, we relish their differences that occasion stories among us. When chains and franchises monopolize the land, these little outposts of comfort food differ enough to amuse and enthuse us and keep us coming back year after year.

HateBusters
Box 442
Liberty, MO 64069
Phone: 816-803-8371
e-mail: hatebuster@aol.com

No Boundaries On Our Soul!

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