BAK 2009:  A 550+Mile Journey

From the Point of an 11 Year Old

By Courtney Johnson



Thursday, June 4

        The start our journey took off pretty well, and even Cutter, our dog was happy.  Natalie, my sister, and I played in the back seat of the old blue van for about 2 hours (Now that's an amazement!).  Then, we decided to snooze until we got to the motel somewhere in the middle of Kansas. I was just about to fall asleep after 30 minutes of just laying there when Mom told us to sit up.  What do you know?  It was a fat cop pulling us over for a dead bulb on the license plate light.  Now let me remind you that this cop was just like Santa Claus that was bald (with out the beard) and was nowhere near as jolly.  The poor cop must not have had any doughnuts after eating all of them and just got bored.  What a shame right?  NOT!!!  So after that ordeal, we stayed up the last twenty minutes to the motel and when we got there I took Cutter out for a walk while Mom signed us in.  We got in the motel and ate some snacks before going to bed.  


Friday, June 5

        Today we drove the rest of the way to the town we start.  We decided to go to the border today instead of tomorrow at the start of the ride.  While everyone got ready, I walked Cutter around the van for a little while.  It was a nice warm up for tomorrow at an easy 17 miles.  Dad and Julie signed in later at the high school and it just so happened that a guy that was working gave us 2 free water bottles and 2 free flashlights and we gave him a free bike pin.  We ate at KC's Restaurant and they ran out of the BBQ chicken that I wanted.  So, Julie and I came up with an explanation for this.  The really dark red chickens are the spicy ones, the red ones are BBQ, the white ones are white meat, and the black ones are dark meat.  See what I mean?  So someone could order fried chicken and still get it but I couldn't get BBQ chicken.  After eating we went back to the motel to get some shut-eye.


Saturday, June 6: On to Garden City!

        A record for BAK!  We actually had TAILWINDS!!!  We were flying by people left and right having a great time.  Then, they had us run through town to get lunch and it was so early on that we didn't want to stop so, we got back on the highway to go to a quickie shop get a package of M&M's and something to drink.  Little did we know that the other bikers were steered out of town onto an old scenic highway.  We decided to stop on account of we didn't see any riders and check the map.  Sure enough we found out that they had taken a different way to Garden City than we did.  So we backtracked into a horrible headwind and again stopped to look at the map when 2 guys said they thought that the road to the left was the correct way, but again we saw no riders.  So we went back to the highway to ride into Holcomb and get on the right path.  When we reached Garden City, we got our luggage and headed to our motel.  When we got there we were informed that the motel pool had not been set up yet but we could go across the highway to the Comfort Inn to go swimming.  When we were headed to dinner Dad put his ball cap on backwards so the wind wouldn't knock it off his head.  We just so happened to be close to a liquor store when a 50-mile wind hit us full blast.  Dad's ball cap was knocked off and I had to chase it about a block and into someone's yard to retrieve it.  We stopped at the liquor store to seek shelter (how convenient?) from the storm.  After it quieted down we went back to the motel to put the beer my dad bought in the refrigerator and set out again, only to have to turn around because it started to rain again.  We took the busier road and skirted around it to dinner.  After dinner we went to the school to sell some bike pins but most people were in a meeting.  After that we went back to the motel to try to go to sleep.  What a great day!


Sunday, June 7: Heading over to Jetmore

        We got off to a late start this morning and ate at IHOP.  When we walked in the flag at a motel across the street said the wind was favorable for us, but while we were inside the wind switched on us proving that it would be a long day.  And so it was as we were heading out of town.  Natalie and I were not wearing windbreakers and it seemed like an eternity until the next SAG.  After staying there for a few minutes, we hit the road again and Natalie did have a jacket on then but not me. (I thought I would be okay)  At the lunch stop I got PB&J, because they didn't have any ham and cheese left, (bummer!) and some cookies.  When we got into town, we got our stuff and headed over to the motel to shower and then go get dinner.  For dinner we ate at some restaurant and they said they didn't have any pizzas so we could only get pasta and sandwiches.  After we ordered our server came back and said they didn't have any garlic bread.  For an hour we sat there wondering where our food was.  Finally Dad went up to the counter to ask where our food was and they said that they had to go get more food to make it.  So we waited another 15 minutes while other people's food was getting to them over us.  Finally after that we left to go and sell some bike pins.  I checked the folder for any mail and my friend Libby had sent something.


Monday, June 8: Going to St. John

        Today the forecast said that it was to be mostly sunny.  Yeah, right!  It seemed okay this morning before we headed over to the high school.  As we were leaving, we saw a meat wagon (a.k.a ambulance) go by.  Turned out to be nothing much, in fact I have no idea what happened.  When we stopped at a SAG, Nat and I put the whole 9 yards on; wind breakers, arm warmers, leg warmers, I think you get the idea.  We stopped at Fort Larned, the sun came out and it cleared up by a lot.  We ate at subway for lunch and after that every thing went good.  We tried to sell some pins but didn't sell many.


Tuesday, June 9: Heading to Halstead

        We had headwinds and crosswinds.  Lunch was in Abbyville and we skipped it because it looked like rain and there was an hour-long line.  We'd never get to eat!!  So we bought some Gatorades and filled our bottles.  After standing there for 15 minutes we were on the road again.  It was long time until we found the next SAG.  We were buzzard food until we started to draft off of a tandem and some singles.  We skipped a turn somewhere in town and took the highway instead.  While on the highway a news dude was filming us but we never saw it on TV.  We didn't sell any bike pins tonight.


Wednesday, June 10: On to Eureka

        Today when we left there was a mist in the air.  On down the road we saw a car sticking out of a house (Don't worry, it was suppose to be there).  In El Dorado we ate lunch at Subway (AGAIN!!!).  After riding up and down hills, we had a HUGE down hill.  We hit that hill at 35mph!  After checking in at the motel, we showered and started to wash clothes when someone rudely put their clothes on Julie's clothesline.  In search of some food we ate at a Mexican restaurant.  After eating we went to the school to sell some pins.  Finally we got back to get some beauty rest.


Thursday, June 11: Going to Humboldt   CAMPING!!!!

        Today we had only 73 miles to go (pay back tomorrow!).  We actually had monster down hills!  But before all that, I saw a shop called Courtney's Places.  Now that was AWESOME!!!  We had some really steep hills after that and a super fast down hill.  We ate at the lunch stop, and they had biff, biff, or biff (beef [coronary heart disease special]).  So we ate chips, bread, and beans (look out!).  When we got to Humboldt, we went to the pool and I tried to teach Nat how to dive.  Before dinner we stopped at the tent to drop off our stuff and what do you know?  People had their bike up next to ours and they set up camp next to us (there was plenty of space at the school).  We went to go get dinner at a Mexican restaurant, but (get this) they hardly had any Mexican food.† It was steak, steak, steak, and more steak.† Now I know that sounds good to many of you right now, but let me remind you, I hate beef.† It took over an hour to get food and people who were there after us got their food first.† When we got back to our tent, we brushed our teeth and got ready for bed.† When we were in our sleeping bags, some dude started talking on his cell phone, right next to our tent, for 30 minutes.† Then when he hung up, someone started blowing up an air mattress, and then we heard it hit the ground.† Next (are we ever going to get to sleep tonight?!) a car alarm went off and finally a dog started barking.† Time to try to get some sleep.


Friday, June 12: Pedaling to Paola

††††††††† Today it was PAY BACK!!!† 85 miles to Paola.† A little too long if you ask me.† It was long and hot and we got ice cream after getting out luggage.† We went swimming at the motelís pool for over an hour.† We went to get lunch at a Mexican restaurant, hoping it would be only a few blocks away.† We walked about 3 blocks when we asked a lady where it was.† She told us it was on the other end of town and said she would drive us over there.† The food was tasty but by the time we went outside, we were wondering how to get back to the school with out walking.† Luckily we were able to get a ride in a 15 passenger van (the people were on the ride).† We sold a few more bike pins, but not many.


Saturday, June 13: Finishing at Louisburg

††††††††† Today was not easy, though it was only a 25-mile day.† The hills were torture!† Long and endless hills, it seemed like forever until the top of every one.† We stopped at a gas station really close to the school, the end, but we still had a ways to go.† At the gas station, Natalie and I got a Sprite and a candy bar.† After getting some sugar, we continued on to the border.† After seeing a huge down hill, we knew we were coming back up it.† On the way back up it wasn't nearly as bad as the hills we had climbed before.† When we got back we had spaghetti for lunch and soon we were on our way back home.

Yet another BAK is completed.† Out of all of them, this has been one of the ones I will remember forever.


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