The constant thunder and lightning woke us up often throughout the night, but the 6am alarm kept us awake. There was a brief pause from the rain when we woke up, so we rushed to get out and get a few miles in before the storm continued. After a quick breakfast, we were ready to head out. Chris asked if I was "ready to bite the bullet?" As he asked that, a loud crack of thunder roared above us. We began cycling just before a comical amount of rain began to dump out onto us. It was like a scene out of an overly dramatic movie; if you were watching this from your home, you'd have groaned aloud because you thought the film crew went overboard on the rain as it was hardly a believable amount. We were trying to go on, but the wind began to push us across the road, so we pulled into the parking lot of an abandoned RV business and hid out under the awning. We had to wait almost 2 hours before we were able to go back out. So much for the early start.
After the storm for the first 15 miles, we had a dry remainder of the trip. We stopped in the town of Toronto so that Chris could mail some things home. While in the post office, he met an older woman that said she often hosted cyclists on the trail. When meeting hosts, you'll usually hear about people that you haven't met, but you feel like you have. There are many cyclist journals in restaurants, hostels, and general stores along the trail, so you often see the same names pop up. Some people will just sign their name, others will leave an inspirational comment, and a few people will draw sketches. The woman began talking about a group of 4 guys from Florida that stayed with her at the beginning of July. She said several times how much testosterone was bouncing off the walls when she had them over. Chris thought that these guys fit the description of a group that we see a lot in the journals called "the poo tang clan." They always leave wacky cartoons and mysterious sketches that have intrigued us. He was a bit embarrassed to ask, but he was pretty confident that it was them. I walked into the post office at this point and was able to see the excited smile come across her face as she said, "Yes! They were the poo tang clan!" I'll never forget the image of an older woman explaining how the guys came up with their group name. It apparently came from a combination of a lot of bowel movements and drinking a lot of tang. She also mentioned that they traveled with a French horn and other musical instruments. I have no idea who these guys are, but I wish we would have crossed paths with them.
Tomorrow, we will be biking 76 miles to Newton, Kansas and will be 10 days away from finishing our last biking day on this trip. Realizing that gave me a mixed reaction of excitement and anxiety. I am excited to see what my next step will be, but I'm anxious that I don't know where to begin. I always say that the uncertainty is part of the fun. I stand by that, but I do still like to have an idea about what my future holds. At this point, all I know is that we will be arriving in Pueblo, Colorado 8/16 and I will be flying a few days later to Houston, Texas for a trip with my girlfriend. I'll be back in NYC by 8/24 and have no idea what will be happening after that. I guess we will have to wait and see. Whatever I end up doing, I'm not going to settle for anything.