We're currently in Newton, KS staying at our third WarmShowers host. We had been hearing about the Newton bike shop hostel since day 10, but when I called today to reserve two cots, I was greeted by a voicemail saying that the bike shop and hostel would be closed until the 11th. That's ok- we are lucky to be staying with a wonderful family that took us (and two other bikers) in. The best part about the new arrangement is that the fellow bikers are going west! We have finally met people that are going in the same direction as us. This is the first time all trip that we've been able to talk to people on the trail and reference towns and talk about parts of the riding that we've all experienced in the same direction. The bikers are a married couple en route to Seattle, where they are moving to. They're riding on a tandem, which I can't get past. I love my girlfriend very much, but I couldn't imagine us riding a tandem bike across a park, let alone the country. I know she'll agree with me when she reads this, so I'm not afraid to admit that.
While sitting at the dinner table, I began looking around at the art work on the walls. The primary artists were the children of the family. There was a post-it on a pillar that caught my eye; it was a simple handwritten message that read, "Life doesn't get easier. You get better." I stared at it while passing the spaghetti because I was struck by the simplicity and truth. Today, we had our longest mileage of the trip (76 miles). We both agreed that it was one of our easier days, though. We have been tested many times on the road. We've been frustrated, overheated, tired, and sore, but we've continued on. We've grown and gotten stronger with each mile. I think that we will be showing up in Colorado better than when we left Virginia.