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Day 32 – A farmers life for me

(50 miles)

With a shorter day’s riding ahead we had a sleep-in until 6am (oh yes), got ready and said our good-byes to Becky. She’s just started a cyclists guest book so we were the first to write in it. Would love to come back in a few years and see how many others have passed through and spent time with Becky and her hectic house of kids!

The wind was still blowing strong from the south-west so although we didn’t have far to go, it was hard work and soon got very hot too. Its about 38 deg C during the day here.

We were also held up a bit after being forced to ride over some newly laid tarmac that still hadn’t fully dried. It took me a good 15 minutes sat under a tree to scrape most of the tar and stones and other junk off my tires. Man, that stuff is as sticky as…wet tar! Our tires still aren’t perfect now – bit annoying when you really want as smooth a ride as possible and a clean tire that will behave as expected. But at least it gives the bike that added Rugged-World-Traveller look…

When I told you to 'stick to the main road'...

Today we headed to friend’s farm. When I say ‘friend’s farm’ I actually mean a farm belonging to the brother and sister-in-law of a guy who’s family my family knew about 25 years ago when we lived in Indonesia. Still, we were welcomed like old friends!

Ethan and Denise Busenitz have six boys (a farmers dream!), three of whom still live at home with one in a mobile home ‘next door’ with his wife and kids and another a few miles up the road. Their sixth son is working in Wyoming. Let me tell you, this is a proper Kansas farm! They grow lots of wheat as well as corn, soy bean and other crops. And they have about 1500 head of cattle (and 15 hens).

Ethan sports a huge handlebar moustache above his massive grin and looks tough as nails. Denise seems to breeze through the typical ‘housewife’ tasks in no time with super-human speed and energy (and feeding seven hungry men/boys every day is no mean feat!) and has still found time to home-school all six kids when they were growing up as well as becoming the farm’s computer-whizz/tech-support. She’s also really into scrapbooking, which despite her best efforts at explaining, I still don’t really ‘get’. “Its a girl-thing” she tell me!

Four of their sons currently work on the farm too. They all have their own areas of interest and aspirations about what they ultimately want to do, but its cool to see a real family farm where father and son(s) work so well as a team.

In the evening, after dinner (home-made blueberry pie and ice-cream – I may never leave), we went for a ride in the family’s two Ford Model-As. They regularly ride them locally and they run pretty well, up to 40-45 miles an hour. We visited Denise’s parents who are the most sprightly pair of ‘old folk’ I’ve ever met – I think they’ll live to 110!

The 1931 Model-A with Matt in the mother-in-law seat.

Riding in the 'A'

Jessie (son #3) at the wheel

Denise's parents - full of energy and tease each other like they're still at the teen-romance stage of their relationship. Brilliant!

<irony>Da boyz</irony>

Tomorrow we’re staying here to make the most of this opportunity and experience a bit more of farm-life. I can’t tell you how much of an awkward city-slicker I feel, sat next to one of the boys on the tractor, not knowing anything about what’s going on, what I should be doing/not doing, what they’re talking about, trying not to get in the way too much but taking photos of everything etc. There’s just no point in trying to play it cool!

All the boys play instruments. Here are a few of them, some of them home-made!

Mmmmm...

8 Responses to “Day 32 – A farmers life for me”

  1. Nate Morrison says:

    Isn’t riding in a car cheating? Have you run into any tornadoes?

  2. What a beautiful view of the country. And a really cool farm family.
    I’m Patrick’s friends mom, and I’m following you along your way.
    Terrific blog.

  3. Neil Sneade says:

    I was right with my last comment: you *have* gone to stay in Smallville! Sounds great though and the As are superb.

  4. Phil Crowhurst says:

    Great blogs dude. Providing excellent reading whilst avoiding doing work. As requested, check out the link:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/jul/27/top-10-comedy-podcasts

  5. Rodney says:

    No photos of the handlebar moustache? *sigh*

  6. Bhav Virdee says:

    38 deg C is indeed very hot… Keep on rolling… :-)

  7. Mark W says:

    The farm looked cracking mate, hope you enjoyed your rest day! Can you update us on your stats – miles completed, ave speed etc!

  8. alex says:

    looking for road music…..amanda palmer covers radiohead classics on a ukulele….recommended for melancholy long roads!

    http://music.amandapalmer.net/album/amanda-palmer-performs-the-popular-hits-of-radiohead-on-her-magical-ukulele

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