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France to Kansas: Another Digression

Posted by on Aug 2, 06:32 AM
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Bonjour! Bonjour! Coming at you (not) live from a brasserie in the town of Bédoin in southern France. It’s noisy and full of stinky cyclists (I think the stinkiest here are the British, but perhaps the Germans. I really can’t be sure because it’s drafty in here and the body odor wafts through the air like so many brown phantoms. I might be the most pungent, actually.) in jerseys here and there are about 10 large televisions showing today’s stage of Le Tour. Bédoin is the town at the portal of the climb up Mont Ventoux which will be featured in the race tomorrow and is also the penultimate stage of the three week suffer-fest ending in Paris the following day. Expect more on this fiasco when the blog has caught up to this chronological point.

Now, back to Kansas.

Pool jumpRandall and I finally arrived at our place of repose in St Mary’s at the comfortable home of the some old friends from Seattle, the Trask family. Jasmine and David’s two toddlers kept us always entertained and Jasmine always very busy! In spite of being tied up with the kids Cannonballshe managed to keep our stomachs well satisfied. The Trasks also made use of their connections to gain us some much appreciated publicity for the fundraiser. Much of our time was also spent with some new friends, the Zapps, who also bestowed sumptuous hospitality upon us. After cooling off in the pool on these hot and sultry afternoons we often Joseffstayed for large suppers of delicious home made pizza or barbecued chicken. One day I was even given the opportunity to practice my art on two of the young Zapp boys, who (I prefer to believe) liked their fresh haircuts. Mrs. Zapp owns and runs the health food store in Haircuttingtown from which we stocked up with carbs and homeopathic remidies for the coming miles.

Our fundraising was very successful at the parish picnic following the large procession through town. I believe that our total was in the range of $1300 for the Joseph Traskweekend. Thank yous to all who helped and all who made donations. One young boy ran around the whole field soliciting donations from people after we coaxed him to it. We need to bring a couple of orphan children back from India for this job!

TrasksThe next order of business was to pack our trailers and bikes into the back of a pickup truck borrowed from the town doctor and drive five or six hundred miles north to Winona, Minnesota. I was driving when we missed the turn onto I90 and ended up in St. Paul, about 100 miles Grassout of the way! Oh well. A nice man named Francis was kind enough to share his hotel room with us for a couple of nights during the ordinations. My old friend, Patrick McBride was ordained a priest along with a few of his classmates in a very long and lovely ceremony. It was a pleasant weekend of highly humid weather on the Mississippi River. We Ordination processioncamped an extra day to avoid riding in the rain and I caught my first virus of the trip. Needless to say, the next couple of days of pedaling on the way to Madison were tediously dealt with in the Andrew, priest and monk100-degree heat wave. On our way we stayed with a very pleasant family whose name escapes me at the moment. Both of us wanted to stay up high in the backyard tree house for the novelty. So, Randall set up his tent up there and I decided to sleep under the stars. ReflectionBig mistake. After at least one hour and ten dowses of bug repellent to the arms and face I decided to scrap the idea when the spiders would not desist from nesting in my beard and the tiny nats in my hair and nostrils. Defeated, I retreated into the house and slept in the living room.

Gotham CityOn the way to Madison I knew it would be necessary not to ride in the midday heat, already dissipated by the mild sickness. So, I set up camp on a picnic table under cover and slept until 6pm. Still with 50 miles to go I arrived well after Randall at 11 o’clock PM. In the darkness I Wisconsin sunsetcould see and edge between the lane and the shoulder and when I tried to move left my tire did not mount the edge and I went down in front of a car, who was alert enough to go around my collapsed person and vehicle. Road rash and a sprained wrist were the only side-Capital Buildingeffects of the tumble. Fran and family in Madison kept us around for an extra night so Randall and I took the tour of Madison the next day. Every week they have a night of live classical music at the capital building and it draws the crowds. That night our hosts stuffed us with fresh strawberries and ice cream, a welcome conclusion to a hot day of running around town.

I will tack another small update to the end of this thin slice of story: My laptop power cable was stolen, along with my mobile phone and some other small electronics in the town of Bédoin while I was on the mountain. So I have another excuse for not updating the blog in a timely manner. That will be remedied soon. Randall’s screen is now fixed and we have left Paris in our wake as we spin into the rich beauty of Normandy and then the UK. Expect regular postings very soon – really!


  1. Just to let you two know that friends are still following your every move and praying for your safety and comfort, always. Thanks for the blogs. Always looking forward to the next adventure.

    — LEROY · Aug 10, 12:07 PM · #

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