In this post I finally make it to Joplin, MO, home of my dear friends, Adam and Natalie. There, we experience some of the most extreme hospitality imaginable. Also in this post, we debut the first episode of everyone’s favorite trivia game: Everywherepardy!
Friday, June 14th, 2019 (cont.)
Kansas City, KS
I had a short, southward ride to Joplin, MO.
My destination was an incredibly important one. Though not a song place, I had been anticipating this stop for well over a year. I was heading to the home of my incredible friends, Adam and Natalie and their girls, Addilyn and Amelia. Pic from later:
Distinguished readers of this quality publication are probably familiar with me heaping effusive praise upon my many gracious hosts. I do hope my words have demonstrated just how thankful I am for the accommodation contributions offered by so many. That said, what Adam and Natalie have done for me since the beginning of this journey is truly beyond words.
Anticipating my arrival, I began a document which attempted to record all of the ways they had helped me out. I know it is still incomplete but here are some of their greatest hits:
They bought me three nights in a nice hotel in Bogota (After I dropped Annie off):
They replaced the Chiefs sweatshirt that I left in Peru:
They baked and sent me Swedish pepparkakkor before St. Lucia day while Dad was on hospice:
At my Dad’s visitation, the night before the funeral, I was having some throat issues from talking so much. They bought me two big bags of Ricolas to help my singing voice the next day. Financially, not a huge gift, but it was so considerate.
Perhaps more important than their tangible gifts, they have supported me with countless affirming words. But it has not just been the quantity of their kind words, it’s been the timing. It’s like they know just what I need to hear right when I need to hear it.
I’ll always remember a conversation with Adam while overlooking Resurrection Bay in Seward, Alaska. It was right before I took this picture.
I was still just a couple of weeks into my trip, but he was already so captivated with what I was doing. He complimented my writing and storytelling, even back before I knew what I was doing. Even in that conversation, I recall him using the phrase “roll out the red carpet” when I arrived at their place.
More recently, I’d heard other strange phrases such as “finalizing the menu” and “setting up your photo shoot.” This made me think that I was really in for a special experience.
Suspicious that they might try something crazy right when I arrived, I made sure to have my camera running. It was a good decision. I’ve never received a welcome like this before:
The only thing that could have made it any better would have been an airplane flying overhead, writing their wifi password in the clouds.
I could already tell that “red carpet” would be an inaccurate way to describe their hospitality. “Magic carpet” would be much more apt.
…and the magic carpet didn’t end there.
Though i had seen a preview of it, I was still not fully prepared to see the room in which I would be sleeping. They had decorated it just for me, with pictures of my trip.
I was so moved when I saw this. Maybe it was because I couldn’t believe that someone would do something so thoughtful for me. Perhaps it was because, somehow, inexplicably, my old nemesis, Jerkface McCreepyhands, had made the cut.
Or perhaps it was because this was the first time I had seen so many of my pictures printed out. Though I’ve poured over them countless times on a screen, there was something different about seeing them all around me. The magnitude of what I’d done felt more real.
My room was also well equipped with snacks…
…and freshly picked wildflowers
….but the magic carpet did not end there.
They declared that it was now July 12th, so they could celebrate my birthday. Apparently they use some sort of inverted Julian calendar in Missouri? Regardless, I was showered with swag.
One of the most thoughtful gifts was a National Parks pass that will get me into any park. I’ll use this a ton, especially out west.
The cake was a work of art:
We even played a few rounds of “pin the tail on the llama.”
I’ve often lied in bed on this trip thinking, “Wow. What the heck just happened.” This amazing welcome made me feel that way. It was really beyond words.
Saturday, June 15th
A day off. We had lots of time to chat and get caught up. The afternoon was spent with some of Natalie’s family. It was great to get to know them better.
Sunday, June 16th
Pancake morning! I’ve already flipped hundreds of these during Chapter 4. I’ve begun to incorporate stretches to prevent tennis elbow into my daily routine.
We had a nice easy day at home and worked to plan out our schedule for my visit. I would be using their place as a home base to visit Springfield, MO; Tulsa, OK and Oklahoma. Adam and Natalie both work as teachers, so they would be able to act as my support vehicle/photographers/security team/publicists.
They took me out bowling in the evening. I hadn’t been in quite awhile, so I really enjoyed it. I don’t think I will have too many riding gifs in this update, so I can probably afford one for bowling. 🙂
We only had to do 26 takes to get a good video of me picking up a spare.
Monday, June 17th
Tuesday June 18th
These were the Tulsa/Oklahoma days. They will be split out into a separate post. LINK HERE when in is done.
Wednesday, June 19th
Natalie has a friend named Angel who is a photographer. She had set up this morning for us to go take some pictures on the edge of town. It was another new experience for me that was very enjoyable. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they turned out. Thanks, Angel!
Their magic carpet also led to their dining room. I could probably write a whole post about the food Adam and Natalie made for me during my stay. They seem to really enjoy cooking, especially experimenting with unique dishes from different countries. Without even leaving their dining room, they took me all over the world. Including….
and most importantly, America!
This might have been the best steak I have ever had. I can’t remember a better one.
I was sure to weigh myself upon arrival, as they were intent on fattening me up while I was there. 2.7 pounds ended up being my total gain, which is a lot for a week! The time and effort they put into the meals was one more way that they spoiled me rotten.
Sonic didn’t mind the attention either.
Thursday, June 20th
This was Springfield day. LINK HERE when that post is up.
Friday, June 21st
Our last day together was definitely bittersweet. With everything that they’ve done for me, it was great to finally have their names on Annie.
Addilyn even asked me to sign her bike. Talk about nerve-wracking! The pressure of signing someone’s bike is enormous!
These wonderful people have been part of my journey from the beginning and I know they will be part of it until Nebraska is crossed off of my sign. I’m so glad that the timing worked out so that I could have ample time to spend with them. We will surely still be recounting memories of this time together decades down the road.
…and now for something completely different:
I wanted to do something special for Adam and Natalie to recognize all they had done for me. The reward for all of their efforts was a tortuous game of trivia which I like to call “Everywherepardy.” They were really good sports about it.
The video below is not the full game, just some highlights. If you would like to play yourself, the board is available at THIS LINK. All the categories except for “Song Place Pictures” will work. All of the clues and answers, including the pictures will be below. Enjoy!
Note: The audio is pretty poor and I didn’t have enough time to fix it. Sorry about that.
The Mighty North:
1 – This fictitious mountain supposedly lies between Fairbanks and Anchorage in Alaska. Predictably, it was “covered with clouds” when I rode by it.
2 – The second longest riding day of my trip came when I covered 854 miles through British Columbia. More impressively, the only thing I ate was ten of these.
3 – At the museum of this Nova Scotian Country singer, I performed the song for the first time.
4 – I was surprised to see a Dala Horse from Wausa, NE, when I stopped at the sign post forest in this territory.
5 – My Labrador connection was made when I met two wonderful people in Ontario. They also gifted me with a metallic one of these, which had been blessed by the pope.
6 – These terrible animals are often referred to as “God’s little mistakes.” Seriously, just look at those creepy little hands.
7 – My Ecuafamilia treated me to a dinner of Cuy (Guinea Pig) while I was visiting them. However it is probably more popular in this bordering country.
8 – A pesky bear disturbed my sleep for about four hours when I was in this state, which is also a song place.
9 – A relative of the llama and vicuña, this animal is bred solely for its wool.
10 – I saw thousands of these alligator-like creatures along the Trans-Pantanal Highway in Mato Grosso, Brazil. This is their name in Portuguese.
All About Annie
11 – This portmanteau, a combination of two words, describes the spacious compartment towards the front of Annie.
12 – Shaft, belt or chain; This is Annie’s method of final drive.
13 – This is the last name of Annie’s namesake, the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
14 – Annie’s spinning Sonic the Hedgehog hood ornament is made from bearings taken from one of these.
15 – When the Mayan calendar ran out in this year, the world did not end. More importantly, this is Annie’s birth year.
16 – My parents, sister and brother-in-law joined me in southern Peru to visit this lost city of the Incas.
17 – My only flat tire of the trip was in the area of song place Padilla, located in this country.
18 – The day of my crash in southern Mexico, I visited the tallest pyramid built by this ancient civilization.
19 – In this Central American country, I got to witness a volcanic eruption.
20 – I was only in this country for five days, but I was able to visit the Atacama Desert and song place Tocopilla.
21 – I’ll be getting my kicks on this classic road, when I ride from Amarillo to Santa Fe.
22 – The recently completed Inter-Oceanic Highway connects Peru to the western states of this country.
23 – The term “Pan-American Highway” is a bold-faced lie! That’s because there is no road between these two countries.
24 – Annie and I rode the 318 curves of The Tail of the Dragon, located at the border of Tennessee and this state.
25 – In southern Colombia, I rode a trail called the Trampoline of This.
Song Place Pictures:
2. Zebra Cakes
3. Hank Snow
5. A Dove
16. Machu Picchu
18. The Mayans
21. Route 66
23. Panama and Colombia
24. North Carolina
25. Muerte (Death)
29. Sioux City
Realtime update: I’m hanging out in Meno, Oklahoma today with some new friends. I met Rocky on ADVrider and him and his family have been wonderful hosts. Dodge City is in the books and Hennessey, OK is up next. The places are coming at me fast! I’ve hardly had time to keep up with writing. More updates will be coming!