May 26, 2013

‘Ride To Francis’: Day 4 & Arrival!

By Dave Christi

Sat., May 25, 2013. KSU - 9:15 AM CDT

The first thing that meets you upon leaving Illinois on Route 64 is the stainless steel Gateway Arch entering St. Louis Mo. I had been to St. Louis years ago on business but it was still very impressive seeing it as I crested a hill on the highway going into Missouri. After maneuvering through St. Louis, I headed into the less-traveled more scenic Route 94 along the Missouri River.

After primarily being on  highways it felt good gliding through curves again. I decided to stop at one point just to savor the quiet with my only interruption being a friendly farmer who happened by and asked if I was okay.  Turns out that was literally the calm before the storm as shortly afterwards I ran into a torrential downpour along Route 19, which is only bordered by farmland (i.e., no place to get cover).

Note the wet pavement after the storm!
I did finally make my way to the old wine-making town of Hermann where I caught lunch and warmed up a bit. The rest of the trip was back on the main highway (I-70), where it both got sunny and warm. I arrived at Bob & Heather’s place around 7:00 p.m., tired from my long day but excited to finally arrive to welcoming arms. You can see from the trip meter that the trip now has covered 1432.9 miles.

Coming up Westgate Street after four days in the saddle
1432.9 miles from Kingston to Overland Park
Sunday is my day of rest and then we all go to Leavenworth National Cemetery on Memorial Day to pay our respects to Francis, who has brought us all together.  I cannot begin to tell you how good this all feels. From the concept that germinated in the fall of 2012 to now has been a great journey full of anticipation and excitement as the pieces came together. The unexpected pleasure, though, was the frequent memories of Francis and the opportunity to once again connect with my great friends in Kansas.

Thanks to all who have been able to donate to the Kansas City VA’s Francis D. Sommer Memorial Fund. I’m sure Francis appreciates the fact that you’ve just made this world a little better for homeless veterans. 

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