Day 103 • June 12, 2012 • Olathe, KS to Holden, MO • 50 miles
We encountered more heavy traffic but no incidents on our way out of town today. By the time we hit the border we were travelling on residential streets in a ritzy neighborhood that traded low traffic for a couple of steep hills. We slipped into Missouri without any indication other than a street sign as we crossed State Line Road. Hoping to remain on the road less travelled today, we stopped for directions from some locals who turned out to be cyclists themselves. They got us into Pleasant Hill on some back roads that even included a short section of rail trail. After that it was Highway 58 into Holden which was lightly traveled, mostly straight, and generally pretty good.
On some of the back roads today we experienced a growing trend—motorists willing to risk a head on collision to get around us. This class of motorist doesn’t seem particularly upset about us being on the road, passing slowly and using the entire oncoming lane to give us a lot of clearance, but we were seeing some really poor decisions about when to pass. The tradeoff for light traffic around here is usually narrow, curvy, hilly roads with correspondingly poor sight lines, even with the higher vantage of a car or truck. Even though light traffic may increase the odds of survival, they’re still playing roulette when they move into the oncoming lane to pass on a curve that hides oncoming traffic. The risk is mostly theirs but I really don’t want to be around for the aftermath of such a collision, or to become collateral damage. After witnessing a near-head-on collision I began re-evaluating, again, the roads we were taking.
We camped at Holden City Park with the blessing of local police. On our way out of town the next morning we stopped at Lloyd’s Foods for some supplies and met the owner Doug, who was so impressed with Zoe and the ride that he let us walk out without paying for our groceries. I figured it really was Doug when no police chase ensued.