Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Welcome Back Kris Sandgren!

MoDOT employee Kris Sandgren completes day 28 today of his 2,600-mile ride from Anacortes, WA, to Jefferson City, MO, in honor of MoDOT's fallen workers. He will ride into Jefferson City around 1 p.m. today to circle the Missouri State Capitol Building and receive a welcome from MoDOT's Interim Director Kevin Keith and fellow employees.

Watch for an upcoming post where we interview Kris and learn more details and stories from his trip. We're so glad to know he is safely finishing up his journey. His ride has been a truly meaningful way to bring attention to the importance of work zone awareness and to honor his fellow workers that have lost their lives in a work zone.

Below are some updates from his last few days of his trip. Welcome back to Missouri!

Day 23 -- Wednesday, July 14

Kris takes the day off in Omaha, NE, and spends it with the friends he stayed with Tuesday night. He is the guest of Greg and Nancy Schuerman and their two children. "It seems weird to me today to not be pedaling." Instead he accompanies the family to the zoo. It's a very hot day with a hot breeze from the south. He's glad he decided to stay off the road.

Day 24 -- Thursday, July 15

Less wind today and the heat moderates slightly, so his ride south out of Omaha on U.S. 75 goes well. He is about to cross the Missouri River toward Rock Port on U.S. 136 and spots a Welcome to Missouri sign. "I'm just tickled to death." He calls it a day and puts up his tent at a KOA campground at Rock Port.

Day 25 -- Friday, July 16

Out of Rock Port, Kris zig-zags on various roads and winds up having to detour around a flood damaged area and head back into Nebraska at Rulo, NE. He heads south again and, traveling about 70 miles, winds up in Atchison, KS. He notes that Atchison is the girlhood home of famous 1930s pilot Amelia Earhart. Kris stops at a house on the city's outskirts and asks permission of a couple to fill his water bottles from their outside faucet. In easy conversation with the couple, Kris explains the purpose of his bicycle trek. The couple take an interest and invite him to stay with them overnight. That evening, they take him to an outdoor country-music concert at an annual festival in Atchison. "It was .. an offer I couldn't refuse."

Day 26 -- Saturday, July 17

High temperatures, humidity and hilly terrain make the going tough. He rides 73 miles between Atchison, KS, and Holt, MO, northeast of Kansas City. "My eyes were burning like crazy from all the salty sweat." He often stops, wipes his face and puts on his reading glasses. He keeps having to consult a map because of the many different roads he must follow. He finally stops in a shady spot at about 3:30 p.m. and lies down to rest. "It was about to cook me." He resumes riding at 5 p.m. and rolls into Holt where he stops at a small hotel. The air conditioning in his room does not work. The day is "not much to brag about."

Day 27 -- Sunday, July 18

Kris is able to cover 115 miles on another hot, muggy day. The most challenging part is crossing the Laramie River west of Boonville. He uses a wide shoulder on I-70 for a short distance but finds no shoulder on the bridge. He tries to hitch a ride for 30 minutes but no takers. He pedals right up to the bridge and waits another 30 minutes for a break in traffic to pedal across. Almost to the east end of the bridge, he has his first flat tire of the trip. But the tire holds enough air for him to make it across. He pulls off the road and replaces the tire. Kris reaches Boonville in the early evening and spends the night in a nice motel in a room with a working air conditioner. He' looking forward to finishing the ride Tuesday in Jefferson City. "It's almost like I'm going to make it."

Day 28 -- Monday, July 19

Another hot, high-humidity day. Kris is taking his time heading toward Jefferson City. He will stay the night somewhere close.
Kris plans to ride to the Capitol and MoDOT's Central Office by 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 20.

If you would like to make a donation or pledge by the mile in support of his ride:
Make check payable to:

State Highway & Transportation Employees
Association of Missouri

Mail to:
Fallen Workers' Memorial
c/o District 7 Highway Credit Union
3901 E. 32nd St., Suite A
Joplin, MO 64804
Attention: Dave B. Taylor