ABB Day 16 – McAlester, Oklahoma to Fort Smith, Arkansas

Ray is still very much in our minds. Especially when we’re riding alone and there’s plenty of time for quiet contemplation. Maybe it’s because we’re sensitised to it but this last few days there seems to be a cemetery every mile or so. I mentioned this to one of the other riders, Randy from Nebraska, and he told me that when the pioneers made their journey west from Mississippi to California one person was buried on average every 100 yards of the way. Carrying a literal dead weight wasn’t practical or, when the person had succumbed to disease, advisable so an impromptu service would be held there and then before the inexorable push westwards continued. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents…all left behind. For those early settlers the collective goal was more important than any individual. I guess to that extent nothing much has changed. We’ve cycled 1700 or so miles from Costa Mesa on the Pacific coast so our collective goal  – the Atlantic coast at Tybee Island in Georgia – is now only 1100 miles away.

Rest day tomorrow. Maybe a bit of work on the tan lines – brown from mid- thigh down and from upper arms down but white everywhere else. More blue skies forecast plus temperatures in the mid to high nineties Fahrenheit (35c).

Ft Smith 43309

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