Vandalia to Lebanon - The woman who sat on the toilet too long (and other odd American tales) - CycleBlaze

May 24, 2014

Vandalia to Lebanon

Should produce an impressive bang if it goes wrong, shouldn't it!
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THERE ARE TIMES when America excels itself. Where else would you find a fire-breathing dragon? And one, what's more, that's simply there. It advertises nothing, it costs nothing and it exists just for the pleasure of existing.

Well, I wasn't going to leave Vandalia without seeing it and, after I rode the length of Rock Island Avenue, there it was on a junction, tall, silver and as close to a dragon as you can get in shaped steel. Across the road, a drinks store that has the tokens but which leads more leisurely hours than a passing cyclist. And further along, a building supplies supermarket where the staff gave me two free tokens "so as you don't miss the show."

And you drop a token into a box, you turn round, there's a roar, flames bellow from the creature's mouth and then five seconds later it's all over. It's not, I admit, on the scale of a Rolling Stones concert but it's quite something in a suburb of a small town in the middle of nowhere.

My destiny for today was to meet a man I'd long thought of as a friend even though we'd never met. Jeff Lee is married to Joy Santee. Joy Santee is a lovely girl I met in the dying moments of my first attempt to ride across America, so that I don't actually know her although timing alone meant she played a role in my life. And then she met and agreed to marry Jeff.

So that was it, really. I rode into Lebanon, a pleasant little place of interesting shops and buildings and a mock-cobbled street and the air of a good place to live, then bowled out past the university where Joy is a professor of English, and then finally met Jeff. Joy had fled at the notion of my arrival and preferred to be hiking some muddy, rain-dripping trail somewhere...

Great guy, Jeff. Not surprisingly, we see life in the same way. And we both like curry, our treat of the evening.

You can't fault a man who rides a bike and likes curry.

And there shalt be a dragon...
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...and he shalt breathe forth fire in exchange for a token from a building supplies shop
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Lebanon - a quietly enjoyable university town
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Lebanon wall painting
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Today's ride: 96 km (60 miles)
Total: 1,816 km (1,128 miles)

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