Man of LaMancha



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Introduction

I’m 67 years old. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 22 years ago. Why would I commit myself to ride my bicycle 10,000 miles this year? Before I attempt to answer that question, I should tell you that Man of LaMancha is my favorite play, and Don Quixote is my favorite fictional character. I should also tell you that since I was 14, I have been waging my one-man war against racism and religious intolerance.

I had just heard my pastor preach a beautiful sermon about loving all people that Sunday morning when I was 14. As I left the church I overhead two older men. One said, “If them niggers ever try to come in this church, I’ll beat ‘em back with a baseball bat.” The other said, “Me, too.” How love and hate could live together in the minds and hearts of church-going people was a mystery to me. To help it not be so became the mission of my life.

So in a Baptist college for 30 years I taught Race Relations. My church appointed me Ambassador to Other Communities of Faith. One fateful morning when I was 45, my doctor delivered his devastating diagnosis. “You have Multiple Sclerosis. It’s a Damnable disease, and you can’t be active.” I quit everything except teaching my class and going to church. Depression and thoughts of suicide lived with me. Then one day three years into my diagnosis, I saw my son’s old bicycle in a corner of the garage. “Get on that bike and ride.” That thought was so clear and urgent, I thought it was audible.

And I discovered my doctor was wrong. My MS means I must be active. I began to ride that bike to class and to church. Then came another audible thought: “Ride your bicycle across America.” Three more years passed. Then I rode from Orlando to Seattle to LA: 5,126 miles in 105 days. Alone and without money. Asking for a sandwich, a drink of water, a bed for the night.

When I was back, a Klansman got elected to the Louisiana Legislature. My students and I started HateBusters and the Governor of Louisiana invited us to come help the state redeem itself. We lead the city of Baton Rouge on a hundred-mile bike ride. We began to be invited all across the country to help people learn to like each other and to organize bike rides. I left the college to give HateBusters all my time. I discovered that if I ride, I can run; if I don’t, I can’t walk.

The more I ride, the better my health. Being healthy, though, is not sufficient reason for living. Good health is good only in that it makes possible some larger purpose. That purpose, for me, is HateBusters.

Bike riding is the only medicine I take for my MS. So in the year 2003, I have super-sized my prescription for what ails me. I want to ride 10,000 miles. I want to do the bulk of my riding around my town of Liberty, Missouri. I can ride about 125 miles on a good day. So from my home in Liberty, I plan this year to ride 125 miles in all directions, taking me to the outer limits of what I call Greater Liberty. North to Creston, Iowa; south to Carthage, Missouri; west to Manhattan, Kansas; east to Columbia, Missouri. Stopping in these places and other towns I pass through to visit with folks, teach bike safety to the children and teach my book, How To Like People Who Are not Like You.

Don Quixote says, “Too much sanity may be madness, and the greatest madness of all may be to see the world as it is, and not as it should be.” The world should be a place where people can go anywhere at anytime and talk to anyone about anything and feel safe. Who’s right is the wrong question until we get to know one another. That’s the way I see the world. I want to ride my bike into the 114 counties in parts of four states in the place I call Greater Liberty, and I want to share my vision of the world with all who want to hear. I long to inspire and encourage people.

I also hope by my riding to raise $100,000 for the MS Society of Mid-America and $10,000 for HateBusters

Ed Chasteen

December 16, 2003


Greater Liberty

From Physical and Spiritual Restraints
Table of Contents

Introduction 1

The Rose Parade Miles 0-10 January 1 5

The Mill Inn Miles 10-50 January 4 5

Behind Already Miles 85-145 January 8 6

Fourth of July Pass Miles 270-320 January 15 7

No Ordinary Year Miles 465-515 January 21 7

The Smallest School Miles 710-760 January 28 8

Dorothy Comes to Mind Miles 900-950 February 2 9

Dad’s Favorite Meal Miles 950-1000 February 3 9

Raymond’s Gift Miles 1555-1655 February 27 10

In Praise of James Milliff Miles 1655-1725 February 28 11

Brother Dominic Miles 1755-1785 March 4 12

Rayville Baking Company Miles 2230-2260- March 22 12

Laura Has Me Going in Circles Miles 2260-2270 March 23 13

A Cookie for the Hound Miles 2470-2535 March 31 14

The DQ Award April 26 15

Tornado in Our Town May 4 16

Can’t Circle the Square Today Miles 3370-3390 May 9 17

A Ride By Greeting Miles 3390-3410 May 11 18

Catricks 20

Flats and the Law of Short Intervals Miles 3530-3655 May 16-18 21

Mormon Missionaries Miles 3705-3775 May 22 22

Bike Safety May 28 24

A Century One Day Miles 3980-4080 May 31 24

20 miles to Orrick 25

13 Miles to Richmond 25

10 Miles to Rayville 26

12 Miles to Lawson 27

15 Miles to Watkin’s Mill 27

15 Miles to Kearney 28

15 Miles to Liberty 28

A Reason to Live 30

My Letter to Marvin Miles 4420-4500 June 17 31

If Not Coincidence Miles 4535-4545 June 20 32

Buy a Mile Miles 4545-4615 June 21 32

The Bridge Is Out Miles 4760-4840 June 26 33

Oma’s Kitchen Miles 5115-5180 July 2 35

Sarah’s Table Miles 5256-5275 July 4 35

The Churchyard Dog Miles 5335-5420 July 7 36

Tenderloin Sandwich as Art Miles 5420-5480 July 8 37

Sweet Tea Miles 5500—5555 July 10 37

Margaret Won’t Go Home Miles 5555-5605 July 12 37

Tom’s Funeral Miles 5605-5635 July 13 38

That Question Again Miles 5635-5710 July 14 39

Matching Treks Miles 5710-5775 July 15 39

The Little School That Did Miles 5775-5830 July 16 39

A Blessing Missed Miles 5830-5915 July 18 40

JJ’s Miles 5915-5955 July 19 41

Princess Laura and Papa July 20 41

The Chocolate Enchilada Miles 6100-6200 July 25 42

Brother John Miles 6200-6220 July 26 42

Way to Go Jack July 28 43

When I Come to Gravel Miles 6220-6290 July 29 43

Mother’s 90th Birthday Miles 6290-6295 July 30-August 6 43

When Laura Remembers Harry Potter August 4 44

Queen of Angles Miles 6365-6405 August 10 45

The Plattsburg Rotary Club Miles 6405-6495 -August 11 45

The Green Is Gone Miles 6520-6600 August 13 45

Is Your Society Content? Miles 6605-6665 August 16 46

A Horse in the Cafeteria Miles 6665-6710 August 18 47

Patrick Bought A Bike Miles 6710-6755 August 19 47

Dave Biscari to the Rescue Miles 6755-6770 August 20 48

Where the Sidewalk Ends Miles 6770-6810 August 21 49

St. Francis of Assisi Miles 6810-6870 August 22 49

JD Rides with Me Miles 6870-6880 August 23 50

Peckerwood August 23rd 50

Camelot-Brigadoon Miles 6880-6930 August 25 51

Drought Miles 6930-7030 August 27 51

Four Ears of Corn Miles 7030-7115 August 28 52

The North Kansas City Rotary Club Miles 7115-7145 August 29 52

A Grilled Cheese Sandwich for Laura Miles 7145-7175 August 30 54

Labor Day at Mill Inn September 1 54

I Want to Want to Ride Miles 7175-7185 September 2 55

Pandolfi’s Deli Miles 7185-7195 September 3 55

To Fubbler’s with Patrick Miles 7195-7270 September 4 55

The MS-150 Miles 7270-7420 September 6-7 56

The Human Family Reunion September 10 58

Scenery on a Detour Miles 7500-7515 September 11-20 59

Write as I Ride Miles 7665-7740 September 25 60

Inspired by Robert Frost Miles 7740-7795 September 26 60

Church of the Open Road Miles 7795-7825 September 28 61

Ansare and Yahya Miles 7825-7855 September 29 61

JJ’s and Sarah’s Table Miles 7855-7930 October 1 62

Holly Springs, Mississippi Miles 7945-7985 October 3-5 63

Arson at the Lumber Company Miles 8060-8120 October 8 64

A Clem’s Connection Miles 8120-8170 October 9 65

Alaska and Texas Miles 8170-8200 October 10 65

Rich Is out of Town Miles 8200-8260 October 11 66

When Frank Was a Boy Miles 8470-8520 October 17 66

Breakfast with Dale and Emma Miles 8520-8570 October 18 66

A Perfect French Fry Miles 8570-8750 October 19-21 67

Nature’s Vault of Precious Colors Miles 8750-8825 October 22 67

Floating Uphill Miles 8825-8910 October 23 68

If a Customer Drops a Coin Miles 8910-9105 October 29-31 69

Our First Saturday Miles 9105-9150 November 1 69

My Heart in My Throat Miles 9150-9250 November 3 70

I Hope You Win the Lottery Miles 9250-9360 November 4 71

Beethoven’s Ode to Joy Miles 9360-9420 November 6 72

Our Second Saturday Miles 9420-9460 November 8 72

Coach Said I Had Heart Miles 9460-9505 November 10 73

Ridin’ in the Rain Miles 9505-9555 November 11 74

A Few Rounds with Mike Tyson Miles 9555-9630 November 12 74

Carol Miller to the Rescue November 13 75

A Mack Truck on My Tail Miles 9630-9660 November 14 75

Our Third Saturday Miles 9660-9685 November 15 76

Laura’s Donation November 16 77

My Back Tire Comes off Miles 9685-9715 November 17 77

Called a Tow Truck Lately? Miles 9715-9725 November 18 78

Jesse James and Sugar Plum Miles 9725-9810 November 19 79

The Round Table Miles 9810-9940 November 20-21 80

Our Fourth Saturday Miles 9940-9970 November 22 81

With One Week To Go 81

The Chili Dinner Sunday, November 23 82

Ring Those Bells Miles 9970-9985 November 25 82

Our Fifth Saturday Miles 9985-10,000 November 29 83

A Ride in Retrospect 85

Jack Miles Sums It Up 85



Greater Liberty

From Physical and Spiritual Restraints


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