Column in the Park Hills Daily Journal about a bicyclist riding through Missouri on the TransAmerica Route

Third in a series of three articles in the Park Hills Daily Journal, about bicycling in the Park Hills/Farmington area and the TransAmerica bicycle route, which runs through the area. Published in the Park Hills Daily Journal, July 2003.

Last week I was lucky enough to meet 18-year-old Dusty Ross, who is cycling across the United States to raise money for a camp that is located in his hometown.

I had spent the whole week trying to confirm that there was even such a cross-country bike route that went through Farmington. (By the way, thank you to everyone who helped me.) I searched the Web and found several sites that talked about the TransAmerica bicycle route and Farmington but the sites didn't have maps and the one that did wanted my money.

By the way, I still don't quite understand why you have to pay $11 for a section of the map and I still don't understand why there aren't signs along the highway to let cyclists and fast-moving motorists know about the TransAmerica route.

But anyway, one Web site talked about the rude drivers in and around Farmington and a second talked about stray dogs around Farmington so I wasn't totally surprised when Mineral Area Cyclery owner Tim White and Dusty talked about the area's bad reputation. The Web sites I visited didn't say anything about having bottles, ashtrays and firecrackers thrown at them, though.

Not everyone has had those bad experiences. In fact, one person who rode the route in 2002, seemed very impressed with Farmington and the welcoming man who was mayor at the time.

"Kevin (Engler) made it sound like it was the most perfect place to live in America, and his pride in his city was visible," the man wrote on his Web site. Engler took him on a tour of the city and the man said he was very impressed with the "quantity and quality" of its facilities for a city of its size.

Now back to Dusty... For those of you who are interested, he made it out of Missouri before the holiday and was riding through Kentucky as of July 6.

He is 147 miles ahead of schedule and plans to finish up within the next week or so, according to his Web site. The Web address is http://www.freewebs.com/rideforcamp if anyone is interested in following his ride across the county. He has ridden over 3,000 miles in a month.

Other than back pain, things seem to be going well for him. (Dusty was hospitalized with a bulging disc in February for three days. Before the injury, he had been running 50 miles a week and training for track.)

Also according to his Web site which is updated daily by his mom, Dusty ran track and cross country all four years of high school. He received two state runner-up medals and All-State honors in track.

He plans to attend the University of Northern Iowa where he will swim in order to compete with the triathlon club. He hopes to compete in Ironman Triathlons someday.
One reader called me and asked me how to send donations to his cause. She said she felt terrible about the way he was treated by some motorists in Missouri.

He is raising money for Camp Courageous, a year-round recreational and respite care facility in Monticello, Iowa, for individuals with disabilities. So far he has raised $8,000.

His mom said donations can be mailed to Camp Courageous of Iowa, Attn: Dusty's Ride for Camp, 12007 190th Street P.O. Box 418, Monticello, Iowa 52310-0418. Donations can also be accepted through his the camp's Web site at http://www.campcourageous.org.

Teresa Ressel, staff writer
Daily Journal
(573) 431-2010 ext. 179