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Riders make camp at Tabor

Travelers faced many hardships along the old Santa Fe Trail. The trail was risky, food and water were scarce. Weather conditions, like huge lightning storms, gave travelers even more difficulty. If a storm blew up, there was often no place to take shelter.

Much has changed since 1821, when William Becknell forged the 900-mile route through arid plains, desert, and mountains from New Franklin, Mo., to Santa Fe, N.M. However, after 188 years, weary travelers still seek food, water, and shelter from the storm along the Santa Fe Trail.

Such was the case Friday when 31 participants in the Santa Fe Trail Bicycle Trek, weary from a long day’s ride from Sterling and drenched from a downpour, rode onto the campus of Tabor College in Hillsboro.

It was a familiar stop for trek organizer Richard Chilcott, who has found rest on the Tabor campus many times before.

The Santa Fe Trail Bicycle Trek was started 15 years ago by Chilcott’s father, Willard, who spent 10 days in a car mapping the trip along paved roads as close to the original trail as possible from his home in Santa Fe to New Franklin, a distance of about 1,100 miles.

According to information posted at www.kansascyclist.com the Santa Fe Trail Bicycle Trek, takes place every two years, attracting riders from all over the world who want to re-live a bit of the old west and learn about the history of the trail.

This year’s Trek began in Santa Fe on Sept. 13. In all, the trek will take 17 days of riding with three rest days. They’ll ride an average of 64 miles a day, with the longest day being 85 and the shortest 21.

Chilcott expects to bring more Santa Fe Trail riders back to Tabor in the near future. To learn more about the Santa Fe Trail Bicycle Trek, visit the tour’s web site at www.santafecentury.com/sf_trail_bike_trek.html

Last modified Oct. 1, 2009

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