Day 36 Sunday June 26, 2005, 51 miles (82 km) – Total so far: 2,162 miles (3,479 km)
51.1 Miles and 5:50 pedal time
I got on the road at about 9am. I didn’t really eat much before I left Dighton and I was starving an hour into my ride. The wind was blowing from the south pretty hard. The plan for today was to ride to Tribune and that was about 70 miles and change.
2 miles before I got to Scott City I saw 2 cyclists behind me. They flew past me and we all stopped at a convenience store and hung out. They were the couple that I have been trailing behind for a couple of days now. Dave and Patty. The 3 of us sat in the convenience store for a while talking. I bombarded them with questions about their past cross country rides and they also told me a lot about hiking the Appalachian Trail. It seems like they are living their lives to the fullest. I had a lot of fun talking with them. I hope to see them again on the trail. They were spending the night in Scott City.
Around 1pm I left Scott City. The wind had changed direction and it was now hitting me in the face pretty hard and I was also getting blasted from the side every now and again. It was a struggle to ride any faster than 8mph. A few times I was blown off the side of the road.
I rode through these absurd winds another 25 miles to the next town Leoti. I saw 2 east bounders shortly before I entered town. They were cruising with the winds. They were pretty young guys; I didn’t talk to them for very long. I was in kind of a bad mood from the lousy riding and wanted to get off my bike.
A few minutes before I pulled up to the gas station I popped another spoke. I sat in the gas station for quite a while drinking Coca-Cola from the fountain. I made some phone calls and then walked my bike over to the city park.
I went for a quick swim in the town pool. They have a really nice pool with a water slide, probably the nicest I have seen so far. All these swimming pools let cyclists swim for free. I’m not really swimming much; I just lay in the water like a sick whale.
A thunderstorm passed through while I cooked up a pasta feast and getting ready to spend the evening. Quickly the weather cleared up and a beautiful rainbow came out in the sky. About 15 minutes after the rainbow the storm came back with some very fierce winds. The little pavilion I was under north and south walls the winds were so strong the walls started to shake, I got pretty scared. 2 high school kids who were hanging out in the park came by where I was to get out of the storm. They told me storms like this are normal in Kansas. I told them ‘well their not normal where I live, in fact we call this weather a hurricane.’ After about an hour the storm died down a little bit and I decided there was no way in hell I was sleeping outside tonight.
Around 10pm I checked into the motel even though I can’t afford it. This is my 3rd night in a row at a motel and there’s very little I can do about it. I put on the weather channel in the motel room but they were having a TV show about Extreme weather conditions so I quickly turned it off.
In the middle of the night the TV mysteriously turned itself on. So I caught the weather forecast. I think I’ll be fine for the rest of the week. Then I got outta bed and walked across the room and turned off the TV.
Sometimes with the heat, wind and the never ending horizon, Kansas feels very beachy. I feel like I’m by the ocean.
But the interesting thing about Kansas is that even though it feels flat I’m actually climbing up a very slight incline. When I entered Kansas a week ago I was at about 1000 ft. above sea level. I’m at around 3250ft now and when I get to pueblo I’ll be at around 5000ft.
I can’t wait to get back into the mountains. Riding through the Great Plains just isn’t doing it for me. It’s mentally and physically exhausting. I’m frustrated I couldn’t get my mileage in today. But at least I had some great days in Kansas before today.