Church-Santa Fe Lake 32
Chanute rest day 0
Chanute-Toronto Lake 41
Toronto-El Dorado Lake 55
El Dorado-East Lake 46
East lake-Newton 7
I arrived at the bike shop just before opening time. However, the owner was late in opening the shop. Thirty minutes go by and he finally comes. He sold me two gently used tires and tubes for only $20. I changed the tire on the cycle tote and get moving. I guess I assumed Kansas would have bike route directional signs like Missouri did. It does not. I missed the first turn and end up having to take gravel roads for eight miles. The worst.
I stopped in Girard for a brief break. Bought two gatorades and refilled my water at the church in town. I headed out of town and down the road. There are large expanses of prairie, soy bean fields, corn fields, hay bails and cattle. Kansas is very windy, by my guess an excellent location for a wind energy farm. This day it was only 10mph winds. The days are getting hotter as well, this day the upper 90s.
Amidst the sprawling fields and seemingly endless road lies a church that lets cyclists in. You can see its steeple as you climb the hill just prior. As you get to the top it comes into view and I race down the hill to the church. Inside is a kitchen with a note to cyclists: "help yourselves to anything in the fridge". So basically my heaven. There were six free range eggs in the refrigerator. I fried up three with a hot dog. They also let you camp there If you want. I decided I would. I watched the rest of Orange is the New Black S2 on the wifi. For dinner, I found biscuits in the freezer; I fried up the last three eggs and had egg cheese hot dog biscuits and a cucumber, carrot salad. For dessert, I found cookie dough, cheesecake and ice cream in the freezer. Went to sleep fat and happy that night.
The next morning I had three biscuits with marmalade. Then hit the road. The winds and the heat were stronger today. The last four miles into town I turned North and had a tailwind which was nice. I sped into town and pulled into the park. I relaxed by the lake the rest of the day. Walmart is two blocks from the park. After the sun went down I walked over and got some salad mix and cookies. I went back to the tent, chowed down then went to bed. The winds are stronger in the evening, making for comfortable sleeping weather.
Rest day. I finally finished my book. I only have one more left in the series. I checked into a local motel. I hadn't washed my clothes in a washing machine since I left. It's also been a while since I've had a proper shower. I rode my bike back to Walmart for laundry detergent. I also got veggie burgers, frozen veggies, a watermelon and six donuts. I washed my clothes and binged. Watched TV, read some news. Then went to bed.
The next day I stopped at the post office on my way out of town. Thanks for the candy! The temperature was 100 degrees with 15-20mph winds. I ran out of water ten miles from my destination in the town of Colville, population 67. The park didn't have a well pump and there was no store. After resting in the park for an hour, I decided to push on. Then a little old lady waved me down and pointed out the community building. She told me I could refil my water bottles and cool off inside. An angel in old lady skin. I stayed for thirty minutes then headed out.
Headed towards Toronto lake. Just ten more miles. However, they were very hilly miles. I finally made it though. I can see dark clouds around me and lightening in the distance. I sat under the pavilion and watched strong winds drop branches from trees. Then a sudden but brief down pour. When it cleared up I picked a spot by the lake and set up my tent. Brown and I went swimming, made dinner and watched the sunset.
The next day we were up and off. The heat was an intense 100 degrees. Strong 25mph headwinds. I was on the same road all day. Highway 54. There was a shoulder for most of the way. Many hills to take on as well. I took my first break at a church and indulged in some leftover ice cream cake. My second break was in the town of Eureka. Here I had an extra large lemonberry slush. After an hour I set back out into the heat. At one point while struggling uphill I looked back and noticed the tire had come off of the chariot. When I made it to the top I was grateful I had purchased two tires back in Pittsburg. I changed the tire on the cycle tote and again, pressed on. My water bottles are so hot the water just won't quench my thirst. It was a long struggle in the heat this day. I reached the town of Rosalia, thirteen miles from Eldorado lake. I had to stop, I was hungry, thirsty, baked. I found the community worship center and went inside. I made a grilled cheese and some tater tots. Rested, drank so much water and after an hour pushed on the rest of the way. About five of those miles I was headed north and had a decent tailwind.
I reached the campground and set up. Brown jumped in the lake, I took a shower and then we watched the sunset. A nice windy evening beneath the stars. A treat at the end of a hard day.
The next morning I headed out pretty early. Assuming this day would be as bad as the one before. I had a thirteen mile ride with tailwinds in the not as hot earlier hours of the day. I reached Cassoday; had breakfast at the gas station, convince store, restaurant. Biscuits and gravy and a root beer. The next stretch of road is thirty eight miles to the closest town. No services. I set out and while the winds are strong the heat isn't as intense as the day before. Many hills, they're small but every one a challenge when you're hauling a chariot. Halfway there is a church. It was locked, on a Sunday. I was so upset, I wanted AC and cold water. Jesus said: "give me your weary and your burdened and I shall give you rest." I believe churches to be houses of god, not private property. They should never be locked. I found a well pump out back and was able to fill my bottles. I ate lunch then continued on the road.
I reached East Lake just outside of Newton. I decided to camp by the lake, the fourth lake on my five lake Kansas tour. I made dinner, watched the sunset and went to bed early. I woke up in the middle of the night to thunder and lightening. I dozed in and out trying to keep an eye on it. Then rain came and I had to get up and put the rain fly on the tent. As soon as I put the rain fly on and covered the bike and chariot, the rain stopped. I went back to bed.
I woke up and watched the sunrise over the lake. I left the park and noticed that finally, I found the flat Kansas I've been dreaming of. It was nice. I headed into town and went right to the bike shop. They were going to install a front rack on my bike. Not that I needed more storage. However, I was looking to better balance my load. The rack was set to arrive around one on the UPS truck. I mostly hung out outside the shop, talking to strangers. I had a turkey wrap at a local café. Then I met two east bounders. One is biking across country and the other is biking between national scenic trails and then hiking the trail. Finally my bike was all set and I said goodbye. I headed to the neighborhood park where bikers camp. The bike shop has a hostel but they said Brown was too big. The local community center offers free showers, so at least I was able to get cleaned up. Then I made dinner and relaxed with the pup.
Thank you readers.
"You said, "Damn be this wind is still movin' on in, to the bones and the bed of my soul.""