Dighton-Scott City 24
Scott City-Tribune 41
Tribune-Sheridan Lake 30
When I woke up I checked the forecast. Rain until noon. So I figured since I wasn't going far I would wait until the afternoon to get going. An hour past when I checked the forecast again. Cloudy skys, no rain. So I scrambled and got moving. Kansas blessed me today with 10mph tailwinds. I made it to Hesston in no time. Small town with some large agriculture businesses. I obviously found Sonic and indulged in some tots and a lemon slushie. Shortly after I got back on the road. A few hills but with a tailwind, it's as if it were flat. My next stop was in the town of Buhler. I have a resupply box to pick up. I dropped Brown, my bags and the trailer at the park and went into town. The post office is closed from noon to two. I would have to wait. I went into the country grocery store next door. I picked up some oranges, raspberries, grapefruit, cantelope, bananas and a bacon wrapped pork filet. I rode back to the park and gave Brown the raw meat while I ate some raspberries. At two I went back into town and picked up my packages. On the ride back to the park it began to rain. It didn't last long. Brown and I hung out under the pavilion and decided to camp in the park tonight.
After sitting there a bit an older gentleman came and talked to me. He picked up biking when he was sixty one. He biked all over for ten summers. Shortly after he left two east bound cyclists rolled up. Eric and Beckett. Nice guys from long beach, California. We kicked it for a bit, chatted, made dinner and shared our experience and knowledge of the road ahead. An evening shared, it felt nice. It made me wonder what it would be like to bike tour with a buddy. Constant company and compromise. Good life lessons. Maybe I can convince a friend to tour with me next year.
The next morning Eric and I woke up around the same time. Becket slept in. I gave him half of my cantelope, finished up my breakfast, wished him a safe journey, and was off. I took a break eighteen miles later in Nickerson. I ate second breakfast. I used the bathroom in the park and the wifi from the library. The next stretch would be sixty miles of no services so I grabbed a couple of gatorades from the store. After about an hour in Nickerson, I headed west again.
About eight miles outside town I ran into a Dutchman. He was riding his recumbent bike cross country. We chatted briefly and then headed towards different views. The day was cloudy and not too hot. I took my lunch break beneath an information kiosk at the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. As I pulled in a light rain came and just as quickly went. There really is nothing on this stretch of road. Grain fields, cattle pasture, wildlife refuge. I reached a church, ah a place of refuge on this long desolate stretch. Locked. I had already traveled fifty miles and wasn't going to make it to the next town. I thought about just camping outside the church but Eric and Beckett had mentioned a town five miles south. I decided to go off route and went to the town of Hudson. There I found an unlocked church and went in. So much ice cream!
I washed my clothes in the sink camped out on the couch and ate some ice cream. I also downloaded the fifth Game of Thrones book and read the night away.
The next morning I headed to the town of Larned. Just a thirty mile day. There were strong headwinds from the NW. I took a brief rest on the side of the road by a field to eat an orange. Just outside the town is a cattle yard. So far on my trip I've seen cows in pastures with plenty of room. Here there were many in dirt pens. The smell is intense, it grabs you by the throat and chokes you. My first stop was Sonic. It was 50cent corn dog day. We got four. I had one, Brown snatched the rest. Also got a cranberry lemon slushie.
After Sonic we went to the park. I dropped Brown off and went back into town. I purchased a wrench at the hardware store and headed back to the park. The front rack on my bike was installed wrong at the bike shop. It was installed too high and the brackets were put on backwards. This made the rack placement up and forward instead of down and back as it should have been. I took it off and reinstalled it correctly. Mostly read the rest of the day.
The next day I stopped at the grocery store before leaving town. I saw two touring bikes outside the store and knew there had to be some cyclists inside. I bought some apples and dog food. When I went back outside I met two ladies, I think a mother/daughter team. We gave each other advice on the road ahead and parted ways.
I stopped about nine miles later for second breakfast at Ft. Larned. Rested briefly then continued. Roughly ten miles later I met Hugh and Chloie. An English couple riding cross country. Fifteen miles later I reached Rush Center. I ate my lunch in the church and rested before continuing on. Thirteen more miles left until Alexander.
When I reached the town I saw a cool old high school, now in disrepair. I rode through the town and found a church. I went in and noticed a lot of things every where. I thought maybe they are just remodeling. When I went to open the next door a woman on the other side beat me to it. It startled me for sure. I told her I was biking and hoping to fill my water bottles in the church. Well, it's no longer a church but a private residence. I felt bad walking into her home. She pointed me in the direction of a rest stop just outside of town. It's a highway rest stop with bathrooms, water fountains, picnic tables and electric outlets. I met an Australian gentleman heading east cross country. He was eating dinner before continuing on to Larned. We chatted for a bit before he took off. Brown and I made camp behind the restroom building. It's beginning to get colder at night, low sixties, high fifties. Clear nights with bright stars.
The next day I woke up early, expecting tailwinds, I had planned to ride fifty miles. We took our first break in Ness City. Stopping at dollar general for some extra supplies. Then the gas station for some stove fuel. I sat under a gazebo and ate my lunch, rested for about an hour then headed out of town. A thirty mile stretch until the next town. Ten miles down the road I got two flat tires. I broke my pump in the process of trying to pump more air into my tires. Two flats, no pump and twenty miles to the next town. Just when things seemed hopeless my angel arrived. An older gentleman pulled up and asked if I was having trouble. I explained what happened and he told me to head down to the end of the driveway. There was a large garage with farm tractors in it. He pulled out the air compressor and we figured out, what I already knew. The valves weren't compatible. I have presta valves on my bike. Most cars and bikes have Shrader valves. We looked around the shop for adhesive to try and fix my pump but no luck. His son and grandson arrived and we're searching the shop for solutions to my problems. Grateful. When we couldn't find any thing to fix the pump the oldest gentleman offered me a ride twenty miles to Dighton. Along the way I learned that they are cattle ranchers, they've been out here on the land for a long time.
When we reached Dighton, I thought he was going to just drop me off. He brought me to the hardware store and said he'd wait outside with Brown for me. They were closed for Labor Day weekend. He brought me up the road to the gas station where I inquired about other places in town that may be helpful. The lady said to me: "you can use my bike pump, it's sitting on my front porch". She gave me her address and we headed to her house. After pumping up my tires he dropped me off at the park. I thanked him for his kindness and said goodbye.
A few hours later my tires were flat again. I changed out the tubes, went back to her house and pumped up my tires again. I stopped at the liquor store on my way back to the park and purchased a six pack for my troubles. I utilized the goods from dollar general to make burritos for dinner and enjoyed the rest of the evening in the park. I planned a short day the next day, there were going to be strong headwinds. Plus with the small hand pump I used to put air in my tires, I couldn't get them as full as they should be.
The next morning I stopped by her house once more to put as much air in as I could, then headed out of town. On this stretch I met Kat. An English woman cycling cross country to raise awareness for domestic violence. We chatted for a bit, she told me where I could grab a huge margarita in the town ahead. I got to Scott City and immediately hit the dairy queen. It was crowded! Looks like this is the place to go after church. I got a s'mores blizzard and biked up the street to the hardware store. I ate my ice cream outside, then went in. They had bike pumps but only ones for Shrader valves. I bought krazy glue instead. I rode off to the park and glued my pump back together. To my surprise it worked! We spent the afternoon lounging beneath the shade of a large tree reading.
There was a Pizza Hut next to the park, so for dinner I got a pizza for my troubles. We saved two slices for breakfast. As it got dark I went under the pavilion. I watched lightening dance across the sky and rain beat down on the pavement. A beautiful show to fall asleep to.
The next morning I packed up and noticed that my tire was flat again. Frustrating. I took the tube out and looked/listened for any air escaping. I couldn't find any. I put it back on my bike and rolled out of town. I stopped frequently to check on it and it was holding up. Not too far out of town the cow manure stench choked me. It really makes it difficult to breathe. More cattle yards. Also I was excited to see my first wind farm since West Virginia. I counted thirty two windmills all but one spinning their blades. I thought I would have seen more wind farms in Kansas. It's seriously windy here, twenty mile per hour winds are normal. I took my lunch break in Leoti. Before you enter the town, a billboard reads: "give me your weary and burdened and I shall give you rest.-Jesus" All four churches in town were locked. Including the one advertised on the billboard. I ate my lunch outside of the last locked church in town. Rested, charged my phone and continued on.
Entered mountain time.
Twenty one miles later I reached Tribune. Three of four churches were locked. I set up in the fourth. Made a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. Read my book and went to sleep on the floor in the children's room. It was the only room with a fan.
The next day my tire was flat again. I pumped it up and on my way out of town I saw a touring bike outside the gas station. I went in for some coffee and donuts. I met a Canadian gentleman named Danielle. He needed to find a bike shop to get new tires. He isn't on the transamerican route, so he did not have maps. Outside I showed him mine and told him of a hardware store and library in town. Then a westbound English man rolled up. He heard about me from a couple of eastbounders and had to see for himself. He headed into town to pick up some food and I rode off.
Sixteen miles later while I was taking pictures at the Kansas/Colorado border he caught up to me. We chatted some more, then he continued on. I ate some peanut butter crackers and then hopped back in the saddle. I reached Sheridan Lake. I saw the English gentleman's bike outside the gas station. However, I went into town to where there is a church that hosts cyclists. I decided to make today a short day so I could catch up on some blogging. I asked the pastor if there was a place in town to buy fresh produce. He said that there wasn't. The next time I saw him he brought me some sliced cantaloupe and a squash! After dinner I set up the tent on the church patio. Since Brown isn't allowed inside the church, I'm sleeping outside with him.
Some one asked me recently what I've learned on my journey. I slept on it and replied, "patience, perseverance and appreciation". I'm sure I've learned much and more but those three stuck out in my mind.
Thank you readers. Sorry for the delay.