57 miles (92 km) – Total so far: 1,542 miles (2,482 km)
Back on the trail and chilling out of the campsite proved to be the reintroduction to biking culture I had been hoping to get. The venue for last night’s bonding was a free campsite for cyclists provided by the town of Pittsburg, Ks. Paul and Terry, who I’ve been shadowing for about a week now rolled up to join myself, Jess and Tuan. The five of us spent time routing our future days and reminiscing about our trip so far. Lots of conversation about tough hills, chasing dogs, friendly people, and polite drivers. We also noted that about five times a day each of us are exhorted to ‘Watch out for those trucks!”. This comment comes from a good place of concern, but is also totally absurd since it is impossible for a cyclist to do anything about the way a truck is operated. Really, we just hope and pray that those trucks watch out for us.
So, Kansas. Sweet! Flat lands and fast rides. Actually not. Turns out the first 70 miles of Kansas looked a whole lot like the last two days of Missouri. Rolling hills. Big farms. The sun was out and the wind was picking up. Overall, I haven’t been too worried about the wind. I trained in Chicago, and I’ve got a recumbent, so the hills are a lot bigger deal for me than the wind. But, a steady 15MPH headwind that varied from SW to W turns out to be a bit of a drag. Snicker Snicker.
Much of the day was just a grind against the wind on a laser straight road. But there were definitely some highlights, including one speedy East-bounder, a local delicacy, and a Vietnam era helicopter. The latter half of the ride became oppressively hot as the metaphorical mercury topped 90 and the humidity hung in the air like a wet blanket. The heat and a threatening thunderstorm pushed us to opt for a motel rather than campsite tonight, where we were duly warned about the dangers of Kansas wind.