Day 37: Fitful Sleep and Fields of Kansas.: Scott City, KS to Sheridan Lake, CO
75 miles (121 km) – Total so far: 1,972 miles (3,174 km)
We all bedded down in the hostel. Well, not a hostel really. News flash: the 8’ x 4’ foyer of an athletic club does not a hostel make. Especially if they turn the AC off as they go. I thought I should probably just set my tent up outside. Oh, Mike… that would have been a good idea. Around 11:00 we were woken up by the folks that lived upstairs coming in. A man and his seven year old daughter walked in and turned all the lights on. Since this visit was a complete surprise to us, the pair were treated to a view of five sleeping bikers in various states of undress ranging from mostly clothed (myself) to completely naked (it’s cool, he’s European). Aside from the obvious problem of surprising sleeping guests, this presented a rather startling dilemma as all the bikers dashed to cover up.
After this incident, we all returned to a level of modesty appropriate for any further surprise visits. Which, of course, occurred about five more times that night as the little girl needed to visit the bathroom. This task required walking through all the sleeping bikers with a flashlight. On one occasion I woke up to see her standing on the couch next to where I was sleeping staring at me. Sitting bolt upright, I am proud of myself for mildly asking, “Are you lost, do you need help getting back to your dad?” She nodded mutely and I led her to the door leading to her apartment. To cap off this strange evening, I had a bizarre dream where I was a wolf howling at the moon with my pack. I woke up to hear myself howling wildly… then sheepishly looked around to see if I woke anyone up.
Morning arrived, at long last and yet too soon. We rushed to vacate the premises before the 6:00 girls gymnastics class showed up. After a bracing breakfast we started pedaling our final miles of Kansas. The day started cool and clear. But I was very lethargic. It was probably the lack of sleep, but the first 30 miles were a real chore. I tried one of Jerry’s “Apple bombs”… basically a mass produced cherry pastry that was about 600 calories of sugar. That didn’t really work.
I finally ground my way to lunch, and glory of glories! A gastropub! Elliot’s Gastropub of Tribune Kansas. An oasis of joy and happiness! A gem! Complete with bitter IPAs and a magnificent chopped salad. Yes, I think I’ll have another beer! Why not? Turns out that two hoppy IPAs make the perfect cycling fuel. I hit my afterburners and blasted my way forward. Churning miles like the hophead fool that I am. Not long after lunch I crossed into the mountain timezone and then, finally, into Colorado. Woohoo!
A massive storm was building in front of us, so we hightailed it the 15 miles to the church in Lake Sheridan where we’d be staying the night. I arrived about 45 minutes before the rain broke over us. For a good chunk of that time, I just sat and watched the coming violence approach, as each of the bikers in my crew arrived. Surprisingly, another six folks showed up coming from the West. Jess and Tuan joined us as well. So now we have 13 bikers in the church. I’m not handling all the people around very well. I’m an extreme extrovert, but after five weeks on the trail I’m having a hard time adjusting to so much chaos around me. Well, no big deal, I’ll just take it as it comes and enjoy what I can.