Wednesday June 24, 2009, 48 miles (77 km) – Total so far: 2,146 miles (3,454 km)
We got a lousy night’s rest last night at the Athletic Club biker’s hostel in Scott City. I’d recommend anyone considering the place demand a demonstration of a functional air conditioner in the lounge you’re supposed to stay in. You can sleep with untreated air from the barn of a raquetball court right next to you blown on you all night for the fee, or camp in the city park for free. We finally moved our cots into the lobby, which was a little cooler.
Got a good breakfast at the restaurant around the corner, by which I mean I actually left a bit because I couldn’t eat it all, and headed out. It was crisp, clear, cool, and wind-less to start with. As we left town, there was sort of a convoy of trucks pulling huge, aerodynamically shaped things. I figured out later these were wind turbine blades, so long they were shipped on two or three trucks per blade. Wish I could have taken a picture of one, but they were rolling the other way from us. There were a load of cattle feed lots right outside town, one of which had considerately (?) placed its waste ponds right next to the highway. At least they were mostly empty!
Rolled on through Modoc (AKA grain elevator) and Marienthal (ditto) before making Leoti. I made a bonehead mistake here, filling our bottles with what turned out to be carbonated water from the soda fountain. Not much moisture in there, just ice and fizz!
Just past Leoti was what looked like an oil refinery on a small scale. I’d love to know what this really is.
There was also a wind farm, with at least four rows of wind turbines. They were too far away from the road for me to get a good picture, alas.Virginia asked the question that saved the day (at least water-wise). How does a grain elevator work? Don’t ask me, I’m from the southeast! When we hit Selkirk (AKA stand-alone grain elevator #3 and #4 for the day), we turned in and asked. Fortunately, the guy we asked had some free time, as there was another guy working up at the top of the elevator above where he needed to be, so he couldn’t stand underneath him for safety reasons. He gave us the quick, seeds to flour, explanation of growing, processing, and storing wheat, then sent us to the office. A truck came in while we were there, so we watched the wheat get sampled, weighed, tested, and unloaded 60,000 pounds. Then, when we looked across the road, there was a combine actually in the process of harvesting wheat! We hadn’t seen that until just now, but it was one pretty impressive process. The combine didn’t even slow down as it off-loaded it’s cargo.
Shortly after, we crossed into Greely County and ended up in Tribune. 20 miles or so from Colorado, but the last county at the west of Kansas is on Mountain Time. It was about 95° when we got here, but the wind kept us cool until the last 10 miles or so.