Wednesday June 17, 2009, 59 miles (95 km) – Total so far: 1,733 miles (2,789 km)
Wow, it’s really nice to type “KS.”
Virginia tells me a thunderstorm came through early last night. Note she had to tell me, as I certainly didn’t know about it. There was a lot of water standing in the fields and running in the ditches and streams, and it looked like some farmers would have liked to have crops in their fields. Weather radar looked like there was a storm in our path, but we travel slowly enough it dissipated before we got there.
We started early, 7:11 to be precise. Traffic was light for the first half hour, until commuter traffic picked up for a while, but they were coming in to town while we were leaving. Who would have thought Kansas looked like this?
There was a leg when we turned north, and fairly flew with the tailwind. We stopped in Girard and picked up some mail that had been forwarded from Houston, MO. It’s sometimes difficult to project where you’ll be some time from now, when you don’t know how fast the post office will deliver, and you don’t know how far you’ll go each day between now and then.
20 miles separated us from Walnut, and there was another fun run out of Girard before we turned west. The storm we were supposed to pass through still left an overcast, for which we were grateful. It blew out, though, and things started to warm up. Found a cornfield on a ridge. Now, you may have seen a cornfield before, but this was worth stopping to take a picture of, after getting to the top of the ridge. Notice there’s no more hills in the background?
We had an early lunch at Walnut, then went in search of the library. It’s in the same building as the city hall, but it’s only open 5:00-7:30 in the evening, so I had to wait to post yesterday’s entry. The road went straight west. Everywhere else I’ve been they would have called this flat, but here they’re called the Black Flint Hills, and the locals tell you how many hills you have to go over to get to the next U.S. highway.
Just a note on distance and speed: we’re limited at this time by how hot we are, how much water we have in us, and of course, salt. Both of us feel like we could ride farther in a day, except we’ve been sweating and getting hot on the road. When we stop for a break, we look for a tree. Stop pedaling, get out of the sun, and we’ll cool down pretty fast. When we don’t think we can get to the next stopping place, 12-35 miles down the road, we stop, cool down, reload, and wait for tomorrow.
In the meantime, we’re looking for something different to drink. Gatorade, too much acid. Orange juice, V8, we’ve had those. Water, water, drink it everywhere. Fizzy stuff is hard to drink fast enough. Some of that ground-up green stuff looked good, until I drank it. Alas.
Some of the farmers here aren’t making a go of it:
Had a flashback a few miles out of Chanute. Let’s see, there’s a historical marker, in a state that starts with “K,” where the historical event didn’t really happen, but there’s a golf course right behind it. Is this Kansas or Kentucky?
Five miles later on, made a right hand turn, and took off with the wind into Chanute. We had planned to spend the night in the city park, camping, but there’s an air conditioned motel on the way into town that called us. So we’re kicking back, relaxing, drinking water, doing laundry, and oh yes, posting updates to the journal. Despite the clear sky, we’re watching tornado warning and flood warning messages on the motel’s TV. Go figure!