The cool of the day: Bazine, KS

Monday June 22, 2009, 53 miles (85 km) – Total so far: 2,030 miles (3,267 km)

We started a bit later than usual, at least lately, as we weren’t rolling good until almost 7:30.  Went back to downtown Larned to find an ATM; it looks better in the early morning light from the top of town than it did in late afternoon from the bottom of the town.

Larned courthouse in the early morning

and the rest of downtown Larned

Traffic seemed pretty heavy going west, and I was wondering, “Where exactly do all these people go to work?  It’s 30 miles to the next town!”  Well, the answer is two miles out of town, where there’s a state juvenile and mental detention facility.  If that’s your biggest employer, I guess you have to deal with it. There was a steady south to southwest wind, blowing about 12-15 mph, and we continued west for a while.  It was clear and reasonably cool, so we put in our first 10 miles; then things got fun.  We turned north, and had that wind push us the next 19 miles into Rush Center.  We felt like we were on top of the world; it pretty much looked like it, too.

top of the world, going to Rush Center

Not much in Rush Center, except they have the largest St. Patrick’s Day parade.  I asked one old fellow there how they can claim such a thing, and he explained it was an accident.  The barber got himself a sports car, and everybody in town asked what for? and then they decided to have a parade so he could show off his car.  It snowballed.  Now they have all kinds of antique and fancy cars showing up, and it takes two and a half hours for everybody to drive their car through the 200 yards of the small town where 176 people live.

Reloaded with water, we headed west.  The wind had shifted while we chatted, ate cookies, and drank coffee, so now it was coming straight at us.  Virginia and I traded pulls through Nekoma, which has a grain elevator, supposedly a post office, and nothing else, and Alexander, which is very slightly bigger.  It has a railroad crossing, houses and a rest area.  We reached the end of an Adventure Cycling map here; it must have been bigger when AC laid things out.  No stores or post office here any more.

More water taken on board, we pushed on, into the wind, and came upon these strange, stone fence posts.  Since the early settlers didn’t have any wood to make fence posts, and epoxy coated steel posts were not widely available, they quarried limestone into these squarish posts.  Imagine digging post holes and then wrestling these behemoths into them, and repeating that for a mile, and then repeating that four times to enclose your land!

Limestone fenceposts

Stopped for lunch in Bazine, then came to Elaine’s Bicycle Oasis B&B.  In this tiny town in western Kansas, this really is an oasis.  There’s trees for shade out back, but we’re happy to be inside.  By virtue of getting indoors by about 1:00, we missed the worst heat of the day (it’s supposed to hit 100 degrees), and that makes a big difference to comfort and well-being.

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