Day 36. | Perry OK. | End: Wellington KS. | Mileage 1884.3
Sitting, laying, finding a comfortable position on the floor next to the power outlet is a hard ordeal. Hands getting numb from the lack of blood flow, gripping the phone for two consecutive hours.
Waking up at 6:30am, I just rolled back over and shut my eyes again. The morning came too early and I could use another twelve hours. The smell of coffee made me leap from the floor to fold the blankets and make my way into the kitchen though. Debbie was talking to Dirk and was about to whip up some breakfast. I can never say no to food… it is my weakness. As we all ate around the table, the conversation was great. Jim is a funny man and Debbie can crack some jokes as well. “Remember, he is the one with the girlfriend,” as she points toward me. After the best breakfast I have had in quite some time, we proceeded to pack and prepare for the miles ahead. Jim helped me repair my camera bag rack and helped Dirk with his flat. Finding it funny to show us the scorpions he caught in a trap day prior, I was glad we slept inside last night. After a few photos, hugs and goodbyes, we set off again. Only 12 miles up the road lay Jim’s farm, so we raced him there. With the head start we gained ground fast, averaging 21mph and hitting 31-33 at some points. We were booking it. The south winds again took us under its wing and let us fly with these 50-pound bikes. With only 2 more miles to go, Jim passed us with a smile and honked on the horn while he stepped on the gas.
We hung out with him some more at his farm, one of which was pretty relaxing. I had some Gatorade and enjoyed the conversation. With our last goodbyes we jumped back on the ponies, looking back to see him waving us on. Thank you Jim and Debbie. So kind, so much fun.
The sun was not going to let us forget about the heat though. As soon as we hit that pocket of air, matching the wind speed again, the sun was right in my face. As we did our usual town hoping, we entered the town of Blackwell. Following highway 177 now, we discovered the next 10-mile stretch of road was closed. Vehicles were detoured to the interstate. Reluctant to find an alternative route, we took our chances and kept on pedaling. We rolled into the small town of Braman, just north of Blackwell and the last town before Kansas. Rounding a corner, a sign caught our eyes. Swimming pool two blocks east the sign said. We were on it, no hesitation! As we pulled up drenched in sweat, the manager just so happened to greet us at the gate and allowed us to swim for free. On such a hot day… the last thing I would’ve expected was to be relaxing in a huge pool.
Time flew, my hands were wrinkly and we needed to make some miles. We mounted the ponies again and headed north. Remember that road detour? Well we discovered its meaning. The bridge was under construction ahead, but still we pressed on. Entering the construction zone with only a hope we could cross, we confronted whom we thought was in charge. The tall man, dirty from head to toe gave us a nod and said we could just walk the bikes across just as long as we do not say he allowed it. Haha.
As the Oklahoma land faded and the wheat fields of Kansas grew, my legs and body was screaming. If we stop, the sun gets us. Yet if we press on, I swear my legs were going to pop off.
As the hour comes to an end, tomorrow is already upon me. Tired and in need of a cold coke, I think I will go pursue one before calling it a night.