Corn n wheat
Day 38. Newton KS. | End: Lyons KS. | Mileage 2004.6
Now personally, I would not like to click the heels of my red shoes and return here. Dorothy… what were you thinking? Sitting inside the tent tonight, there is no distant sounds of trains, traffic or airplanes, just the sound of the wind rustling the leaves above and the rhythm of the chirping crickets. The occasional dogs barking and people yelling across the yard break this peace.
Waking up after a well-rested night, we rushed off to grab some continental breakfast. Stuffing our faces, the only way to justify spending money on a motel, we caught sight of our first cross-country cyclists. The pair appeared to be an older couple, pulling trailers instead of saddlebags and heading east into the morning sun. Excited that we will soon be meeting more, we once again packed and left another town, never to see again.
Heading due west now, we caught a strong crosswind. Our sweet southern wind was now against us, slowing our progress only by a few mph. At moments the wind seemed to shift southwest, aiding us down the road, this was the happy moments of my ride. I would learn that different positions would work for certain winds. Crouching forward worked for a headwind and sitting upright seemed to work for everything else. Drafting…. that’s another topic. We hustled down the pavement, using the moments of tailwind in our favor and trying to make it to our northern bend in the route just miles ahead. A heat advisory was out for today and most of the week for temps between 104 and 120. I can contest to that. Mile after mile, I can contest to the heat that seemed to scorch the land, turning the fields of wheat golden and the grasses brown.
As we took shelter by a post office in a small town, we cross paths with Johan and Philip, two cyclists from Sweden. Starting in California, they are heading east to Virginia. We had a good time chatting. Just the common human interaction feels good, often taken for granted. With their lives packed onto bikes, they seemed to connect with us on a level that no one else can, making the conversation in a way… more casual.
We made our northern bend and with the 29mph gusts, we averaged 25 all the way up. With the amount of bags and gear we have on our bikes, this is a great speed. I was loving it, fields and fields of corn, wheat and cattle kept my eyes busy. Whipping my camera out and snapping photos with one hand, putting it back and maintaining speed was good practice. Makes for some interesting frames. We made it into town and I could smell the food.
Again the phrase, it never hurts to ask, helped us find a place to camp tonight. After searching with our maps, GPS and phone, we could not find anything close to sleep tonight. As I was finishing a conversation with some locals that spotted us a couple towns back, they pointed me into the direction of free campground. With the worry of were to sleep now behind us, we followed our ears and ended up in front of another public pool. Now with a water slide, two diving boards and about a hundred people moving about, we knew what we wanted to do for the rest of the day. We scored a free admission and just relaxed. Now with a pool full of little kids… I would not like to imagine how many if them tinkled in there.