Scrapped limbs and new friends.
Day 41. Phillipsburg KS. | End: Oberlin KS. | Mileage 2223.9
A day of hardship. What we thought we knew about Kansas, we were mistaken. The distant border seemed impossible and cruel.
Waking up on time and primed for a great day, I rolled out of the tent around 5:30am. The sun just barely peeking over the hill and all our neighbors gone, we packed in silence. We would later meet them on the road, being that all of them ran the road construction ahead. An early start, a good stop for breakfast and fully fueled we set off for a big day.
The difference of wind direction almost threw us off from the beginning. The wind decided to blow in from the north with sustained gusts of over twenty mph. Lucky for us, we planned on heading west instead of north. Either way, we knew we faced a hard day of cross winds and terrain. Following the new route we thought would be the most efficient, I threw on the iPod and I pedaled. As the gap between towns became longer, our bikes grew heavy with the extra supplies, packing as much water as we can hold. After our experience on the Appalachian Trail a few years back, if we think we might need more water, we better pack three times that.
We stopped at grain elevators and even towns that seemed abandoned. The single shops that seemed to just hang on, sustained off the money wanderers like us would bring. A soda machine out front broken, looking like someone put a 20-gauge shell through it, angry the price was cheaper than what they paid inside.
The landscape seemed desolate, ocean like and never-ending. Hills of corn flowing in the wind roll in set-by-set while the sparrows play in the sky. We hit miles of flat land that pulls the road into the horizon and sets of hills that would rise into the sky.
We got in a wreck.
Now it is ironic how this happened on an open road miles between towns with zero traffic. Nothing but fields on the right and the left, not even a fence, yet I hit something or shall I say someone. As I am taking photos, always hanging back and behind Dirk, I go to put the camera away. Keep in mind I am still pedaling while this is happening. Out of nowhere I collide into Dirk, putting me over the handlebars and him on the ground. Out of all places to stop, he stopped on the road. Pissed, we both check over the gear and patched things up in silence. Out in the middle of nowhere…
We jumped back on the ponies and pulled the last stretch into town. Almost thirty miles later and many hills climbed, we made it to our destination. We looked at each other, eyes big, and combed the land for anything that relates to food. We found the nearest watering hole and relaxed. Later after weighing out the options, a motel was the choice. An old run down establishment with an empty pool and missing microwaves is were we meet Bill and Donna. Bill and I got to talk while I hung some clothes out on the bike to dry. A character of a man, whom always had a good joke and wise thoughts Donna, a true nurturing mother, invited us out to eat. We had a blast with good food, great stories and tons of laughter. My belly was full and we made new friends, I couldn’t ask for more. It is amazing to see there are still nice people out there. Though, without putting yourself in a position to meet them, this world would seem lonely and distant. One thing I have learned from my travel is the people you meet make the trip. Talk, have a conversation. At the end of the day, if all you get out of it is words… then it is fine. But don’t pass up a chance to make a new friend.