Archive for the ‘Kansas’ Category

Day 27, Into Kansas

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

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Before we got started for the day we went back by the steak house for a hearty breakfast. While there we met another transamer who had started from Oregon. It turned out his name was also Mike, is from Brooklyn, is a software engineer like me, and has a Long Haul Trucker bike like Sarah. Since we were all going the same way we decided to ride together for the day.

Our destination was undecided, it would either be Leoti 82 miles away, or Scott City about 105 miles away. Not far into our ride out of Eads, we crossed the border into Kansas. About an hour later we crossed into the central time zone, denoted by a small blue sign. Sarah also made her first road rescue by moving a small box turtle out of the road.

In the end we all decided to end the day in Leoti. The other Mike has been doing mostly rough and stealth camping, so we tagged along and ended up camping in the city park. First we grabbed a decent Mexican dinner, and picked up a 6 pack of beer to split in the park. The park turned out to be a decent campsite despite some brief horseplay by some teenagers before we called it a night.

In honor of our entry into Kansas watch this video if you feel inclined:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB17uWuBrL0&feature=youtube_gdata

Day 28, Waiting for the wind

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

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Today we were headed to Bazine 92 miles away. The other Mike would be riding with us to Scott City where he was planning to detour South and stay with a friend.

From earlier conversations with other transamers who were traveling East to West, we knew Kansas was not going to be a cake walk due to it’s flat terrain. The winds have a well deserved reputation, usually coming from the South. So far although present they have not been overwhelming. Usually they are at their worst later in the afternoon. Earlier in our ride today we passed a wind farm which was fairly inactive due to the mild winds. Sometime during our ride Sarah picked up a praying mantis hitchhiker. The insect density has definitely spiked while we’ve been in Kansas.

We finally reached our destination in Bazine around 7:00, Elaine’s B&B Bicycle Oasis. Elaine and her husband Dan have a farm house, and host cyclists to either camp & shower for $10, or to stay in a room and be fed for $75. We opted for camping. They were not home when we arrived but left us a note so that we could situate ourselves.

Day 29, Blown away

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

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When we woke up in Bazine we got to meet our hosts Elaine & Dan. They were really nice and treated us to some breakfast. Due to our nice visit with Elaine & Dan, and some flat tire trouble we ended up not really getting going until well after 10. We figure we’d probably make it a short day and ride a little over 50 miles to Larned. The wind was kicking up extra strong as well, futher encouragment for us to keep our goal modest.

About 15 miles into our ride we crossed paths with another set of transamers heading West. We exchanged experiences and information for a few minutes then continued our ride. Hopefully they don’t hit much bad weather going through the Rockies as the window for making a temperate crossing is starting to close.

About halfway through our days ride our route called for us to switch roads and head directly South for about 20 miles. The next 20 miles were a battle, heading directly into the 25-30 mph winds coming from the South. Our short modest ride suddenly became a struggle.

Of course we eventually made it to Larned and were greeted to the ever present odor of cow manure. By the time we made it out too dinner around 8:30, we were too late to eat at the nearby Mexican resturaunt and had to settle for Wendy’s. Next time we won’t waste time before securing our dinner.

Day 30, No beer in Buhler?

Monday, September 21st, 2009

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There is nothing quite like riding a bicycle behind a manure truck in the morning. We started the day in Larned KS. We took full advantage of the free continental breakfast at the motel before getting on our way. Our goal destination was Buhler KS, some 80 miles away. Because of some unfavorable weather forcasts, we also had some back up plans. Our back up plans usually range from stopping early and getting a motel to huddling under some trees and hoping the storm passes, and today was no different.

As we began our ride, we were favored by a strong cross wind coming from the north (at least it wasn’t a head wind) and a parade of manure trucks speeding past. We have gotten used to a certain amount of agricultral aroma, but racing a steady stream of dump trucks carrying dung was a whole new experience. We did eventually get away from the dung trucks, and then it seemed that the storm clouds were closing in, luckily we managed to avoid any serious rain.

About halfway to our lunch stop in Nickerson, we ran into another transamer, headed west. We exchanged some information about the terrain to come and then continued on our way. Every time we think that we must have seen the last cyclist headed west, another shows up. The window for crossing the Rockies is quickly closing, and a lot of those roads close in October.

A quick side note about Nickerson, you are not allowed to bring your hand gun into the library, as is clearly shown on the sign at the door.

As we were leaving Nickerson to finish the last 20 or so miles to Buhler, we came across the strangest scene of domesticated animals yet. Now we have seen tiny ponies, llamas, horses, cows, donkeys, and even an emu in someone’s suburban yard, but these people had 5 camels and a tiny donkey. We stopped to take a picture, of course. Shortly thereafter, we reached 2000 miles! We are officially more than halfway home. This is a bitter sweet thought because I am having an awesome time, but I do miss home.

Around 4:30 pm, we arrived in Buhler, after scoping out their huge and lovely town park, complete with bathrooms and electricity, we decided that this would be our campsite. We checked in at the city office (so the police would know we were in the park – safety first) and then got dinner at the local diner. Tonight is an early night so that we can get an early start on the 100+ miles that we plan for tomorrow. By the way, they do not sell alcohol of any kind anywhere in Buhler.

– Sarah

Day 31, Buhler to Eureka

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

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This morning as we broke camp in the Buhler town park, we were greeted by the sound of the high school marching band practicing, they weren’t bad. We wanted to get an early start because we were trying to get to Eureka, 107 miles away.

It was pretty overcast as we pedaled our way to Newton by late morning. On our way to Newton, we thought we might have to make a creative creek crossing as we were faced with a sign informing us the bridge ahead was out. Luckily our route turned just before the bridge crossing.

After picking up an early lunch in Newton we thought we had finally spotted an elusive Dairy Queen. We were foiled from getting our dessert by faulty equipment. Between Newton and Eureka we passed through Cassoday, the Prarie Chicken capital of the world. Unfortunately we didn’t spot any.

We arrived in Eureka exhausted around 6, and decided to get a hotel and dinner at a nearby Mexican resturaunt. Luckily for Sarah they had a $1 special on small Margaritas.


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