Though our first couple of days in Kansas has been a bit hilly, again nothing in comparison to before, the past days have been flat. Flat flat flat. With nothing, but fields. There hasn’t been any road kill either except for one 5 feet stretch that had about 4 dead raccoons. Which, has been nice since it smells awful, but I guess it’s made up with the cow trucks.
Day 39- July 9th
We left Newton for Sterling, originally 58 miles, but ran into a few….detours? I didn’t see a couple of signs and went straight instead of turning so we had to back track. This made the day 61 miles. The first time, Dad left his glasses at a store in Hesston so back tracking was ok. The second time, we saw another biker right before the turn and I got all confused. The route was pretty straight except for those few turns and we had a bit of a tail wind, mainly cross winds.
We also saw two bikers, supported, in Nickerson who confirmed what the map said- the next 58 miles had no service.
As mentioned, we stopped in Hesston (12 miles) for chocolate milk and an orange then again in Buhler (another 20 miles) for a cold lemonade. We had to bike about a half mile off route for the town. We sat outside the store, relaxing, and many locals approached us to talk about our trip and wish us good luck. In Nickerson, we stopped at the high school and ate lunch and refilled our bottles in the gym. A volleyball camp was going on and all the girls looked when Dad walked in.
Sterling is about 10 miles from Nickerson, 8 miles on route, 2 miles off. We decided to go a little longer to ease the no service length the next day. The last 4 miles into Sterling was beautiful as we had full tail winds. We did have to cross a flooded road causing our shoes to get soaked. It felt nice as we were hot.
We camped at Sterling Lake Park, which had a lake and a pool. After reading the directions for camping (no fee), we went over to the pool for a swim then a shower. It felt nice to swim since it was hot. We later picked up some food from the grocery store then settled for the night.
Day 40- July 10th
Dad was paranoid the whole night of rain since our tent isnt very good….luckily it didnt, we just had the train driving by. We woke to find other transam bikers, supported. Since we had a long day (literally the whole day of fields) with no towns, we opted for a big breakfast. We went to main street and looked for the most cars. Sure enough, the most cars were in front of a café.
The waitress was super friendly and the breakfast was really good. We were told by the locals that the water had not died down and we prepared ourselves for wet shoes. One man offered to drive us across in his truck, but the hassle of putting our bikes in the bed was not worth it.
The flood actually decreased, but my shoe still got a little wet as we went through. The rest of the day was smooth sailing.
We stopped in some shade for an orange around 30 miles in then again after 40 miles as it was getting hot and more windy. Unfortunately, the second stop had no shade, but the homeowner of the fence we stopped at let us use the water spicket.
The remaining 10 miles was rough as we just wanted to get to Larned (still not sure how to pronouce it). We were hot and tired and wanted something cold to drink. The wind also picked up- around 20 miles an hour. It’s suppose to continue in the 20s for the next few days. We found a Taco Bell for food and drinks then meandered over to the Country Inn across the street.
A locally owned motel that gives you an ice bucket, but doesn’t give ice….
Day 41- July 11
We heated up some instant oatmeal then started our day. Larned has history with the Santa Fe trail- trade route in the 1800s before the railroads. Unfortunately, the museum was closed, but 6 miles outside of town is the fort that protected the people, civilians and tradesmen, from Indian attacks. We stopped there and was able to walk the grounds then inside the buildings when they opened (8.30). It was really cool.
In the 1900s, the fort was turned into a ranch by a politician who hosted a lot of campaign parties. He allowed his guests to write on the walls, which are still seen. The newest inscription is from the late 1950s as the National Park service took over. However, a ranger told us that there are 8 soldier inscriptions from the late 1800s.
We left around 9.45 and continued on to Rush Center. We had 5 more miles on the one highway then a turn for 19 more miles. This turn gave us full tail winds. Making us do the 19 in about an hour. I had it on the biggest gear and was pedaling up hill with no problem. At times we were going 25 mph.
We stopped at the restaurant, Greg’s, for lunch then continued on to Ness City, pretty much into a head wind. At Alexander there is a rest stop so we camped there for half an hour. We gathered strength for the winds and continued on making it to Ness City after about 60 miles.
We decided to stay in the city park. We took showers at the pool and we’re joined by four other cyclists going East. We also spoke to a man who used to lead bike tours across the United States.
It was super hot! And humid! We went to the Cactus Club for dinner and then we went there for breakfast the next day. But anyways, when the sun went down, the mosquitos came out. No amount of bug spray would stop them. All 6 of us jumped into our tents and didn’t move. Three of the other bikers, women, had this weird stalker story in Leoti, our next town. Some guy on a bike and a guy in a truck. They had to call the sheriff.
Day 42- July 12
We woke up early and headed to the restaurant for breakfast then continued on the road. The original plan was to do 50 miles to Scott City, but we had really good tail winds.
Dad and I had a bit of an accident. I stopped to take a picture, but didn’t move over and Dad didn’t see me and ran into me. Luckily the bikes were OK and Dad just sustained a bruise on his knee.
We saw lots of East bound riders. None of us stopped to talk as we had good tail winds and they were pushing through the head winds. We must be reaching the beginning of the East bound bubble. In Dighton, we got some juice and split an orange. During our break we also met one biker going East on his break and he told us of people that have passed us. Also, a local man talked to us for a couple of minutes and in the end, he gave us a 20 dollar bill. We plan on paying it further.
We met a group of people who are going West at Dighton. They planned on going about 150 miles. We headed to Scott City and ate lunch with the group. They were make shift of different people. A father daughter team on tandem and 4 single riders. They were part supported as the father’s wife was driving their things for a bit before she leaves for home.
After lunch we continued on and reached Leoti, 81 miles. The heat picked up and the wind was shifting. We decided to stay at the Hi-Plains Motel and the group went on.
We made dinner and fell asleep at 7.30pm. We were super tired.
(Photos seem to have gotten shuffled around for this day 😕)
Update: A day or two after leaving Carbondale (see previous post), I was able to take off the wrist braces and have no pain. :)