Monday, 4 July 2011

Day 31: Flat out in to Kansas

Day 31
Everton, MO to Girard, KS 79miles

Set off early from the hunting lodge, with the aim of making it to Kansas by the end of the day.
On the road by 6.30, and the morning sun was being obscured a bit by some light cloud, which was rather pleasant!

The roads were pretty flat, bar the odd small up and down, and also noticeably straighter. As I'm now hitting the large farming areas, most of the roads are organised on a grid system, with roads running north-south and east-west that intersect about every mile or so. Some of the roads are little more than gravel tracks, but the good thing is that its pretty easy to find where Im going. Even if you were to miss a turning, you can just carry along and take then next one a mile later! It also means my GPS routes will start to look a bit like they were drawn with an etch-a-sketch!

The flat roads also mean faster speeds, and I was able to keep above 14mph a lot of the time. And indeed, in 2 hours I'd covered the 28miles to Golden City where I stopped for breakfast. Stopped at Cooky's cafe. A famous spot on the TransAm, with a reputation for making great pies. However for me it was a bit early for that, so settled for sausage, eggs and hashbrowns!

Afterwards I had around a 30mile ride down a road that, to all intents and purposes, was dead straight and would take me into Kansas.

As I approached the state line, I noticed a fluorescent yellow figure up ahead of me. And then I realised, I was actually going to overtake someone on the route! As I got closer I put in the effort to catch up with the person ahead.

Soon enough I has having a nice ride/chat with Bob. Bob was a 51 year old who has rented his house out for a year and set off on his bike. Starting in Cincinnati, he's off to Oregon, then down the Pacific coast before flying back east and doing some more riding!

We soon crossed into Kansas, and it was good to have someone take a photo of me under the sign!
5th state out of 10 - slowly getting there!

After stopping for a quick drink, we set off to find the city park where there was apparently a pool and Bob was planning to camp. My plan was to get off the road for a few hours and then do a second stint in the evening when it was cooler.

We arrived at the pool just as the manager was arriving. It didnt open till 1pm (about another 40mins) but he told us to come back later and we could put our bikes inside and also swim for free!

Went for some lunch at an all-you-can-eat asian buffet. I think I got my money's worth without being greedy. I dont think the same could be said for the couple sat near us. I reckon between them they probably weighed around half a ton!

Headed back to the pool, and what a pool it was! There were slides, diving boards and even a lazy river- where you float round on a rubber ring!
This cycling lark is pretty tough

We spent the afternoon there cooling off and chatting.

At about 5 I started packing up to get ready to head off. There was a bit of cloud coming over so I thought it would be good riding conditions. There was a church on the maps which let cyclists stay, although I hadnt been able to get hold of them in the afternoon (probably busy for the holiday weekend). But failing that I would go a few miles down the road to a city park to camp.

At least that was the plan...

Soon after leaving it got dark. Very dark. I had to put my lights on and it wasnt even 6pm yet!

The wind really started gettting up, seemingly coming from the NE. As my route involved travelling either north or west, it helped a bit on the westbound stretches but was horrible as I was going north. Although my slow progress did allow me the view of quite a lot of lightenng bolts up ahead!

Made it around 15miles to Girard, where I picked up a puncture. Stopped under an awning in the town square to assess the damage when the heavens opened. Proper biblical style rain. I was pretty scared, as the rain was coming down, the wind was blowing and thunder and lightening were going off all the time. When it died down a little, I made it to the local fire station. They showed me the weather forecast which wasnt good. So decided to camp in the city park in Girard. When the rain eased up a little I made my way there and decided to pitch my tent under a wooden shelter to try and shield me from the worse of the rain. Was quite a scary night. When I was in my tent it wasnt easy to distinguish between flashes in the sky caused by fireworks and those by lightening!
My home for the night!

So a tough end to what had been a great day. Definitely a lot, lot, flatter so hopefully get some good miles in. The heat will still be an issue though.

No comments:

Post a Comment