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“Wheat Harvest Coming; Maybe This Weekend” -Ness County Newspaper

June 22, 2010

Well, we’re still here in Kansas…and yes, it is still hot, and still windy and you still can’t buy beer on Sundays.  But even in a state as flat as this, and on a road as straight as highway 96 (which we are riding on for approximately 300 miles) we are constantly amazed about how many new experiences we’ve been able to have each day!

On Sunday we left Nickerson very early in the morning and made it to Larned, KS by 1:15 PM.  After checking in at the police station and pitching our tent adjacent to a strange and tiny, fenced-in goose pond, we headed over to Larned’s huge and amazing public pool, complete with a water basketball court and a several-stories-high spiraling water slide.   It would be so easy to capitalize on our desperation – a cool body of water to plunge into after hours of riding in 100 degree weather – but somehow we’ve been allowed to swim and shower at almost every public pool for free. After splish-splashing around and calling our dads to wish them a happy father’s day, we were ready for an early dinner.  Bruce (please see Who’s Who post), who had watched us cook up a gourmet veggie stir-fry the previous night, offered to pitch in for our groceries in order to partake in our dinnertime feast. A delicious spinach, salmon, white bean, cucumber, avocado and parmesan salad was had by all – or at least us four.

During dinner, a new addition to our bike gang pulled up to the park pavillion.  Isaac, who just graduated high school in Columbia, MO, had ridden over 100 miles that day in the  punishing Kansas heat wearing his green Vans hightops. The last few miles were “no fun”, he said…

Up again at 5:30am on Monday to put some miles behind us before the heat became unbearable.  The ride from Larned to Ness City, KS was pleasant – triumphant even – and again we arrived in the very early afternoon.  More importantly, there was ANOTHER public pool that we could swim in for free!  This one also had waterslides which were smaller but decidedly more violent than the previous pool’s slides.  Please note: the amount of time I have devoted to talking about pools and water slides here is no mistake.  Pools and water slides are our lifeblood in Kansas.  That, and ice cold Gatorade, which we have all developed a nasty habit for these days.

Today’s ride  from Ness City to Scott City, KS was on the shorter side but was extremely hot and windy.  Luckily, it is also wheat harvesting time, and every few minutes a convoy of flatbed trucks carrying all manner of gargantuan  insect-like farming equipment  (this is ‘oversized load’ country) would speed past us, nearly knocking us off the road.  “Run, wheat!” Janelle yelled to the fields, “They’re coming for you!”  Just moments after we had perfected our drafting technique, we heard the high pitched ‘WOOP’ of a police siren. We were being pulled over by the Sheriff of Dighton, a small farming town we had just passed through, who had received complaints about how much space we were taking up on the road: exactly half of one lane.  I won’t elaborate too much on why this was infinitely maddening; suffice it to say that the Sheriff told us “sucks for you” in exactly those words.  In spite of our anger, we rode single file the rest of the way to Scott City.

When we arrived we were, you guessed it: hot and exhausted.  The forecast said thunderstorms and, unwilling to endure the heat of our tent’s rainfly, we headed to the chamber of commerce to get some help finding an open motel room.  No such luck.  Just when we thought we were out of options, a woman who happened to be taking photos for the local newspaper, generously volunteered to let us stay with her and her fiancee for the night.  Minutes later, we were being shown around a lovely house, being offered free reign of the computer, the TV and the Wii, and being asked what kind of pizza we’d like to have for dinner.  After two weeks in a tent, staying in someone’s real-life home is incomparably cozy and wonderful.

Kansas still has one more day to make its final impression, but as far as I’m concerned, Kathy and Rod have tipped the scales irreversibly in its favor. We owe them big time and have promised to shower them (via airmail) with gifts from the rest of our travels!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer Jackson permalink
    June 23, 2010 3:22 pm

    you guys must be in amazing shape!

  2. Molly permalink
    June 23, 2010 5:25 pm

    I’m starting to notice the biker’s tan lines ….the equivalent of the farmer’s tan!! Love your posts! Stay safe!!

  3. Big Sis Ali permalink
    June 23, 2010 10:05 pm

    This post gave us many chuckles — especially the cop part. I feel your love for water slides. Having stopped at the Great Escape Lodge Indoor Water Park on our way to mom and dad’s place, Jeff and I took turns with the kids so we could partake. I had forgotten how strangely exhilarating they can be. And we may have scarred Mira for life by taking her on a big kid water slide — the only thing she could say for the hour after we went down was “it was dark… it was dark…” Yowzas!
    Sounds like you are having an amazing time and love reading all about it.

  4. biker pat permalink
    June 24, 2010 10:18 pm

    Phil’s GMA quote of the day:

    “Riding or helping, the endless road evokes thoughts of hope”

  5. Joey's mommo permalink
    June 26, 2010 5:39 pm

    Yea, I’m digging those tan lines on Janelle and Jenny’s thighs. Joey?

  6. Stephen permalink
    June 27, 2010 6:46 pm

    is that an american flag under your feet, jenny?

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