I had to wait til Colorado to write this post, just so I could use that Wizard of Oz line. Too funny right? Anyway, we crossed the border to Colorado (and mountain time) yesterday, and I crossed the 2000 mile mark for the trip from Philly.
Last night, we stayed at Sheridan Lake Bible Church in Sheridan Lake, CO (which is still hosting cyclists, just walk right in). They had AC, a great kitchen, and a comfy floor to sleep on. Be night before, we slept on the floor at a gymnastics gym in Scott City, KS. We’re always happy when we find cheap or free accommodations that don’t involve camping. I’m starting to get into the sink laundry routine, alternating my two pairs of bib shorts between drying on the bike or being worn.
Today we got a late start and only rode 27 miles to the $40 (tax included) Traveller’s Inn motel in Eads, CO (we had originally planned about 88 miles to Ordway, CO). There really isn’t much civilization between the two towns, and some locals had warned us of impending bad weather. On top of that, we knew that a group of about 6 other TransAm cyclists would be in Eads tonight, so we decided to join the party. We ate some dinner, bought some groceries, and then the skies opened up with rain, hail, and lightening. Right now, we feel good about the decision, but it also means we have to knock out a 110 mile day tomorrow to make it to Pueblo (and be on track to meet friends in Denver this Friday). I guess we’ll actually have to start riding before 11 am for once.
Now let’s rewind a bit for the Kansas recap. It took us 8 days to cover the 500 or so miles from Pittsburg, KS to Sheridan Lake, CO. And it was a blast. The people here really are generally the nicest along the trail. Most of the riders who make it this far (from either direction) have some pretty good stories to tell, too. Aside from a rogue hail or rain storm, I think we picked a great time of year for the weather (it’s generally been in the 80s and dry). We’ve even had about 50% tailwinds! On top of all of that, the wheat harvest is supposed to start in less than two weeks, which means lots of truck traffic (which we got to do without). And the last cool thing about Kansas – we had a support group for 3 days! Meredith’s mom and two of her friends joined up with us in Chanute, Kansas, and took turns biking and/or driving the “shag” wagon all the way to Sterling, KS. Check Meredith’s blog for their guest post. It was nice to have their company, and to ride unloaded for a few days.
Other highlight’s of Kansas include the Quivira wildlife refuge, and some new joke facial hair. We saw a sign for some audio tours of Quivira and other notable parts of Kansas, but stopped listening after hearing the hosts say, “Most people think of Kansas as flat, but that’s not true,” like eight times. Because honestly, after all of the other parts of America I’ve seen, I can confidently say that Kansas really is quite flat.