Friday, October 4, 2013
within a few minutes of starting to pack up this morning, we were blasted by a strong NW wind that lasted throughout the entire
day. guess what direction we were headed? yep. EAST!!! it's tailwinds time. flew out of Colorado and across the Kansas border by late morning.
scenery didn't change all that much between the border, but no complaints there, the plains have provided a beautiful ride.
what I learned about Kansas today: if ever in doubt as to where the next town is, look for one of these
fellas (pictured above) along the horizon. they're ubiquitous among the towns (no matter what the population) and are usually visible from 16-20 miles away.
enjoyed an easy cruise all the way to Scott City tonight, complete with another spectacular sunset. great name for a city too.
until next time, may the road rise up to meet you
the Great Plains
Saturday, October 5, 2013
there's something unique about riding the winds of the Great Plains in the fall.
a quiet beauty to the patchwork of golds & greens along either side of the road. an enormous silence at times broken only by
the wind humming through the power lines overhead, or the dull chop-chop-chop of a tractor engine in the distance.
even with the winds pushing you along at 20-24mph down smooth, straight roads, the scope of the landscape slows down time. fields of wheat, corn & wild
grasses stretch for miles, broken only by a few county roads, dirt two-tracks that score the land in a perfectly square checkerboard pattern.
I'd much rather ride through Kansas than drive through Kansas. the state begs to be experienced with all five senses. the myriad of smells (good & bad)
changing with each land parsel passed. the strong push of the winds (hopefully at your back) in rhythm with the wave of the grasses and high stalks of
crops. the sounds of silence. the taste of the air, cooled by the winds and fall weather, the pale yellow sun too weak to raise the temperatures above
the 40s - perfect for cycling. and the sight of it all, experienced at the pace & scale of an individual (before the automobile), the very pace, in fact,
at which Kansas was developed.
ultimately, I've found this is a state where you find yourself reflecting on the breadth of God's creation, and how your own life and desires fit into
His will for us here on earth.
until next time, may the wind be always at your back
Sunday, October 6, 2013
bit of a later start this morning out of Nickerson, but with the winds at our back and the sun shining, it was nothing but smiles
as we continued east. especially since we were able to reconnect with Mathias last night, and will hopefully be able to roll with him for a bit before he
splits south for Florida.
Kansas is starting to look a lot less like "Kansas" and a few times even felt just like home, riding through scattered hardwoods, over meandering rivers
and even through the beginnings of a few suburbs spreading out from their respective town centers.
made good time to Newton, and decided to stop for lunch and check out the local bike shop. glad we did, the shop was incredible, by far the coolest stop
along the transamerica trail we've seem so far.
Newton Bike Shop had everything a tourer could need - a free place to stay/sleep, do laundry, eat (complete kitchen with free coffee), clean/repair a bike,
not to mention a rocking bike shop that sold some pretty sweet refurbished bikes. check out this video to see what I mean (http://vimeo.com/m/70983590).
highly recommend it, all you future tourers, you even have reserved parking when you roll in there.
Newton turned into a longer stopover than anticipated, but made some key bike adjustments and
figured it was simply God's way of slowing us down after a long ride the day before. rode another 40 to Cassody and enjoyed another 360 sunset - the sky turning
a pink/purple/blue all along the horizon.
another great day of riding. another great day to be alive and serving our Lord.
until next time, may the sun shine warm upon your face
Monday, October 7, 2013
it's not what ya know, it's who ya know.
from our stop in Newton, we were directed by James to Norma, who let us stay in a fabulously warm and cozy cabin outside the
general store she owned at the junction of 35 and 177. thanks Norma, for saving us a few hours at night and in the morning setting up / tearing down
and thank you James, for the connection. loved staying the night in Cassoday, which apparently is the Prairie Chicken Capitol of the world.
with one last burst of "KANSAS!" style riding, we proceeded to zigzag across the state's southeast corner and run smack into an entirely new landscape.
could definitely feel a difference in our bodies adjusting back to the climb/coast routine,
after so many hours of flat riding. small hills felt quite a bit larger than what they were in actuality, but the scenery more than made up for the fatiguing change of pace.
Kansas turned into smaller farms & homesteads planted between soybean fields, groves of maple & ash, blue lakes and muddy rivers. almost a ride back in time to a day
when life was simpler, slower and less worried about the concerns of the world.
no matter how small a town we ride through, chances are there's a United Methodist Church nearby or more likely right inside the town itself. seems to
be the predominate denomination between Pueblo, CO and where we are now.
after a few days of high mileage riding, the vote was unanimous to call it quits well before the sun went down. God provided a free site in Chanute, KS,
complete with a covered park bench, fresh water and warm showers. what more could a tourer ask for?
until next time, may the rain fall softly on your fields