That was the forecast last night for todaynfor the route we were scheduled to take and WNW was going to be a direct headwind.
Riding into a 20 mph headwind is a near-death experience😫😳🥺😢
Wind – May 31st NE 20 mph. Wind gusts 30 mph occasional 40 mph
That is also the forecast last night made for Tuesday. NE is a direct tailwind. A 20 mph tailwind for most of the day will be amazingly fun.
So we canceled our ride for today and took a day off and are resting in this very comfortable, air-conditioned church, watching the wind blow hard in the wrong direction, and tomorrow we will ride 96 miles to La Junta, Colorado and camp in a KOA campground with a hot tub and a swimming pool, after experiencing jet propulsion all day. Whoooooeee
Because of the high winds and low humidity Colorado has a “stage 2” fire warning in place, and there are a couple if forest fires going now that will be on our route in the next week. We have had a variety of challenges and problems so we might as well add a forest fire to the list!
Today we rode our bikes on one road. The road did not make a bend, it was straight as a string for 78 miles. Supposedly we gained 200 feet of elevation but over 78 miles it appeared to be perfectly flat. We left at 5:00 am this morning riding in the dark for about 40 minutes to beat the heat, which we did, getting to our destination right about noon and it still wasn’t up to 70 degrees yet.
We are staying at a church tonight. We got here just as the Sunday morning service was getting over. They have been having Vacation Bible School all week so the pastor invited us to the church barbecue and the VBS program.
The town we are in, “Sheridan Lake”is probably a hundred people in the city limits, but the church appears to have at least a hundred attending so they must draw from the surrounding area. It is a “Village Mission” church and appears to be very healthy.
Tomorrow we have an easy day, 56 miles and mostly flat. Hopefully, there is not a big headwind. A fellow we talked to today said every other day lately was big wind days, up to 50 mph. The wind today was coming straight out of the north and we were traveling straight West, so we had a side wind, which wasn’t much of a problem for us. We crossed into Colorado today and got a picture with the “Welcome to Colorado” sign, and because we didn’t get an “Entering Kansas” picture when we came into Kansas we turned around and got one on the other side of the road.
While we were at the “Entering Colorado” sign a family stopped to take pictures and we discovered that they were very good friends of Erik and Paula Frisk who attend JBC and are good friends of Patty and I. We have met a lot of people who used to live in Oregon or have friends there.
Today is the last day we will be in Kansas, and today we are officially halfway done on our trip. We are in Scott City, Kansas, and are in a recreational facility that has a swimming pool and is air-conditioned, which is nice because it is 100 degrees outside.
Let me give you a tour of my bicycle that I have been spending considerable time with lately.
Also notice my handlebars. The lower one has my brake handles and shifter levers, and I ride in the typical bent over position when my hands are on those. When I put my hands on the upper bars I am sitting almost straight up. I sit on a different part of my rear-end with each position so it is great to switch back and forth.
This is the holder that I have my Iphone in. I have each day mapped out and the map of the route is on the screen and it is bluetoothed with my hearing aids so I get audible turn by turn directions as I ride.
We left Hoisington, Kansas this morning at 7:00 am and had a great day of biking until 10:00 am when we had 30 miles done. The weather was sunny but cool and very comfortable, there was no wind, and the roads were flat. Then at 10:00 am the wind started, and the weather app said it was a steady 20 mph with gusts to 35 mph coming from the Southwest. We were bicycling west than north than west and then north again as we headed for our campsite that was northwest of us. When we were going west we were fighting a fierce headwind but when we turned north we had a fun ride. I hardly needed to pedal at all to cruise at 20 mph. I would stand up on my pedals to make myself as big of a sail as possible.
The forecast for tomorrow is for more of the same so we are going to try and get left at 5:30 am for two reasons. The first is to get as many miles as possible done before the wind starts. We leave camp and head straight South for 25 miles so we want to get that part done early for sure. The second reason is that it is supposed to be 100 degrees by 2:00 pm Our route and destination tomorrow calls for a 90 mile day but I am going to quit at 62 miles and Dave is going to pick me up, a semi-rest day. The others may as well, but they are waiting until they ride for awhile before deciding.
We are camped tonight at Cedar Bluff State Park and they only charged us five dollars and gave us a covered area to camp under, note picture.
I was thinking that today is a lot like life. You want something a lot and the days just drag on forever it seems before it happens. I remember our wedding day was like that, the days seemed to go on forever, but it does finally happen. Today I wanted the West Roads to end so we could turn North and have those wonderful tailwinds. I watched my odometer knowing the number of miles we needed to go and it just crawled. I came up with a new motto, “ a watched odometer does not move!”
You can almost see the curvature of the earth Kansas is so flat
Today was a very tough day of bicycling. It was supposed to be 77 miles but because of detours because of all the rain and road construction we ended up riding 89 miles. That was bad enough but we road into a 17 mph headwind all day. Riding into a headwind is worse than hill climbing because you don’t get a rest. With hills you get to go downhill after every hill, but with this wind you have to keep grinding it out all day long. We didn’t get into camp until 8:00 pm and every part of my body was sore. But on a positive note the rain quit and the sun was shining most of the afternoon and is supposed to all day tomorrow as well.
We are camping in a porch area of a sports complex which is handy because we don’t need to set up tents. I was to tired to do much for dinner so I ate two cans of sardines. We are in Hoisington, Kansas tonight.
As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, (which I only sent a couple of hours ago because of no WiFi, I walked up to the Library and used theirs) we are staying in the basement of the Luthern Church in Hutchinson, Kansas. We arrived yesterday in the midst of torrential rain, had a good nights sleep, a great breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash browns, orange juice, and coffee, that Tom cooked. We are hanging out here for the day, spending another night and heading off to Hoisington, Kansas where we will camp in the City Park for free. Probably won’t be any showers there for us. Handi-wipes in the bathroom will have to suffice.
It has been raining all day, today, and the forecast is for heavy rain all night and quitting tomorrow with lots of sunshine!
For those of you who have been praying for me, the last two nights I have slept like a baby and woken up feeling very rested and energized.
Today I am spending my time writing notes to people, getting caught up on my Bible reading and praying, and memorizing Bible verses.
Tomorrow is flat terrain and 77 miles of riding. Two more days and we will be in Colorado.
Day 27! You have got to be kidding me! It seems like we just started, but on the other hand, I can’t remember much of what we did and saw in the first week! Whooooeeeeeee in a couple of days we will be half done, and I am just now getting in shape,
It has rained over four inches last night, and it is still raining. We are at a church tonight, and we are going to hang around here all day tomorrow until the worst of this storm passes, Zion Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Eddie and Jeanette DeHaven used to attend JBC and Eddie’s Dad and Mom still attend. Eddie got a job in Wichita, Kansas, three years ago, and they are going to come and visit us tonight; they are bringing dessert😀
About four blocks from the church is a bicycle shop, so we took Cliff’s and Tom’s bikes in. Cliff’s bike got a new rear cassette that was worn badly and a new tire, the old one was bald. Tom is getting new rear brakes installed. My bike is working like a charm.
Because we are taking a day off tomorrow Cliff, Dave, and I are going to go to a “Buffalo Hot Wings” place where they have giant screen TV’s and we are going to watch the NBA playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks.
This morning Tom went to the grocery store and fixed us bacon, eggs, and hash browns!
Today the ride was 67 miles from Chanute to Eureka, Kansas. We are staying in a local motel instead of camping because of the heavy rain. The place where we were intending to camp was the city park, but they have no showers, electricity, or WiFi, and there were no other campgrounds or facilities around. The nice thing about these small-town motels is that they are inexpensive and because the town is on the transAmerica Route they are very friendly and accommodating to bicyclists. For the next 6 days we have flat terrain to ride on, and hopefully, the monsoons end soon.
I mentioned this before, but one of the highlights of this trip is all the friendly people we have encountered, especially in these small country towns. Almost every day we will stop at a small restaurant about noon for a coke and sandwich and almost always will get in great conversations with local people who are very interested in what we are doing.
I have mentioned in the past that on these bicycle trips my Parkinson’s almost totally goes away, but that has not been the case on this trip for some reason. I am fine while riding but at night it has gotten worse with the main consequence being that I can’t sleep. I started sleeping in the pickup with the seat back because I don’t role over or move much. My muscles get very rigid when I don’t move and then when I do role over the muscle pain that I feel wakes me up with a start. I envision it like my muscles being water and when I don’t move they turn to ice, and then when I do move the ice cracks.
Sometimes when I lay there at night frustrated and weary because of little sleep, I think about the people in our church who I have been praying for who have cancer, MS, and a variety of other health issues way worse than mine, and I thank the Lord for my incredible life, amazing blessings, super family, and the world’s best church family.
The main thing that I praise the Lord for is the total confidence and faith that sometime soon (at least within 30 years) I will be with the Lord with an incomprehensible and amazing new body, and in the meantime I will rejoice and not grumble, whine, or feel sorry for myself.
Today was the easiest, most relaxed day of biking we have had to this point. There were some hills, but they were so gradual that I didn’t shift down at all, in fact I hardly ever was out of my highest gear today. The traffic was minimal, and we had a little bit of a tailwind for most of the day. Oh, and we only rode 56 miles. It was so easy that we are counting it a rest day. I like bicycling in Kansas. It was sunny but cool, almost cold. We are camping in the city park of Chanult, Kansas. It isn’t the nicest place we have camped but it is free. The forecast is for a bunch of rain in the next three days😫🥺😢 I had more pictures but the cell coverage is so weak that it wouldn’t send them.
We had another doozy of a thunder, lightening, wind, and torrential rain storm last night and today. When you are tent camping heavy rainfall is not fun. Tonight we hung tents out to dry now that the rain has stopped and after we got them set up we sprayed the rain flys with silicone waterproofing. Whenever Patty went with me on a bicycle trip we would rent a motel room for the night if it was raining, and we almost did tonight, but we went the cheap route in that the campground spot was $10 for the night for all of us.
We are in the town of Pittsburg, Kansas tonight. We didn’t see any signs saying “entering Kansas” as we crossed the state line so we weren’t able to take our picture if front of it like every other State we have entered. I guess we can take our picture in front of a car with a Kansas licence plate, and call it good!
There is a bike shop here in Pittsburg, and Tom was able to get the broken rim on his bike fixed. We are making guesses on who’s bike will be the next one to break down. So far, we have traveled 1,663 miles on our bicycles. Because of bicycle problems, my total miles biked is 1,482. As I predicted, I was sore in a multitude of places because of my gravel wreck yesterday, but I expect that all will be normal tomorrow.
The bicycle mapping app that we are using for this trip gives us a lot of information, and one bit of information that is helpful is that it tells us the total feet that we have climbed each day. A thousand-foot day is basically flat; a two thousand foot day means we had some hills but not too many and not too high; a three thousand foot day has some good size hills; a four thousand foot day is getting serious; a five thousand foot day is climbing all day long often with rollers ; and a six thousand foot day is a near-death experience. We have had two 6,000 foot days so far and a couple more coming up. Tomorrow is a 1,300 foot day, yeh Kansas!