I awakened to the sound of rain hitting my tent…and it quickly increased. Scheisser! I freaked out, bolted out of my tent, and in 5 minutes—definitely a new record—I had totally broken down all my camping gear and packed it into Terry’s car. The rain subsided (whew!) and so I put my computer in one of my panniers and high-tailed it up Main St. to The Cactus Club breakfast restaurant. I chowed like a moron….8 pieces of French toast, 2 eggs, hash browns, and about 24 oz of water (and coffee). At about 9:15am, I received a text from Heather letting me know she was almost into Ness City, and could join me for breakfast. She chowed down like a moronette. Then Terry joined us and had his coffee (he downs about 1-2 pots every morning… I’d be peeing like a racehorse.)
While at the restaurant, I did some more writing (blogs) then responded to Warm Showers emails (one of them said, “Yes” for Terry and I to spend the night at their house when we arrived into Kansas City, MO. Nice that this couple is letting us stay with them. The cool thing is that they brew their own beer and offered to share some when we arrived. Yes! Terry edited some of the videos he had recorded in the past few days, and Heather was texting away to friends and family.
Finally, at 11:30am Heather and I took off for Larned. Heather was apprehensive about biking 90 miles, so I just kept encouraging her that she could do it. We had fun going from town to town—and each town had it’s own massive grain elevator. That was the first thing that you would see on the horizon when approaching a town. Both Heather and I equated the experience to being on a lost ship and seeing an island on the horizon. So whenever we came over a hill or around a bend and saw a grain elevator on the horizon, we would yell, “Hey, an island straight ahead!” We took a few breaks along the way to weather the weather, which was climbing up to 102 degrees.
We finally arrived into a very small town called Rush Center. We had to carb up for the final 30-mile push to Larned, so we stopped at a gas station and Heather made us some peanut butter sandwiches (thanks!). We hung out for a few minutes, spoke to the friendly local farmers, and Heather psyched herself up (“you can do it Heather, you can do it”). We were back on the road again at 5pm, with a goal of reaching Larned in 2.5 hours. The wind was relentless and the shoulder of the road disappeared after about 7 miles. We decided to take a water break under an oasis of a few trees just off the road.
Just after parking our bikes and sipping on our water bottles, a pick-up truck stopped and a woman inside asked us if we would like some food. She told us she had some fried chicken and we could make a picnic under the trees. “Sure, thanks!” we both said. The woman’s name was Joanne and she brought out the chicken, and then said, “Do you also like fruit?”. Uh…yeah! So she brought out two small cartons, one containing strawberries and the other, blueberries. Wow! While she handed us the food, she said that we needed to be careful about biking to Larned, as some of the truckers are not very careful. Additionally, there was a storm brewing and we might not make it to Larned in time to beat it. We could stay at her home for the night. She said “just think about it; here’s my number.” Thanks Joanne.
Just then another pick up truck arrived and it was Dick, a cool guy with whom we spoke at the gas station 10 miles back in Rush Center. Like Joanne, he said that a storm was brewing near Larned and that he would be happy to put our bikes in the back and give us a ride, so we could be sure to avoid the rain and thunder. “OK” we said. Dick was fun to chat with, and he took us all the way to Larned while we ate the chicken that Joanne had given us. Are all Kansas folks so damn nice?
We arrived at the motel where Terry greeted us, having reserved a room. Great! Heather immediately went for a swim, and then spoke with friends and family on her phone for a while. I also went swimming, but first took a *much needed* shower. I was so happy to be clean again! Terry, Heather, and I chatted some more, and then I wrote another blog. We all crashed around 11pm.