Another monster storm hit today. Fortunately I was in a nice comfy hotel room when it did. It was rainy so hard st one point that it sounded like someone was blasting my room’s window with a hose.
I waited it out then hit the road knowing that some of the roads to Chanute, today’s planned destination, were closed because of flooding.
Instead of taking the Adventure Cycling route which left the southern part of Pittsburg, I opted to head north then take a two lane highway west all the way to Chanute. Or so I thought.
A quarter mile into the ride I had to detour to avoid downed power lines. The neighborhood I rode through had standing water all over the place.
Back on the highway I enjoyed a huge tailwind. 20 mph was not a problem. I stopped after a couple of miles to admire some descendants of the plains that white settlers nearly wiped out in the 1800s.
It wasn’t much of a herd.
Back on the road I flew north for a few more miles then turned left. For six miles I dealt with a side wind. It probably slowed me a couple of mph. Not a big deal.
In Girard I stopped at a gas station convenience store where I learned the road into Chanute was closed. When I looked at the google it seemed to indicate that Chanute could only be entered from the west. All the access roads were flooded.
I was about to throw in the towel on the day and ride north 24 miles to Fort Scott when Corey rode by. I yelled to him and he pulled into station. It turns out Mark was at the station across the street. (Two gas station convenience stores constitutes a central business district in Kansas.)
We assembled for snacks and Corey got the google to map out a route to Chanute. I thought it was bogus and wouldn’t work, Corey said “So what. This is supposed to be an adventure. If the road is closed we can ride in the railroad tracks.”
Clearly the heat was getting to him.
But he had a point. Except about the railroad tracks. I ain’t riding no trestles. The Mule would not abide.
Off they went and I followed. The next six miles were due north. The tailwind blasted us past one farm after another. The gently rolling terrain felt level.
We then turned west and that tailwind was now buffeting is from the side. The other two pulled far ahead. I wanted to leave something in my legs in case this backfired.
About 15 miles from Girard Corey and Mark were hanging out in a roadside convenience store. Sadly, they had learned that Corey’s google route was blocked by flooding.
As we were pondering our alternatives a local man walked in and announced that a road to Chanute was now open.
Just go west to the stop sign turn north then go left on highway 39.
He made it sound like the stop sign was just up the street.
It was nine miles away.
Corey and Mark took off and I followed from a distance. When I finally got to the stop sign the turn to the north gave me that amazing tailwind again. Ahhh…
Then the turn to the west turned it into a side wind for 11 miles.
There was water everywhere. In the fields, in the drainage ditches on the side of the road, and in swollen creeks that were far over their banks.
This was nothing compared to the flooding in Chanute. The Neosho River was nowhere to be seen. In its place was a massive flood plain.
These pictures don’t come close to doing it justice.
One thing’s for sure, I’m getting out of here before more rain hits.
I grabbed a hotel room south of town. I cleaned and lubed my chain. Then I spent 30 minutes setting up my new tent for the first time in my hotel room. It’s incredibly complicated. Good thing I did a trial run in the comfort of my motel room,. Had I bought the footprint it would have been easier.
Many thanks to Corey and Mark for convincing/shaming me to take a risk that worked out very well.
Miles today: 62
Trip miles: 765.5