Last night’s dinner was a burrito washed down by a Dos Equis. Bueno.
I spent the night watching a documentary on George Carlin in HBO. It was quite good.
This morning’s motel breakfast was pretty lame, not surprising when you’re paying $50 for the room. After breakfast I took a left out of the parking lot and rode 41 miles on the Gypsum Scenic Byway. This road is listed as one of the 30 best rides in the US by Bicycling Magazine.
It’s a pretty darn nice ride, especially with a 3/4ths tailwind, sunny skies, and comfortable temperatures and humidity.
The topography changed almost immediately after I left town. The closest thing I can compare it to is eastern Montana but with lots of green. In place of the flat prairie I saw buttes and plenty of hills actively eroding.
The first 20 miles featured plenty of ups and downs but nothing severe. I used my granny gear a lot, mostly to save my legs from tiring out. I had no shifting problems at all.
Unfortunately the first 20 miles also featured plenty of trucks all but one of which gave me room when they passed.
At 20 miles I stopped at a dirt road crossing to have a snack. A pick up pulled along side me off the road and the driver asked if I was okay. We chatted for a bit. He told me that when I teach the town of Coldwater to have lunch at the town pizza place; it’s owned by his father-in -law. He, the driver, seemed like a truly kind person.
He went up the dirt road and I continued on toward Coldwater. The rolling hills and buttes gave way to ranch land and, eventually, flat farms. The road leveled out. The effort eased.
In Coldwater I scouted out my food choices. They were three. Ultimate I followed Son-in-Law’s advice and went to the pizza place. His father-in-law was working the register. We talked quite a lot and he seemed like another very nice guy. I watched him interact with his employees with a gentle guiding touch.
He suggested the buffet for $10. Multiple kinds of pizza and a salad bar. All you can eat. Music to my ears! It was delish.
Let’s just say Father-in-Law lost money on the deal. I kidded him about it but he seemed genuinely happy that I ate my fill. He advised me about motels in Greensburg, the next town, 20 odd miles north. “After that, there’s nothing until Dodge, 46 miles further west.” To be safe, I called and reserved a room at the nicer of the two motels in Greensburg. (The low-end motel was rated one star and was at the far end of town.)
My partial tailwind turned into a full on shove in the back for 21 miles. And the road was flat.
When I dismounted my legs were a bit wobbly and I was a little dizzy.
It ended up being a little longer day then I had planned (aren’t they all?).
It’s a darn nice hotel and the breakfast buffet has all the goodies. I have to wait out some rain in the morning so it looks like the feedbag’s going to get a workout.
My bike is holding up fine. Kansas is much easier to ride across when your brake pads aren’t dragging on the rim (as they were during my 2019 crossing). My left pedal is fine. The ticking sound was caused by the aglet of my left shoe lace hitting my water bottle as I pedaled. (Believe it or not, an aglet on my jacket ticking against the top tube once nearly drove me mad.)
I’ve seen little animal life. One deer yesterday. Lots of cattle. The cattle don’t understand English. I ask then to run and they just stare at me. Maybe I should’ve used Spanish. In Montana I could get a decent stampede going with ease.
I have seen several mirages. I swore I was riding toward a flooded out section of road yesterday. Nope. Mirage, and a very convincing one at that.
During the Gypsum Hill ride, I crossed into Comanche County. I’m now on Kiowa County. I’m keeping an eye out for Blue Duck.
Mark contacted me today to remind me that Corey, he, and I are still on schedule to meet up in Canon City, CO in 12 days. I can make it there in 7 so I need to slow my roll.
I’ve gained 1,600 feet in elevation since Fort Scott.
Miles today: 67 Tour miles: 854.