May 11 - 19: Kansas

5/18 - Ness City (LAYOVER 1763.5 total)
the temps today never got above about 54; that's the usual low temp around here this time of year. & the winds...even the locals are talking about them. it's windy again today. tonight it's supposed to get down to 30. i overheard a woman in the grocery store talking about those temps freezing the tops of her potato plants. they say tomorrow will be beautiful....sunny & temps in the 70's with winds from the north. we'll still be heading west tomorrow. at least the winds will be blowing broadside at us from a different direction. yesterday we rode at a 70-degree tilt to the left, tomorrow we'll be tilting to the right.
mid morning a dozen of us walked down the street to a little cafe called balloons west. it was a treat to order a nice big breakfast & have the time to savor it. quite a few in the group are having trouble digesting our rushed very-early-morning breakfasts in time to jump on their bikes & start riding at an hour when they wouldn't even be out of bed yet if they were home.
one of our riders found a place down the street to get a pedicure & manicure today. she needs her nails cut real short so they don't snag her spandex. it's not that easy finding a spot along a windy roadway to stop & file off those ragged edges.
ness city has such wide streets....& many of them are of brick. as we've been wandering around town the grocery store, to the post office (to mail extra stuff back home), to the laundry...we've found several shops filled with local crafts. dominating the downtown is a huge stone building that was once a bank. locals have restored the building & operate a gift shop there that sells things made from local products by local artisans. for instance, i saw some handsome coasters there made from wheat straw, a byproduct of the state's wheat industry.
in the picture you'll see judy behind a huge yucca plant that's about to bloom on a street corner.
that's at the main intersection downtown; maybe you can see how wide those streets are. in the background you'll see the G&L pharmacy.
i doubt they have any Gold Bond powder or Bag Balm left in that store as of this evening.
some of the riders took a couple more dips into the swimming pool &/or hot tub today. some diehards even cleaned & lubed their bikes. i really don't much like to even look at my bike on layover days. i sort of like to do NOTHING bike- or trip-related most of the layover days; then i get to work on the packing & repacking the evening before we start riding again. each of us has her own habits about layover days; those are mine.
besides walking down to do some laundry, the highlight of my day has been a trip next door to the Frigid Creme for a scrumptious rocky road chocolate thing (called a cyclone--sorta like a DQ blizzard) covered with hot fudge. as sari & i were ordering our treats thru the little window, some sparks starting flying & the girl taking our order jumped backwards. her hand had touched a piece of metal sitting near a cord that shorted out. i looked at her hands & they had black marks on them. we felt so badly for her. we also felt badly that the short affected the machine that would have created our cyclones. but she & her coworker were able to extend the cord to another outlet so we were in business. & when the young girl came back to the window, i noticed that she had on black fingernail polish. whew. sari & i didn't feel so guilty about letting her continue to make our delicious ice cream treats.
most of us had supper tonight in the little restaurant in this motel. it has the reputation of being one of the best restaurants in town. sari, lee, & i were some of the last of our group to go dine there. sari & i had the liver & onions; neither of us had had liver & onions for decades. lee said her rare chopped sirloin with mushroom sauce was perfectly cooked. all was delicious.
it's back on the road again tomorrow. we'll need mittens for eating breakfast outside at 5:30 a.m. maybe we'll postpone our biking start 'til it warms up a bit. it'll be an 80-mi day, followed by another 80-mile day, both straight-as-an-arrow westward on hwy 96.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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