May 11 - 19: Kansas

5/19 - Leoti (80 miles 1843.5 total)
"oh what a beautiful morrrrrr-ning, oh what a beautiful day." that was definitely the theme song for today. what an easy way to pedal 80 miles!
as we ate breakfast (which included a big bowl of cutup fresh pineapple & honeydew melon---YUM) & fixed midday snacks in the darkened motel parking lot at ness city this morning, a full moon darted in & out of the clouds in the west. the temp turned out to be only about 45, not the 30 that we'd heard it might be. as we pedalled out of town the clouds rolled away & the full moon shone brightly beside the towering silos.
just outside of town we came upon some sheet metal sculptures that we'd heard about back at the motel. the owner of the property created the sculptures about a year ago.
in the photo you can see the silhouetted indians riding along the horizon. these sculptures already appear on postcards available in town.
it was an easy 31 miles to the first town...dighton. we followed the trail of parked bikes into a little cafe/bowling alley. as sari, joan, & i entered, there was a bit of tension in the air amongst the bikers already at their tables. it turns out that when they started ordering, the waitress warned that there was only enough pancake batter left for 2 pancakes. rose said she'd take them....both of them, even tho' the waitress pointed out that the cakes were as big as the plates. boy were the other wannabe pancake eaters unhappy!
you'll see in the photo what happened when rose's pancakes were delivered. linda (at right), marcia, & gerrie (in sunglasses) all tried to snag some. rose had to beat them off. it wasn't pretty.
the 2nd town--scott city--was another 24 miles down the road. on our way there we were passed again by large sections of prefab homes & other giant loads. what is it about this kansas highway that attracts oversized loads? we saw some this morning & again this afternoon.
here's a jaunty group that accumulated along the road near scott city.
from left are gerrie, sari, jackie, patty fainer, joan, & lee. notice that good ol' kansas flatness in the background.
some riders stopped at another restaurant at scott city. judy reports that as she was leaving the restaurant, an older scott city resident asked her about our bike trip & where we were headed. when judy said west to leoti, the woman exclaimed that the hills were really bad in that direction. oh my. if those are "bad hills" we'll take them. in fact, we'd hardly call those imperceptible little inclines "hills." but to a kansan, i realize that anything that isn't flat as a pancake looks mountainous.
speaking of local folks, i meant to report a conversation that joan overheard in our motel dining room at ness city yesterday early morning:
local #1: "is that bunch of women bikers still here?"
local #2: "yuhhhhp"
local #1: "that's the damn stupidest idea i've ever heard of."
ok, so everyone isn't so taken with this undertaking of ours.
just before scott city we came upon this interesting historical marker. again i've photographed it so you can get the info directly. i thot it very interesting to learn that george washington carver lived & worked in so many parts of the country.
roadkill report: i noticed at least half a dozen hawks lying alongside the road today. i thot they'd be wily enough not to be taken down by a vehicle on a highway. maybe they get caught trying to pick up other roadkill. another common roadside creature today was the ladybug. it seemed i was often giving rides to a ladybug or 2 that had jumped aboard my shirtsleeves as i pedalled down the road.
the landscape changed before & after scott city. before were those flat green pastures with little but silos providing any relief. after scott city the ground cover seemed drier & patchier. there were large power stations & there were many, many giant feed lots. that explains the almost constant parade of huge trucks carrying grain or livestock along our highway in the afternoon.
at the edge of one feedlot sari & i stopped along a separate fenced-in pasture holding only 2 long-horned steers. one had very long horns. i wanted a photo of him, so i climbed up on an outer fence to peer over the edge so i could get a better angle. i had thot the steer was just interested in what i was doing as he looked intently at me, but before long he started snorting, pawing the dusty ground with his right hoof, & lowering his huge, swaying head. then he started charging toward me. i waited a moment for him to get closer so i could get a good picture (this new camera will be the death of me yet), then leapt off the fence backward as he almost rammed into it. oh boy. that was scary.
here's the picture i got for my trouble. (i really should've waited 'til he was just a bit closer.)
we're in leoti at an older motel. we ate out tonight so patty could have a break. we walked down the road about a block to charlie's, a mexican restaurant. it was real cute inside & the food was good.
tomorrow we ride another 80 miles down highway 96. judy says we'll end up pedalling almost 350 miles on hwy 96 before we finally leave it west of pueblo. tomorrow we'll cross into colorado & also into the mountain time zone, so we'll gain an hour. marcia the weather watcher says we'll have sunny skies with temps in the 80's & winds from the south early, changing to northwest by later in the day. that doesn't sound too bad.
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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