June 20, Sterling, Kansas
After dodging the rain and hail from Tropical Storm Bill, it looks like clear skies ahead for the next week as I work my way toward Colorado. Kansas has it's beauty - unending views of wheat and corn, and stunning sunrises. Because of the heat and headwinds, I've taken to rising at 4:00 am and pedaling by 5-5:30, to hopefully ensure the first 4 hours of my 7-8 hour ride is tolerable... so far, so good.
Planning daily rides comes down to what services (food, motel, camping) are along this very rural route. Until now, I've been taking it a day at a time, but for the next 11 days, I'm on a schedule - on July 2, my lovely wife flies into Denver and some dear friends will pick her up and bring her to Breckenridge (on my route), where we'll all spend most of the July 4 weekend together. WooHoo!
Keeping a schedule when traveling by bike takes careful planning, but is totally doable. Seeing a bike as transportation is easy to reconcile here on the Trans-am trail. Along with those of us who are traveling the entire length for the sake of doing so, I'm meeting a lot of people "just on their way" places. Since arriving in Kansas, I'm meeting Eastbounders every day. A young college gal passed me yesterday - she was coming from her college town in Colorado, taking the Trans-am to just over the Ohio River, then heading south on the Underground Railroad Trail to visit friend in New Orleans for the summer. I met another gent who passed me - he was traveling light, younger and just plain faster, on his way from Virginia to visit a son in Wyoming. I've met Germans, Brits, married couples, families with kids in trailers, and a lot of college kids traveling on the cheap for the summer... it's a pretty interesting culture. Adventure Cycling (adventurecycling.org) is leading the charge to map the entire country for bike routes - check it out... also, if you want to see pics of every type of bike traveler imaginable, check out crazyguyonabike.com
Just a thought from road: It's easy for all of us to get caught up in our little corner of the world and not think of how others live. When we see polling data - or hear, "red state this and blue state that," it's easy to just see the numbers and not think of the people behind them, living completely different lives than we are. This tour has opened my eyes to look behind the numbers and remember that this country is made up of many cultures with varying worldviews, most of them (in the south and the midwest where I'm traveling) different than mine. I may still become frustrated with right wing politics and closed minds... but I understand it a little better now. The only way to change things in this country is to better educate the people. Knowledge is the key that opens up our minds.
That's all for now - thanks for joining me on the ride!
So this is where all the grain goes...
Don't fence me in...
Sun rising over corn this morning.
Made me homesick :)