Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Week 6 Statistics

Larned, Kansas to Springfield, Missouri
(map does not show our exact route)

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413 miles.

Day 36 - Sunday July 20 - Larned to Hutchinson, Kansas

There was no question which direction east was this morning; the sun rose bright and the sky was clear at 7:00 am. Luckily we did have a 20 mph SW wind that gave us a nice push.
We biked past miles of cornfields

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with the largest cows we've ever seen; cattails lined the wet ditches.
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We did pass a field that had just been harvested that was being burned for nutrients.
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Reached our 60 mile destination in just over four hours. So we grabbed a quick chocolate milk and lunch and decided to go the extra 10 miles to the next town. We biked over the Arkansas River at least four times today (an no, we are not lost).
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Though it was the same one we saw in Colorado, it sure looked different.
Eleven miles later we were close to our final destination, it just took us another ten miles in 98 degree temperature to find a place to stay (ie: had to go around the entire town, instead of the direct route)......wouldn't be a Bocrie ride without the extra challenge thrown in.

Day 37 - Monday July 21 - Hutchinson to Newton, Kansas

We had a purposely slow start this morning (7:00ish) as we only had 40 miles to cover...........essentially, this is counting as our day off until we can find a good town to really take a day off. It will be tough to beat Telluride, though!
Saw cornfields, soybean fields and soybean fields with corn.

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Marck, apparently you and Jerry were on the same page today, as we have lots of pictures of corn fields.
Not sure what the significance of this photo is,
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but at least it's not a cornfield.

It was a fairly easy day as we still had the SW blow. Passed through Hesston (8 miles west) and are staying in Newton; the largest Mennonites communities in the state. We also learned about the cattle business and why the Kansas City beef is the best in the country.........amazing what you can learn in the liquor store.
That's all we've got for you today.

Day 38 - Tuesday July 22 - Newton to Eureka, Kansas

Sunrise at 6:31, departure at 6:36 am.......we had to wait for the sunrise colors to develop......

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.....well worth the wait.
We had cloud cover until 8:30 and picked up the nice SW winds at about 9 am; it was a good morning. Had a thirty mile stretch of no service (ie: no food, drink or restrooms) but plenty of cornfields
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and the beautiful green pastures of the Flint Hills.
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Dorothy obviously lived in the western part of Kansas.

Got through our first 30 miles by 10:15. We stopped at the only store/resturant in the town of Cassoday (Pairie Chicken Capitol of the World) and we're very pleasantly surprised. They had just laid out their lunch buffet of homemade foods. Besides the salad bar they had sloppy joes, the moistest beef brisket we've ever had, incredible deviled eggs and desserts including fresh strawberries and rhubarb pie. We passed on the dinner-plate size homemade cinnamon rolls by the register.
As we left we were greeted by Jim, struttin' his stuff.
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Our next 20 miles took us south, so we had to pay for the earlier wind, by heading into it. Luckily it was only blowing at about 10 mph so we were able to make good progress.
The town of Rosalia was our next break, where we found a 'biker bar'.
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A cold chocolate milk and back on the road.
Though our last 24 miles turned east again, the 100 degree temperatures made it rather tough, not to mention the rolling hills we were back in. But we made it into Eureka by 3:00, checked into a hotel and jumped into their swimming pool, fully clothed.......felt good!
Crossed the 2000 mile mark, today!

Day 39 - Wednesday July 23 - Eureka to Chanute, Kansas

The sunrise this morning

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promised a hot and humid day; it delivered.
The first part of the day we encountered the same type of soft rolling hills
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that we encountered at the end of yesterday's ride. No cornfields, just miles and miles of 'blue stem' grasses of the flint hills. Here's a brief Kansas history lesson. The Blue Stem grasses of the Flint Hills are the original native (is that redundant?) grasses of the Kansas prairie; not planted or fertilized.....all natural. Over a million cattle are shipped in each summer to fatten up on the over 4.5 million acres of these grasses............good stuff! But for those that want more....
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Back on the bike, we get to our first rest stop, Toronto, Kansas. We pedal to up to a couple of locals standing beside their pickups sipping coffee. The one that engaged us in conversation and a discussion on flood waters, highly recommended May's place, properly known as 'The Cafe'. It was a good call, May fixes the best biscuits and gravy west of the Mississippi.
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Pat, you still make the Best. She also make a mean zucchini cake!
We jumped back on the bikes before Jerry took a nap.....at 9:30 am!!
The ESE winds that joined us right from the start this morning, were still with us. Though it was in our face, it did keep us slightly cooler than yesterday. But when we stopped along the road for a quick break, the sweat would pour off of us.
Made it into Chunute by 3:00 and headed for the motel swimming pool. With a liquor store across the street and a Pizza Hut a block down, we'd knew we'd found a place the regenerate! The Missouri state line is on the map for tomorrow......none too soon for me. Love the man to death, but just about over Jerry's signing of the 'Witchita Lineman' and 'Home on the Range', especially since the only knows one line from each song.......there aren't any songs about Missouri, are there??? 64 miles

.......because our photographer, Mr Grizzly, didn't take a lot of shots today, and the sunrise yesterday was so great, we leave you with this parting shot
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Day 40 - Thursday July 24 - Chanute to Pittsburg, Kansas

Yes Toto, we're still in Kansas!
We beat the sunrise this morning, though not by much. Most of the morning was hazy or overcast, tough to tell in the humid sky, but the dampness kept you cool in the breeze.
Managed to avoid taking any pictures of cows or cornfields, just pretty country roads

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and the Neosho River.
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Today became more of a social outing. Our first rest stop was 30 miles out at a small country store in an even smaller country town. As we dined on croissant egg sandwiches we chatted with a fellow biker and local farmer. Still on the hunt for a place for a good local steak, the local invited us to his place for steak tender enough to cut with a fork. But since it was only 9:30 in the morning, we had to pass.
Our second encounter came when a small pickup truck approaching from a side road stopped. The driver got out of his car and jumped to the middle of the road to wave us down. He directed us to a shortcut, off the highway, that would actually save us a mile or two......way too nice.
This is about the time the south wind began to pick up; something about a hurricane coming up from Texas.
Girard (capitol of nice people) was our next rest stop and intended to be just for something cold to drink, as it was only another ten to twelve miles to our destination. But we couldn't resist the baked potato bar with all the fixin's, including chili (Robyn, you would have been in heaven). We got the local scoop from a farmer who stopped daily for a potato.
On our way out of Girard we were stopped by Earl (who has a wonderful sense of humor, but doesn't smile for pictures),
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who offered us directions, but really just wanted to chat. Earl likes to tinker on his 10 acres on the corner of town.....
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by building covered bridges......
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treehouses the size of a small home and a wonderful memorial to those that have fought for our freedom.
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Kansas lost over 800 soldiers in the Vietnam War.

One last stretch of country road,
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to Pittsburg and supposedly a day off; still not convinced it will happen. But tonight we're on the hunt for something other than mexican or pizza, plus a salad that actually consists of green lettuce.......we'll keep you posted.

Day 41 - Friday July 25 - DAY OFF

Slept in. Ate. Relaxed. Ate. Got a great massage. Ate.......good day!

Day 42 - Saturday July 26 - Pittsburg, Kansas to Springfield, Missouri

Left the hotel early (6:00 am) to make a fuel stop at MacDonalds. Less than thirty minutes of biking and we made it to the Missouri border,

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unscathed by the Kansas tornadoes. Shortly after entering Missouri, we did see a buffalo farm, an elk farm and a wild coyote; he just wouldn't stand still long enough for a photograph.
The morning was so hot and humid that the sweat poured off of us; and this was before the sun broke through the clouds.
We had been told by a few bikers about the 'Cookie's Cafe' in Golden City, so our first 30 miles went by rather quickly with a cookie as our carrot. We were a bit taken aback when we got into town and the name of the restaurant was 'Cooky's Cafe'! Taken aback, but not disappointed. Cooky offered over 20 different homemade pies, but we went for the blueberry pancakes with blueberries so fresh they exploded in your mouth......fabulous! By the time we'd finished our stuffing, the sun was out full strengh.
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The Missouri landscape offered a few more trees and some colorful yards
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and the soft rolling hills changed to roller coaster rolling hills. We would go from 30 mph to 3 mph in less than one rotation of our tire; kept it interesting.
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Our intention was to go about 65 miles today to Ash Grove, but after a drink stop and a fresh 'boot hill peach' we decided to go off the map route and head to Springfield. Our ten hour, 88 mile day stopped at the first hotel we came to in Springfield about a half hour before the rain hit. All we have to do tomorrow is figure out how to get back on the route, but first dinner. Good Night!