Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Week 5 Statistics

Salida, Colorado to Larned, Kansas

week 5.png

441.54 miles
no summits, just the Great Plains

Day 29 - Sunday July 13 - Salida to Westcliffe, Colorado

Pulled out of Salida this morning at 7 am and followed the Arkansas River

as it wound through the hills. Popular white water rafting area with some beautiful rapids.
Our first 23 miles had a steady 500 foot drop, so our first hour and a half was quite pleasant. The next 23 miles was a 1500 foot climb; much slower but equally beautiful.

We biked past fields of farms
and horses
all framed by the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The road ahead
lead to Westcliffe and lunch.
We both had intended to go all the way to Pueblo today, but even with 46 miles under our belt, 58 miles still lay ahead of us with a 9100 foot mountain in the way. This along with a 1/2 pound hamburger in our bellies, we decided to stay in the sleepy little town of Westcliffe and tackle the mountain in the morning.

Day 30 - Monday July 14 - Westcliffe to Pueblo, Colorado

We left the hotel into a cool morning (elevation 7900') and immediately began a 13 mile climb to 9100 feet. As we pumped up the hills, we left the amazingly beautiful Rockies behind us.

You would think that with the Rockies behind us, that a few hills wouldn't bother us. It was a tough 13 miles.
We kept looking behind us as we biked through fields
dryer than we'd seen since entering Colorado.
As we started our 40 mile 4200 foot descent, the topography changed dramatically. The first part of the 'S' curve drop was much like what we had seen in Utah.
But the rest was hot, dry farmland.
As much as a struggle the mountain were, we'll miss waking up every morning to the spectacular vistas.

We did meet up with 'Slackin' Zack' again, for hopefully a few days of riding together. We'll lose him soon as he heads to bigger cities than our normal trek takes us, to try to raise funds for his cancer foundaton..........have you donated yet?
Pueblo Colorado is our first big city since.......San Francisco; just a bit hotter and flatter.

Day 31 - Tuesday July 15 - Pueblo to Eads, Colorado

We left the big city of Pueblo around 7:00. Since we were only doing under 60 miles today, we had the time to sleep in an extra 1/2 hour.
We passed fields, more fields

and long straight roads.
It took Jerry less than two hours to start asking for a mountain or two.

We did finally get a shot of one of the many foals we've seen this trip;
but then back to fields.

And so it happened. Got to our destination (Ordway) for the day, way too early (noon).............who wants to spend the rest of the afternoon in this town, there's nothing to do. So a quick lunch and off we go. With flat land the ride was a bit easier, until the head wind got to us around mid-afternoon. But since we'd already knocked out 75, the goal of beating the 100 mile mark seemed obtainable.
But Mother Nature was not finished with us. Since the headwind didn't deter us, she tried something a little more intense.
The next town was 20 miles away, but the storm was fast approaching. I pulled the plug when the odometer read 100.5 (I'm taking the blame so the guys egos' are not bruised). We quickly loaded our bikes on Karen's truck, jumped in and speed to town. Walked across the motel parking lot to dinner and got in a minute before the skies opened up with, I think, more rain than the town had seen all year. A great lightening storm, too!
We made it safe and sound and now to bed.

Day 32 - Wednesday July 16 - Eads, Colorado to Tribune, Kansas

We left our truck stop motel late (7 am), way after most had left. We were in no hurry to encounter the winds that had blown in with the storm last night and decided to stay.
Though we only had 58 miles to bike today, the 25 mph headwind made it slow and difficult. We encountered more fields, and roads that looked like they lead to big cities....

when in fact what we saw in the distance, were silos up close; no Starbucks, no MacDonalds.
As we passed the fields, the prairie dogs barked at us
and Ducky III and Quackers stopped to make new friends.

On the occasion that we picked up our heads against the wind, we saw golden fields
that went on forever.
Though we did make it to Kansas
the scenery did not change.
Ducky III took the occasion to play with our mascot, Bullet.

We had to say goodbye today to our occasional sag wagon and new very good friends, Karen, Slackin' Zach and the beautiful Laci (not pictured)
We will miss you all and wish you the best of luck and safety on your trip home! p.s. don't fall.

Day 33 - Thursday July 17 - Tribune to Scott City, Kansas

We were out early this morning (6:00 am) to thankfully a 30 mph south blow.......thankful it wasn't out of the east as it was yesterday. The wind at our shoulder was still tough, though; at times we really had lean into it or get blown over. Apparently wind is a daily occurrence to be warned about.


Twenty five miles into our ride, we stopped for a quick breakfast at a little town, Leoti, situated between the fields
and huge silos.
We must have talked to half the town during breakfast and waved to the rest of them as we biked out of the area. The people in Kansas are really, really friendly......even to grubby bikers.
If you've lost faith in your fellow American, jump on a bike and ride through this country. It is refreshing, heartwarming and should truly restore your belief in good mankind!

We reached our destination, Scott City, by noon. There was talk of going further but between the wind (30 mph), heat (97 degrees), Heath Bar Blizzard (millions of calories) and a park bench
the conversation was soon forgotten. Four hours of biking. 48 miles.
ps. We did move from the park bench into a hotel where we dined on cheap red wine and Vienna sausage for happy hour. LIFE IS GOOD!

Day 34 - Friday July 18 - Scott City to Ness City, Kansas

It's a good thing we got Mr. Grizzly off the park bench yesterday; as last night we were awakened by hail on the windows and then a heavy downpour. Thank goodness for our very dry and comfortable Best Western.
Fact is,the weatherman got it totally wrong. Today was supposed to be 90 with NNW winds. Instead, we biked from the hotel at 7:00 (central time zone now) into what looked like a hot August morning in Virginia Beach. The sun was beating through a hazy yet cloudy sky.......our first humidity in five weeks. What we saw of the sun, didn't last long. Within 15 minutes of our ride we met with a think fog bank with winds in our face, of course.

At times we could only see a 100 yards in front of us, the trucks had the same disadvantage.

It was an eerie morning, but the fog did keep the temperature in the mid 60's.
Close to noon, the sky began to clear and we were able to see more creatures,
....and oil rigs.
Yes, we're still in Kansas.
We were beckoned into Ness City by the local welcoming committee
and were joined at lunch with Skyler, leaving his former home in Sonoma, California to his new home in Macon, Georgia.
Since Sky had a much more aggressive time schedule, he continued east and we continued to the next hotel. 58 miles today.

Day 35 - Saturday July 19 - Ness City to Larned, Kansas

Out of the door this morning (literally) we have a flat tire. A quick fix and we were on our way at 6:30 am. As we biked out of town we were greeted by a magnificent sunrise

that seemed to change by the minute. The clouds that gave us the sunrise show, also provided us wonderful shade for most of the day.
The sun did come out long enough to kiss the Lazy Susans and give them a direction to face.
We came across some 'post rock' limestone fence posts,
erected in 1880'a in lieu of wooden post due to lack of trees. There are an estimated 40,000 miles of them still in this area.

We did have a mild SSW wind that gave us a little push except for the 19 miles we headed directly south.
Ducky III and Quackers had the opportunity to meet the modern day Tin Man
and we caught a mule deer stealing some sweet corn.

Several cows mooned us as we biked by;
payback for the stampede Jerry had caused their cousins a few days earlier.

A quick trip through Fort Larned (a line of forts that in the 1860's defined the southwestern military frontier), which has been fabulously restored....

and on to the town of Larned for a hotel room. Logged 67 miles today and the end of week 5.