Updated: Feb 4
Day 56 07/17/22
Let's see....I had a hard time sleeping last night for three reasons. First, I have this recurring thought that we are going to get a flat on one of these 106 degree days. Second, I had a feeling that tomorrow would bring forward my worst nightmare and that would be a skankier motel than the previous days (more on that later). And lastly, I'm not sure I want to do this anymore. The heat is just taking a toll on us. When Sarah woke up at 4:30am I was ready to head in a different direction; literally, to a town where we could rent a car and go home. To my amazement she talked some sense into me. Sooo, we loaded up the bike and proceeded with plan A, to another skanker motel in the town of Ness City. Another day of riding through fields as far as the eye can see. Don't be surprised by the few pics because it all is beginning to look the same. What we did experience was a rise in humidity so the sweat glands are now working in overdrive. The ride was actually nice with little traffic on the road. I forgot to mention that two days ago we left Colorado and entered Kansas but back to today. We arrived in Ness City around 10:30am and rode right to the Derrick Motel. Right from the get go we knew we had a double skanker. The outside entry window had been shattered and the inside entry door was held by a strap to keep it open. So far so good😉. We walked up to the unattended desk that was inside the great atrium ajoined by a pool and jacuzzi. Don't get to excited, neither of them had water because they weren't operational.
A guy standing at the opposite end of the atrium, on the second floor, was hanging out the bed sheets to dry. Their dryer wasn't working and air dry was a skanky touch. He yelled to us, "do you need help," and proceeded to come down. In the meantime, another man in his bathing suit, no shirt and hairy chest came to the desk to assist us. That was a little creepy but it's a skanker. What do you expect for $45 a night? He informed us that the room was not ready and he would go change the sheets with his sweaty, hairy chest and empty the trash. We loved the express cleaning. When he was done cleaning we paid for the room while he told us the TV was not operational and you need to let the water run for up to four minutes and you will get great hot water for your shower. Also, the air conditioner in the atrium was not working to compliment the empty pool and jacuzzi. So we entered our room which he said had new carpet and remodelled bath. What? Are you kidding me? New used carpet from the 90's and the mold on the shower curtain added an earthy touch. Thankfully the air conditoner was working. The bathroom towels were a dingy yellow with other assorted colors I won't mention here. I opened up the dresser drawers to an entomologists dream, bugs! I guess we're not unpacking our clothes honey! But the bed was the best, a beauty rest from another era. A hole in the bedspread and a hole in the top sheet.
At that moment we both decided to search Google for information on bed bugs. We did check for bed bugs and none seemed to be visible to the naked eye. So now you see why I laid awake last night and why I will lay awake tonight. I can hear you saying, "Why did you choose to stay there?" Because it is the only motel in town and it's 100 degrees outside at 9:00pm. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Kansas has not been on the top of my favorite places.
Rode 54 miles today
Day 57 07/17/22
O' what a beautiful morning! It started out at 3:45am. We pedalled out of the double skanker motel by 4:30am...Hallelujah! I have found that I love riding under the cover of dark with only our headlight to show us the way.
It leaves so much for your ears to experience and your mind to imagine, not to mention, it's not HOT! As the sun rose we were treated to the changing landscape. The humidity made everything wet, including us. The terrain was more hilly than before with greener fields and lots of corn popping up in rows. We had a nice tailwind which made the ride move along at a good pace. Before we new it we arrived at our motel in Great Bend, Kansas. Thankfully it was a significant improvement over last nights beauty. We got to check in early and then went out for breakfast. The rest of the day was groceries, calling Caiden to wish him a happy birthday and planning out a new route to Washington D.C.
Rode 63 miles today.
Day 58 07/18/22
I won't bore you with breakfast details but this morning was like a sauna. A great mist was hovering on the ground and fogging up our glasses. Sarah commented that we needed wipers. I on the other hand, was sweating like a pig at 7:00am. So glad I had three full bottles of water and a big blue bottle of power aide which looks like windshield fluid. We made good time to the town of Nickerson because the wind was at our backs. As we arrived, breakfast was calling out to us but the only two restuarants in town did not open until 11:00am. So the grocery store was in our sights and a wonderful encounter came as a surprise. We were standing in front of the store when a woman (June) pulled up in her car and asked us if we needed a place to stay. We told her that we already had a place booked but she was adamant to help in some way. Over the 85 years of her life she had made it her ministry to help cyclists of which 1000+ have been under her care. It was so hot outside that she suggested we move into the store where we continued chatting. I mentioned that I needed to use a computer for downloading some maps and that was her in. She immediately drew a map to her house on a paper sack and the next thing we knew we were sitting in her front room. June introduced us to her husband Jim who had recently suffered a stroke but was in recovery. After some chatting and using her computer she invited us to lunch at the local burger joint. It was great to learn about their lives and careers and her obvious joy of helping people. She told us about the past three days of helping a high school bicycle touring group that got stranded in town because one of the kids was struck by a car and killed. The news tore at our hearts in more ways than one. As lunch was wrapping up the bill arrived and as quick as he could Jim reached for it and insisted on paying. June turned to me and said "That's what John Wesley would have done because you can't take it with you." To which I replied, "You are right! When was the last time you saw a hearse pulling a U-haul?" She laughed and we all took a picture and said our goodbyes.
Lodging for the evening was at Heddricks BnB and Exotic Animal Park. The place was unique to say the least. They housed zebras and camels and ostriches and giraffes and pigs and giant tortoises and llamas and alpacas and peacocks and horses and parrots and many more animals we could't identify. The rooms were all decorated with unique themes and ours was the Kangaroo Room. It was fun but as with all good things we had to get some sleep.
Rode 58 miles today
Day 59 07/19/22
We left under the cover of darkness again this morning and our first challenge was Mount Nickerson which Sarah aptly named after the town. The road leaving town was closed due to a bridge that was under construction. Our plan was to get through the worksite before the workers arrived in the morning. Two huge mounds of dirt stood before us and they were spanned by an uncompleted bridge. We trudged up with our bike and successfully decended the other side. It certainly was not a 14er but it was a unique obstacle to conquer.
The rest of the ride came with a nice tailwind which we always appreciate. Arriving in the town of Newton around 10:00 we found a great coffee house. It is nice to finally be in a town large enough to have such ammenities. Along the way many people were inquisitive as to our journey but we can't mention them all in this blog. We checked into the motel and I immediately took a shower but today I decided to cool off and wash my clothes all at once. I guess I have some real wash and wear clothes!
We had hoped to find an Uber so we could go see a movie but no luck they couldn't locate a driver. Dinner ended up being in a truck stop diner that we used to call greasy spoons and this one did not dissappoint. Off to bed.
Rode 46 miles today.