Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Heart Kansas - lil' East of Walnut, KS


I feel like I'm getting to know Kansas in a hurry, and I like it - headwinds and all. I woke up several times on nervous storm-alert, last night, only to recall that I was in my hammock, and under a sturdy shelter besides. Bring it on, sky. I don't think it ever did storm, but the wind howled all night and into the early morning.

Today was almost a rest day. Because I did eventually roust myself from the Girard Library and totter out to the church outside Walnut, I don't have to call it one, though. I met a pair of westbounders in said library - one of them being yet another female cyclist who can plough into a headwind in withering heat and still look all cool and hip, while I'm a splotchy mess of bugbites, sunburn, and heatrash, with permanent helmet head(A shower + 24 hours of no helmet and I can still clearly see the pattern of the vents in my hair. Maybe it's actually growing in uneven...). They're heading to Denver for the Tour De Fat, and now I have that thought in my head....

I often read crazyguy journal entries ahead of my route, so I know better what to expect, and it seems like Kansas is a real love it or hate it state. It's a bottleneck, it's unpredictable. You can glide 100 miles one day, then the wind turns and out labouriously crank out 40. As the scenery begins to change into typical Kansas - rolling blue-and-gold, I'm validating my assumption that I will like Kansas. I do like it. It's familiar enough not to be alien, but different enough to be interesting. I feel like I'm getting out west, finally. It smells nice. I'm grinding into a headwind, with stormclouds moving to intersect me, my rear tire steadily leaking air and requiring a top-off every few miles. I'm giddy. I am thrilled to be in Kansas.

My roost for tonight is one of several great TransAm stops in the state. Cyclists are allowed to spend the night in the fellowship hall of the Immanual Lutheran Church five-ish miles outside of Walnut. We're also treated to a very functional kitchen bursting with frozen and non-perishable food. There's probably enough ground beef in the freezer to reconsitute a cow! I'm here alone again, but in this case I don't mind, since I'm more comfortable puttering around in kitchens late into the night by myself(and because, tragically, the dinner I made didn't turn out nearly as good as I'd hoped.... the brownies are pretty nice, though).

Stellar accommodations in Girard.

KS-7 out of Girard.

Even the cows look a bit friendlier here.

Approaching the Immanuel Lutheran Church, which is a few miles away from the town of Walnut, surrounded by field and pasture.

Fixing the flat. After I got the tube all nice and patched up, the valve broke and I had to use a new one after all.

The culprit, a Buffalo Bur spine.

The plucked goose.

The church itself. The building where cyclists are invited to stay is behind it, in the fellowship hall.

Evening view from the church.

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