As though the taco feast last night wasn't enough, early this morning Alex, Ryan, Michelle and I where served a pancake and egg breakfast. Unknown to us, a boyscout troop had rented out one of the park shelters(It was a big park). Someone took note of the four cyclists(Jesse and Royal left super early again) down by the duck pond and they brougth us their breakfast leftovers. Apparently young boys don't have the appetites they used to, because the leftovers where more then enough to fill us calorie-intensive travelers up.
I was next to head out, still nice and early. Today presented a modest little bit of climbing, as the route traverses the Flint Hills region. This is the largest tract of bluegrass prairie on the continent, and it's still flat enough to see a car approaching five minutes before it passes you. I used to think getting out into the farmland of Minnesota was 'open country'. Here, the land is green and soft and the gentle rolling hills go on to the horizon. Within the massive, unobstructed dome of the sky, there is not a single cloud.
By midday, with the sun at full force, the heat started to near the point of intolerability. Ryan, Michelle, and then Alex and I all met up near a highway rest stop. Indoors, it was slightly cooler, and there was a bathroom to wash off in. Alex has broken a spoke, and we all gathered around to watch him fix it. His bike is having a hard time dealing with his speed and trailer-load. He just might be sticking with us until Pueblo, now. As the sun moved on and the heat let up just a little bit, I got back on the road. Michelle and Ryan left soon after, but Alex stayed longer for the acoustics. I try hard to get moving before everyone else to compensate for being the slowest rider of the bunch. With the long August days, I have no trouble keeping up with the daily milage, I'm just the last to arrive at the end of the day. Being crazy fast, Alex has a lot of flexibility and free time!
Not far down the road, Ryan and Michelle rocketed past. Just a bit further, I find them on the highway shoulder with two new cyclists. They always find the cool stuff first! These two didn't seem to happy with Kansas so far. They'd just come out of Colorado and where leery of the idea of having to actually pedal all the time. We tried to cheer the up with stories of the great hospitality up ahead. They told us things could get more expensive in Colorado and beyond. I think to myself that they're looking in the wrong places. I do hope Kansas showed 'em it's good face in the end.
We had some relief from the sun, today, as it was rather cloudy. Still plenty hot, though. I stopped often for moody Kansas prairie photos. In Ness City, another relative of Ryan's welcomed us. Rosalie, a well traveled, worldly woman of wide and varied interests, put us up in a well outfitted trailer on her property. Showers, good food, and comfy beds for all! There was even mention of bacon in the morning...