8 May 2008

More miles and hospitality

Prairie Chicken in Cassoday

Mission accomplished today! Chris has never done 100 miles in a day (94 was his record so far) so we thought today would be a good day to push things a bit, with a target of about 110 miles. My legs have been feeling good so I had no beef with another big one and we carb-loaded on all that pizza last night which helps!
Stream outside Eureka
We got up at 6 after a noisy night with what sounded like a cat being tortured pretty close by and a couple of coyotes in the woods, and hit the road via Chris' essential coffee stop. A guy at the service station warned us about the Flint Hills up ahead, which were meant to be tough but "Real Purdy"...this instantly reminded me of a few days ago when I stopped for lunch and some local rednecks were playing South Park Ringtones to each other in the restaurant and then one of them started playing "Duelling Banjos" from Deliverance....sure having a pretty mouth I was concerned.. :-(
Pretty litle cabin
Some kind of cute puppy farm
As it was, the Flint Hills were like a Fisher Price training set of hills compared to what we have been over so far and we killed off the first 35 miles in no time. We stopped in Cassoday, a tiny little town of about 100 people to refuel before a 40 mile leg with no services. Cassoday is the Prairie Chicken capital of the whole world which left me mightily impressed and the photo above is of one of those self same birds.
The ride to Newton was pleasant enough with some solid sunshine that burnt a shirtless Chris' back pretty badly. Having made the same mistake a week or so ago, I took the opportunity to laugh a lot. Newton had a big Walmart, the best friend of cyclists everywhere and so I stocked up on fruit and veg and picked up some energy spray for Amy's cousin back home (apparently it is triple strength redbull in a spray!).
Kansas has endless oil pumps in the middle of fields
Chris stopped in Walgreens to get some sunglasses having lost his back in the tornadoes in Eastern Kansas, and he has opted for some huge "Old Woman Glasses" which basically block out any hint of sunshine from your eyes, like the ones you see on pensioners in Florida. The last 20-30 miles were easy riding with only one missed turn caused by our being deep in discussion about whether there are any good female actresses that you could lead a film. There really weren't any...
Long endless road through Kansas
We pulled into Buhler about teatime and made our way to the City Park with some storm clouds in the sky. The weather in Kansas seems pretty changeable and as I was told in Pittsburg, if you don't like the weather here, just wait 30 minutes and it will change for you. As we were about to pitch tents for the night, an SUV pulled up and the driver asked us where we were from etc etc then asked if we would want to stay in the local church with showers and beds.

The storm clouds begin to clear
The magic word, 'shower' had been uttered and so were all over it like a rash. We grabbed some food and shakes from Joey's Diner which was great and then met the driver, Will, back at his house and he showed us over to the church. Now this thing wasn't a church in the traditional sense. It was the Buhler Mennonite Church (the same folk who refilled my water at their school back in Kentucky), and this thing was huge! We only saw maybe a third of the building but it had pool tables, table football, air hockey, a full size basketball court and a bar for soft drinks and popcorn!
Mennonite Super Church
Will left us to get comfortable and so I dished out a pool lesson to Chris before losing badly at basketball, then the local youth pastor Chuck came over for a chat about stuff before leaving us to our own devices. We're aiming for an 80 mile day tomorrow with another big section of no services (60 miles) but having a decent place to stay and showers will definitely help the cause, and we've been invited over to Will's place for breakfast before we leave in the morning.

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