Friday, June 29, 2012

Kansas Heat

It. Is. Hot.

For nearly a week now we've had temps above 90 degrees. The last couple of days have been in the 100's. Couple that with long rides, between 75 miles and 97 miles, crosswinds that force you to have to struggle to keep the bike on the road, and not much in the way of shade during the ride, and you have a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, I've not encountered any awful situations, but I've been whipped by the end and just want to find a place to take a nap. So that's exactly what I've been doing. My life these days goes like this: eat, bike, eat, hydrate, hydrate, bike, eat, hydrate, bike, nap, eat, sleep, get up and repeat. Hubby keeps teasing me that this whole biking across America is really an opportunity to eat as much as I want at all the different diners along the way. I can't really disagree with that.

Today we stopped in Newton, Kansas to eat breakfast at Karen's Kitchen. I had a strawberry banana smoothie along with the egg and bacon sandwich. Just as I was taking my first bite, the Sea to Shining Sea cyclists rolled through town. Two of the cyclists attend the same community college where I teach, so I jumped up, ran outside to wave them down, but by the time I'd reached the sidewalk they'd already passed. I knew we'd be crossing paths sometime in Kansas, and today was that time.

Though Kansas is a furnace, it is also quite beautiful: the prairielands, the cattle, the windmills, the horses, and the wildlife. I've so enjoyed all the birds, especially the split-tailed fly catcher. Today, a huge hawk flew to a utility pole and landed. I stopped to admire it and it looked down at me as if to say, "Lowly human." We stared at each other for a few seconds before it took off. As we were passing by a pond where the cattle were wading into the water, a Great Blue Heron skimmed over the top of the water, coming to light at the edge. Such a regal bird. Add in all the finches and bluebirds and Kansas is a birdwatcher's heaven.

Tomorrow takes us to Larned, Kansas. 77 miles. Temps: still hot.

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