Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Day 24 - Garden City, KS to Dodge City, KS
Today was kind of a recovery day. After riding 225 miles in the past two days, we got a chance to sleep an hour longer and ride considerably shorter. Our route from Garden City to Dodge City was just 51 miles. I left the hotel with no intention of pushing myself or riding any faster than whatever I felt like. Today I felt like "slow."
There were a few notable scenes today. The morning was quiet, with high clouds for a few hours, and flat or rolling terrain. We joked that we really could take a bunch of photos today and just distribute them among our blog entries for the next few days. There was a definite "sameness" to the scenery as it passed by. Grain silos dot the landscape and are often the centerpiece to each small town we ride through. I recall seeing three or four of them today. One of the other riders referred to them as the "Kansas Skyline."
After our midway SAG stop, we noticed a sign on Hwy 50 indicating "Overlook 1 Mile." I noticed the absence of the word "Scenic." I discovered one mile later exactly why. As we slowed to a stop in the slight pullout to our right, we could look far and wide over the Kansas landscape. In the near distance, however, we were overlooking a feed lot. Thousands of cows stood in their own waste and gazed lazily in our direction as we traded taking photos of each other at this "overlook." It occurred to me that perhaps the sign meant 'here's something you can overlook... as in skip, miss, don't stop..."
One of our fellow riders, Meiri, 38, from New York City, shared with a few of us that these days in Kansas have caused her to confront a significant fear: Agoraphobia--the fear of wide open spaces. One of the other hotel guests overheard a conversation about her and said, "She has a fear of open spaces? And she's in Western Kansas?"
In Cimarron, KS, we stopped at the Clark Drug Soda and Ice Cream Parlor. This pharmacy/ice cream shop looks not much different than it probably did 50 years ago. It's claim to fame is that Oprah Winfrey stopped in here once. She even has a smoothie named for her featuring Sierra Mist and Orange Sherbet. I had a cookies-and-cream milk shake. It hit the spot. It was fun relaxing for a few minutes and chatting with the high school girls working the counter. As we left, a family was walking in. The grandma asked where we headed. "New Hampshire," I said. "From where?!" she asked. "San Francisco." "Wow, you got a ways to go!" the dad said. Hmmm. We're almost halfway.
In fact, tomorrow we'll pass the midway point between San Francisco and New York City. There's a sign indicating it's 1,561 miles in either direction. Our actually halfway point of this ride will be on our way to Abilene, KS in a couple of days.
When we entered Dodge City, we stopped for photos atop a small hill to stand next to the cowboy figures on their horses. Look closely at the photo at the top of this blog and you'll spot me. Tonight, we'll have dinner in Dodge City and take in the Long Branch Variety Show in the Long Branch Saloon, "where Miss Kitty and Chalkley Beeson, owner of the Long Branch, will entertain you. There's singing, comedy, as well as the famous Can-Can dancers." I'll probably stick with a sarsaparilla.
Tomorrow's ride will take us to Great Bend, KS for 85 miles. Great Bend is home of the Kansas Oil and Gas Hall of Fame and Museum. So, I've got that to look forward to.
For a few more photos from today's ride including me standing in front of "Ingalls Feed Yard" and from the LongBranch Saloon, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100267
For more about the Ride for Impact, visit http://www.rideforimpact.org
Cumulative Miles: 1780
Cumulative Flats: 5
Elev Gain: 469 ft.
Max Elev: 3490 ft.
Avg Climb: 2%
Max Climb: 9%