Saturday, July 4, 2009
Day 28 - Abilene, KS to Topeka, KS
Happy Fourth of July! It's not the heat, it's the humidity...Our day started out early, but it was warm and humid. Both the warmth and the humidity would be with us all day. I decorated my bike with some red, white, and blue garland and shared the leftovers with Leigh. We now had matching Independence Day bikes. Just in case there were any small town parades we might join.
In fact, the only parade we were a part of was the one we created when we rode down the Main Street of Enterprise, KS around 7:00 a.m. I saw a man walking along and said, "Hey, you're the only one who got up for our parade!" He smiled. We rode on. The morning was beautiful as the sun shone on the prairie. It looked like it could get hot fast, but fortunately a cloud cover kept us cool for most of the day.
We cycled past farms and ranches. I was really amazed again at how beautiful this part of Kansas was. Wheat fields shined in the morning sunlight and barns and silos stood out amongst the trees. As we rode on into the day, we began enjoying "rollers." Small hills that went up and down and back up again. We really enjoyed it when we had enough momentum from the descent to go back up the next hill!
Our route took us through several more small towns, each decorated for the Fourth of July and getting ready for an afternoon of celebrations. It would be fun to stop in on these small towns and see how they spend the Fourth. At one of our SAG stops later in the day, we were in a community park where families were gathered for picnics and enjoying three-legged races. A guitarist and singer tried their best to add music to the event in the park's gazebo. The feedback was only momentary, but it didn't help their cause!
All of us wore our red, white, and blue America by Bicycle jerseys today to add to the color and excitement of the day. A number of locals saw us on the roads or in cafes and restaurants and asked us about our ride. It's always fun to see their surprise when we mention how far we've travelled and how far we are going.
The region we were exploring is known as the Flint Hills. It's Kansas' last remaining area of tall grass prairie. The scenery is unlike anything we've experienced in Kansas thus far. Rolling green hills, wildflowers, trees, and cattle grazing lazily in the sun. Further along, we neared Topeka and began noticing bizarre cycling-related sculptures. The first one was a mash-up of bike parts, bike tires, and frames. Fortunately, no cyclists were mashed up within the sculpture. Down the road, we saw metal creatures eating bikes. It kinda caused some alarm, as if this was "fair warning" to all passing cyclists. We made it through unscathed, at least physically. I think emotionally, I might have some cycling sculpture nightmares...
When we arrived at the Holiday Inn, I noticed the sign on the reader board outside the hotel welcoming us. However, here in Kansas they use an alternate spelling of "bicycle." The reader board says, "WELCOME AMERICA BY BYCYCLE" Yeah, bicycle with TWO Ys! Well, maybe the proofreader was on Fourth of July holiday.
Tomorrow we'll (finally) leave Kansas, cross the Missouri River and enter the state of Missouri. You can count on how I'll title my blog... "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore!" We'll also finish this segment of the ride and have our third rest day. I'm looking forward to that. I've got laundry to do, a bike to clean, and a computer to troubleshoot so I can get my photos off my camera! Happy Independence Day, everyone!
To view more photos from today's Fourth of July parade, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100322
To learn more about the Ride for Impact, visit http://www.rideforimpact.org
Cumulative Miles: 2,113
Cumulative Flats: 5
Elev Gain: 3,568 ft.
Max Elev: 1,702 ft.
Avg Climb: 2%
Max Climb: 7%