Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

54 days, 3,783 miles, Jul-Aug 2010

Ray Jardine

2010-08-13Kansas page 29 of 54

Day 29, Kansas

From Leoti to Rush Center

I left Leoti early (of course) and headed out into the great unknown. "Unknown" because I had not been here before. "Great" because these grasslands (Great Plains) are very beautiful in early morning, especially for someone like me who is not used to such expansive horizons that seem to go on forever. It's almost like being out at sea. But here we have the seas of wheat, the seas of corn, and the seas of pasture lands. And as the sun begins rising in the east, it bathes the seas in colors of pink and rose to match the warm golden hue of the clouds. Oh what a lovely, special time; and its that way every morning - for us early risers.

I was on such a roll that I rolled right through Scott City, at mile 25, without stopping. Then in another 24 miles I stopped for a snack at Dighton. Then 32 miles later I stopped at Ness City for cold drinks, because the day was growing hot. So far today I had tailwinds, so I was making the miles. But on this Friday the 13th that was about to change.

Stopped for a snack at Dighton.

Taking a break in the shade, at a George Washington Carver memorial

In another ten miles I stopped at Beeler, parked my bike next to a filling station, and got two flat tires. Slow leaks, that is; I didn't find out until after another mile down the road, in the blazing sun with no shade. To make a long story short, it took me two hours to make the repairs, for all sorts of reasons. And once I got back on the road, I was cooked and out of energy. And not only that, I was now bucking headwinds. So it was a slow bunch of miles to Rush Center.

This small town had not much to meet the eye, but I did find an empty utility garage in which to set down to rest in the shade, drink water and cool off. A cottontail rabbit sat on the other side of the dirt floor, watching me the whole time. the animal was so cute.

The gas station across the street sold cold sodas for 50 cents a can, but that was about it, in the way of refreshments. I bought two. Then I asked the lady attendant about a café, and she recommended the bar/restaurant across the street as the only option. Well you had to be there to believe it. The metal building looked old and unused, as if caught in a time zone. Outside it was completely non descript. I could not even find the right door. But inside it was a lively place, for the locals - good food and friendly folks.

I asked the waitress about camping, and she recommended the nearby city park. It was not much, and very close to someones 5th-wheel type mobile home. They guy was out front, so I asked him if it was OK to camp here, and he said "Sure, go ahead."

So I pitched my tarp and then patched the two inner tubes. To locate the leaks, I found an empty plastic drinks cup in the trashcan, that someone had thrown away, and I filled the cup with water from a nearby spigot. Then section at a time I dunked the inner tube in the cup to check for bubbles.

Camped at the Rush Center city park.

For tarp supports I'm using a chain-link fence on one end, and a swing set on the other end.

There was so much more that happened today, but with limited time to write I can only summarize the day's events. But that's why I enjoy these trips, they are brimming with interesting events. But today's experiences centered around people. I had interesting and lovely interactions with so many friendly people, all along the way today. It boggles the mind to discover what people are really like, at least in these more rural settings.

Miles pedaled today: 114

The story has 54 pages. This is page 29.
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