Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

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

Ray Jardine

2010-08-15Kansas page 31 of 54

Day 31, Kansas

From Great Bend to Newton

I left Great Bend a bit later than normal, and pedaled the 10 miles to Ellingwood, slowly in headwinds. The sky was full of clouds so at least the day was nice and cool.

While there I stopped for refreshments, and found that although the town is pretty, the residents I encountered were generally unfriendly to strangers, same as in the previous town of Great Bend. Not hostile, but ranging from indifferent to a bit more so.

I suppose it is much the same in most any town or city of size, but the contrast hit me, to realize that people in the cities have lost some of their sense of humanity for each other.

While riding across the country, and meeting people in small, rural settings, I have witnessed hundreds of examples of people being considerate of me and each other. Dozens and dozens each day. For a while I thought it was just me. That somehow I have been able to bring out the best in people. But now back in the cites again, I have realized that it wasn't me at all. And what I have learned might apply to most any city person reading this. There's a better world outside your cities, in some key respects, although you might not see it. But I have been riding through it for weeks and weeks, and have witnessed it for myself.

After taking a break in Lyons city park, I got back on the road again, and the headwinds only intensified the further I pedaled, and in my rear-vision mirror I began to notice a big, black cloud forming behind me. Also, this blackness was slowly catching up with me. And I had the feeling that the blackness was trying to suck me into it, because of the increasing headwinds. And to add to this sensation, that I was going slightly uphill - for miles.

Gathering blackness behind me

Now rain was falling a ways behind me, and the occasional bolt of lightning was flashing in the distance.

Finally a few drops of rain caught up with me, and the headwinds quit so at least I could pick up some speed.

I pulled in to a c-store on the outskirts of McPherson, and soaking wet I parked the bike out of the rain, and went inside. (And no, the clerk was not friendly. But at least she was tolerant of me sitting at a table inside, waiting for the rain to stop).

A great place to wait out the rain.

The rain lasted 2.5 hours.

The rain lasted 2.5 hours, then I put on my parka and began to pedal SE along the "Old 81" but first I had to find this road, and that took awhile. Then I went through Moundridge and eventually to Newton.

At Newton I pedaled through town, and then a couple miles east on 1st street to the 81 interstate and a motel.

Miles pedaled today: 94

The story has 54 pages. This is page 31.
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