Bicycling the TransAmerica Trail

Cycling Across the US, Coast to Coast

Bicycling Adventure #3

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

Ray Jardine

2010-08-16Kansas page 32 of 54

Day 32, Kansas

From Newton to Yates Center

I left Newton about 20 minutes before sunrise, and pedaled eleven miles east on 1st Street, in light headwinds, then 8 miles south on Butler, past Whitewater, to Hwy 196. This highway was busier than I would have liked, but it had a wide shoulder although lots of tire wires. Then came a three mile section of freeway to the busy city of El Dorado.

On the other side of town I stopped at a small out-of-the-way restaurant for breakfast. The cook looked like a hard-core biker, and seemed to be running the place. We got to talking abut motorcycles (his was parked outside the building) and he said a guy recently hit a deer and got "messed up pretty bad."

From there I followed the 54 to Eureka in strong headwinds, peddling an average of 9 mph. The whole rest of the day was like that, so I got a good workout. I even got a workout going down the only hill at 11 mph with the same amount of pedaling.

while at a c-store in Eureka, a guy pulled up in a most distinctive truck, that I called the "cutting edge" because he had welded a cross-cut saw to the roof. When you see something like that, you know you're likely to have an interesting conversation. And indeed that proved the case.

The guy called himself "Red" and I asked about his truck. "A conversation piece," he explained. "Take that gun. I found it with the stock burned off and rusted closed, so I welded it to the front of my truck, then at an auction a guy told me that it was worth $500 before I did the welding." Red showed me more features, like the variety of logging hooks welded to both sides of the vehicle, then explained that during Halloween he ties 50 cow skulls on them, then he takes the grand-kids out for trick or treats. They have a lot of fun, he said.

Red and his "cutting edge" truck.

He also said he sees many cyclists passing through, from all sorts of different states and countries. He said he rescued a group of four from the Netherlands that he found holed up beneath a bridge "during a tornado." He took them to his home and fed them dinner, then later he received a card of thanks, which meant a lot to him.

A nice rest stop with a shaded picnic table

The next stop was 16 miles further on, at a nice rest stop replete with a shaded picnic tables and restroom. Then more pedaling at 9 mph to the town of Yates Center where I called it a day.

The lady owner of a motel was extremely nice, and easy to talk to. She explained, without my asking, that most residents of this town were descended from a certain foreign country, and were not so fond of outsiders. She said that although she was descended from the same country as them, her linage didn't go back far enough, so she was still considered an outsider.

Miles pedaled today: 101

The story has 54 pages. This is page 32.
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