April 29, 1999
|My watch alarm woke me up at 6am. Looking out the
window, my eyes were greeted by another dark, cloudy morning. Only this time it
wasnt very wet outside. Leaving the motel, I rode into a cold (45 degrees) morning
with wet streets and drizzling rain. It was hard to enjoy the ride since I was so focused
on how much I dislike the cold and the wind. After about 11 miles I reached the junction
of 281 and the Mid-Way co-op gas station. I went inside the station to use the bathroom
and get my feet warm. I had a ski mask on today and 4 layers of clothes. But my feet were
still cold under my thick wool socks. Inside the store I met Angela. We talked first
about cycling; and then, about her recent trip to Europe. She happened to have photos with
her and I was able to experience small pieces of it through her pictures and stories. My
little break from the cold ended up lasting an hour as we engaged in many conversations.
One old fella reminisced about the old days when his grandfather would ride his horse from
Kansas to a town in the panhandle of Texas. He has ambitions to set out on horseback
someday and do that ride. "But they didnt have fences back then," he went
on to say, recognizing the difficulty in attempting such a thing.
Leaving the gas station, I headed north on 281. Now I have a crosswind as I tackle this very hilly road. After about 20 miles, I crest a large hill to see the town of Osborne below. Cool! It was about 4 more miles and mostly downhill. I stopped in a convenience store and asked about motels here and distance to the next town with one. The next town on my route with a motel was 55 miles away. I could still get there before sunset easily, but decided to wimp out from the cold.
Riding to the north edge of town, I found the "Camelot Inn". After checking in, ($36.45 total) I walked to the Pizza Hut next door. The hostess that seated me was not too pleasant. But another waitress, "Mel" short for Melany, came to my table with a cheerful smile. Mel took my order and with each visit to my table she listened to me as I told of my trip so far. She seemed interested but maybe she was just being nice. Sometimes when I begin talking about it I get a bit excited and tend to ramble on :-) Its just that I really cant believe Im doing this! I'll have to admit that I have fleeting thoughts of quitting during cold, windy, days like this. But once I reach a town and meet people, it makes enduring the cold worth it. I REALLY HATE COLD!!! I cant imagine how those guys bike in the winter with ice tires. They must have a much better tolerance to cold than I do. I must have poor blood supply to my distal extremities making it very easy for me to get cold.
While eating my small mushroom and green pepper pizza, I noticed an old schoolhouse across the street. After I finished eating my lunch, I walked to the schoolhouse and then to the Historical Museum next door to it. Inside the museum I met Lillian, a petite older lady. She had short graying hair and these youthful blue eyes. Lillian took me through the museum explaining the historical significance of everything on display. She is a very neat lady with a wealth of knowledge. It has taken her many years of hard work to get the historical society where it is today. There has been much resistance met by a city government that doesnt seem to appreciate the history of their culture. Lillian has fought 5 years to keep them from tearing down one of the old historic buildings downtown. Her hard work doesnt stop there either. At 75, she has decided to write a book beginning with her and branching into the lives of her ancestors. Both of her parents came from the Czech Republic and moved to Wilson (the Czech capitol of Kansas). She has been doing extensive research and recently began obtaining help from people in Czechoslovakia. Lillian is a very lovely lady and charming to talk to. I spent the whole afternoon in the museum as time escaped me. Then, as Bob finished on the computer, we realized it was 5:30pm. Bob works with the historical society and was busy training someone on their "new", donated, 486 computer. After Lillian introduced us he took an immediate interest in what I was doing and wanted a picture. He came over to the motel room and took some photos of me with my bike.
Now another night in a motel :-( I really miss those warm nights camping. Like the time when the little dust devil appeared a few feet from me as I was sitting on the ground. Those little moments like that make being in nature so awesome. I miss camping and with these short riding days Ive begun to put on weight. Its difficult to find that nutritional balance with the caloric expenditure. The temp this time of the year is supposed to be in the 70s but the high today is only 55 degrees. I hope this cold spell is over soon; then Ill start riding longer during the day.
Today - 35.19 miles