Week #6 – Kansas Century and Kickin’ It in Colorado

Week #6 – Kansas Century and Kickin’ It in Colorado

Day #36 – June 15th, 2019

Miles – 59.9
Newton, KS -> Sterling, KS

Today was a pretty average day. The riding was fine. The best part of the day was an ice cream shop placed exactly at the entrance to town. We camped at the city park. The ACA group was there as well.

Day #37 – June 16th, 2019

Miles – 107.4
Sterling, KS -> Bazine, KS

The flat roads of Kansas are a perfect time to put in lots of miles on the TransAmerica Trail. We saw the winds were to be calm and even from the east at times¬†today, so we headed out with the intention of doing a “Kansas Century,” a ride over 100 miles.¬†

Jason and I started around 6:40AM. Sue had a 40 minute lead on us. The first 50 miles were through a mostly uninhabited land preservation. The landscape was a little more wild and there was basically no traffic. 

We caught Sue in Larned, KS, had lunch, and started the second half of the day together. This was mostly through typical Kansas fields, so it was more boring. I put my camera in my handlebar bag and tried to take pictures from the saddle to pass the time.

A highly dubious claim in Rush Center, KS.

We stayed in Bazine, KS. A man named David is starting a cyclist hostel there. He lives in an old 22,000 square foot schoolhouse with his wife and ten adopted kids. They moved to Bazine three years ago from North Carolina. They have aspirations to transform the schoolhouse into a destination therapy retreat center for adoptive families. There are lots of renovations needed on the schoolhouse still, but for $10 a piece, we got a shower, laundry, kitchen access, breakfast, and a nice place to camp. David and his family were fun and interesting and seeing their project was really neat.

Jason in front of the old schoolhouse.
David’s family’s Bengal cats.

Day #38 – June 17th, 2019

Miles – 66.3
Bazine, KS -> Scott City, KS

Navigation was easy today. We went went on the same road all day. We didn’t make a single turn. I stared at the white line of Route 96 all day. There were fields. A couple trees. Some cows. 

In Scott City, we swam at the pool. Some local kids asked me to do a backflip off the diving board. I offered a spirited cannonball instead. They were not impressed.

Jason and I had a few beers at the local bar. We sat on the patio. The owner stepped outside for a smoke and explained the rules of horseshoes to us. He then turned his back and took a piss on his own horseshoe court. Careful of where we were stepping, Jason and I tried out our horseshoe skills. Watching our throws land far from the post, a local asked us what exactly we were aiming for.

We camped at the city park. An eastward touring cyclist and one of the racers also camped in the park.

Day #39 – June 18th, 2019

Miles – 74.6
Scott City, KS -> Sheridan Lake, CO

The day started with overcast, dark weather.  We got sprinkled on some, but it never really rained. The wind made the morning difficult, but by the afternoon, it was sunny and calm.

Just before crossing into Colorado, we stopped for lunch in Tribue, KS. A man struck up a conversation about our ride. He eventually said, “Tell your friends not to come riding through here during harvest. That’s just stupid!” It was needlessly hostile and pointless, considering I don’t have any friends interested in that sort of thing. But you have been warned, dear readers.

We stayed at a church in Sheridan Lake. Sheridan Lake is nearly a ghost town. Jason and I walked around town and took pictures. With thunderstorms in the distance, it was quite scenic.

Day #40 – June 19th, 2019

Miles – 29.5
Sheridan Lake, CO -> Eads, CO

In the morning, we all decided we were feeling the long mileage and that we needed some rest. We decided to do a low mileage day and stay at the Sheridan Lake church until noon.

Once on the road, we found it to be a difficult day even though we weren’t going far. We had some strong crosswinds and discovered the road west of Sheridan Lake was chip seal. A chip seal road is rough to ride a bike on.  The little bumps vibrate the entire bike. It’s exhausting to be constantly shaken.

The landscape is becoming more arid. The wheat fields have been replaced by sage bushes and yucca plants. 

Jason gathering a sage plant.

Eads is the official halfway mark of the TransAmerica Trail. We camped at the Eads city park. Sue treated Jason and I to dinner. She will be heading south back toward Arizona tomorrow. After 4 months of bike touring, she’s ready to head home.

 Day #41 – June 20th, 2019

Miles – 78.4
Eads, CO -> Fowler, CO

The riding today was really fun. We had a tailwind, so it felt effortless. We averaged nearly 15mph. We can see the Rockies on the horizon now. An antelope (I think? Are antelopes in Colorado?) ran along side us behind a fence for a quarter of a mile. We cheered it on and tried to encourage it to keep following. 

We originally planned to ride to Ordway (60 miles). We were there by noon. Sue rode to Ordway as well and was planning to ride another 15 south, but the road she needed to use was closed. She saw Fowler on the map and a different road for a detour. She decided to stay in Fowler. Jason and I tagged along as it was only a couple miles off the TransAmerica Trail and put us 15 miles closer to Pueblo. We camped at an RV park.

Jason and I riding into Fowler, CO.

Day #42 – June 21, 2019

Miles – 43.6
Fowler, CO -> Pueblo, CO

Jason and I made pretty decent time. The ride was short and uneventful. In Pueblo, we ran some errands. I picked up a derailleur hanger I ordered through a bike shop in town. We bought some warm clothes at Goodwill, and we ate “sloppers”, hamburgers covered in chili – popular in Pueblo.

We stayed with Gloria and Shaun, a couple that hosts through WarmShowers. Gloria made us a big pasta dinner, and we talked with them about their bike tour of the Continent Divide last year. The more I hear about that route, the more I want to do it.

Tomorrow, we are getting picked up by one of Jason’s friends in Pueblo and driving to Telluride, Colorado. We’ll take a few days off the bikes. I’m looking forward to some rest. 

Week #6 Mileage: 459.7
Total Trip Mileage: 2,272.3

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