Day 13: Stafford, KS - Hutchinson, KS. 40 miles. Got to Hutchinson today and to a bike shop tomorrow. Food market nearby where I picked up some food. Could not bring myself to eat at a Pizza Hut again. NO! The motel had a PC available to lodgers that I used for quite a while. Incredible how the internet has become an integral part of my life. The last time I rode across country, I only had a phone card. No cell phone, no PC, no GPS. OMG! Went to Harley's Bicycle shop ( http://harleysbicycles.com/) in Hutchinson where I picked up a tire, gloves, CO2 cartridges and a frame pump. The tire was not a folding one, so I decided to put it on the rear wheel and put the folding Panaracer back in the panniers as a backup. Bob, the owner of Harley's, let me change the tire in his bike shop. The shop has been open since 1922. Incredible. It's the only one in a city of 60,000 population. Heading to Park City, KS, tomorrow.
Day 14: Hutchinson, KS - El Dorado, KS. 73 miles. Decided to go to El Dorado. The weather was great and it was supposed to be rainy on Tuesday...90% chance of rain after midnight...!! Damn. So, plans changed en route. Found a motel next to a restaurant that opens at 0600, which works to help get me on the road by 0700. Also, next door was a Mexican restaurant that served beer! First beer I've had since Socorro. It wasn't Socorro Springs Brewery, but it was beer....Dos Equis XX amber. Not much to do in El Dorado on a rainy day, so I will wash some clothes, check my route, read a little, clean up the bicycle...and check it out. Will head to Yates Center tomorrow. 63 miles. Then to Ft. Scott, Ks.
Some thoughts about the folks that I met in Montezuma, KS...while I mentioned they were Mennonites, it was because I had never met anyone who was a Mennonite. If the rest of the world was as nice as these folks are, we'd be doing pretty well in the world!!! Restored my faith in the human race. Human kindness and the human touch are extremely powerful. While I was worried about my bicycle, my rear wheel, etc., I felt very comfortable with Jerrell, his friends, family, etc. Leaving the next day, I felt a bit uncomfortable knowing that there was no other bicycle shop, etc., until I got to Hutchinson, KS, which was almost 170 miles down the road. So, when I got to Dodge City and the rear wheel began to rub against the bike frame, I was more than concerned. When Bill, the guy who works for G & G auto dealership in Dodge City asked me how things were going, I told him that I was having some problems...to which he said, "If you need work done on your bicycle, this is the only place in Dodge where you can get help." Those words sounded sweet! And I also thought...another Auto service center like Jerrell had only larger. What's with that? Anyways, we discovered that my rear tire was coming off the rim, so we got it back on, pumped up and I made arrangements to call Bill after I got settled into a motel. Dodge City is not bicycle friendly. Roads are built for motor vehicles only. And it's just a tourist town. I knew that up front but I thought there might be something worthwhile seeing there. Not the case. I did find Cup of Jo-nes, though. Good espresso and good food. A welcome change from the terrible to mediocre food that I'd been finding along the way. Well, now I can say that I went to Dodge City and that I got out of Dodge!
Altered my route a bit, not the direction or road, just the places where I stopped, but, when I get to Clinton, MO, I'll be back on my route again. Tomorrow, I will ride to Yates Center, KS, then to Ft. Scott, KS, the next day. Ft. Scott will be the first Civil War site I will visit. It was part of the Bloody Kansas war that preceded the Civil War over whether Kansas would be a Free or Slave state. Ft. Scott was a Union fort.
Haven't been able to download pics/videos yet. Hoping to do so at someone's home soon via Warmshowers.org. The library PCs, etc., won't let me. I will get them up as soon as possible.
The other thing that I've noticed while cycling by myself and having only me to converse with is how time goes by. Sometimes, it feels incredibly slow, but I then realize that it has gone by quite quickly. Same with distances. I can look, some days, 15 miles down the road, which seems like a long way until I get there and see another 15 miles down the road. When I look to the horizon, I can see for at least 100 miles in any direction. Big sky country!
This has been a good adventure and I'm glad that I am tackling this. When my Dad was my age, he had a heart attack. My plan is to not do that. Legs feel good; tan lines are more dramatic. I miss my wife, Eileen, and I think she misses my cooking. Doesn't sound like she's been a gourmet since I headed out. I also miss my friends and hometown...Silver City!! For those of you who live in Silver City, please understand that Silver City is a GREAT small town. Trust me. I have seen and stayed at several by this point in my ride and they do NOT compare. While Silver City does not have everything, what it does have is much more than the ones that I've seen while cycling. Nor do these towns have the quality of food that we have available to us in Silver City in restaurants, etc....and none of these towns have a Co-op where good food is available for purchase. These places also don't have Jake, Rob, Greg, Diane, etc., which we are blessed to have in Silver City. Amazing what we have!! Appreciate it and tell them that you're glad they're there!!
Enough for now. More later. Here's one from Bruce Springsteen..Human Touch: