I spent the last week pedaling my stupid ass across the state of Kansas.Or should I say I spent the last week pedaling my ass across the stupid state of Kansas. Either way works, actually.
I have taken my fair share of digs on Kansas since I have arrived. In my defense, the part of the state I have seen deserves 99% of it. Kansas is one of the national leaders for corn and cattle, but a black hole for adventure activity. It’s also one of the states in dreaded tornado alley.
I left Wichita earlier than usual on Wednesday night. The weather was still hot and I had a sick feeling in my stomach. It made me a little edgy. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but something strange was lurking.
I’m slowly drifting back into my sarcastic frame of mind after being on the road for so long.
My original hypothesis before I left the east coast was that my trip across the country would mirror a trip across the state of North Carolina, on an obviously larger scale. What I thought was that I would have loads of experiences on the coast and in the mountains and hit a noticeable void in the middle.To this point, except for a few exceptions, I have been spot on with that guess.
This summer will go down as one of the hottest and driest in decades. Being outdoors is a chore. Riding a bike across the country is just plain mad. Globtrekkin means we’re exposed to the elements. When they get too overbearing, we adjust our tactics and keep on rolling. Hobbs and I have been hard on the road since we left Little Rock with little to no real substantial rest. We got caught sleeping (literally) today and paid the price.
For sleepy time, I’ve gotten good at disguising myself well enough to stay out of sight and well enough to be noticed if need be. Riding a bike halfway across the country, I’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing the things that others don’t as they zip by in their car. The only problem, is I put myself in pretty high traffic areas and passing cars don’t make the best sleeping companions. Sometimes, I get lucky and find a place off the beaten path, yet still in a noticeable area.
I found myself in Springfield a little differently than I have found myself in most of the cities and towns I have visited. Most of them have been at random. This was one of the few that was actually planned. Most people plan weeks in advance. When I say it was planned, it was done so a few days in advance.
Wednesday, I left Branson and rode to Springfield, Missouri around 7:30pm to avoid the heat. Here are the top three reasons to ride a bicycle from Branson to Springfield, in ascending order:
I’m not bashing either of these towns. I’m just reporting about the ride itself. If you’re in for a joyride, find another spot. Having said that, I’ll let you do any further research to make up your own mind.
Late yesterday afternoon, I rolled into my tenth state.
We have bounced between North and South Carolina, over the Smokey Mountains, through Gatlinburg and the eastern part of Tennessee. We spent a few days in Georgia, before finding Mentone, Alabama. We weathered in a storm in Pensacola, Florida, waited for shipping in Mobile, AL cruised the coast and the Natchez Trace in Mississippi. We’ve run from the humidity in Louisiana and snorting armadillos in northern Arkansas. What comes next?
If you ever find yourself riding through Arkansas on HWY 65 with a spouse or significant other and you can pick the right time for an argument, start choosing your words wisely in Conway so the spat concludes with the two of you staring out of opposite windows just south of Clinton. By the time you reach the hill overlooking Marshall, you’ll be a shoe-in for the sought after smoke afterwards.