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’ve found myself doing things naturally, that would never have occurred to me before. Recently, I began gathering dead branches and scattering them around the ground by my hammock. My run-in with what I thought was a bear that turned out to be a obnoxiously loud snorting armadillo caused me to dress my rest spot better.
Now, if something gets close to where I am hanging, I get an early heads up to their approach. I started doing this one night when I was hanging my hammock and found myself crunching the dead limbs under my feet. Voila! A natural security system.
Sleep comes in spurts right now. Most recently, it comes when it’s needed. It’s hard to sleep an entire night outside; exposed, but I can squeeze in enough hours to recharge the batteries until the next nods start creeping up my neck and over my eyelids.
Saturday morning, I slept for a few hours in some trees alongside the highway. I woke up with six or seven ticks. This morning, I slept on the front porch of a church.
Trees are not as readily available in Kansas as they have been. The ones that are there are in pastures with the cows, behind barbed wire fences. I woke up after a few hours this morning with some other kind of bug bites all over my lower legs. They look look spider bites, but I’m not sure.
I am riding in the late into the night and early mornings. I plan to continue this until I get into the Rockies and out of this heat. The good part, is the temperatures at night have been awesome. I actually put on my fleece last night, when it dipped below 70 F.
I am now in Kansas. I crossed over the border last night, some time after dark. So far, it’s pretty much what I expected.
When I was in Asheville, NC, I spoke to a guy on the street that stopped me for a few minutes to chat. He told me he has a friend that rode cross country and when he got to Kansas, he cried several times on his way through. The flat terrain and expansive fields ushered in massive headwinds that slammed him almost to a standstill. I was told it took everything he had to move and he still felt like he wasn’t making any progress.
Another good part about traveling at night is the fact that I am avoiding these big winds that spring up during the daylight hours. I am not big on crying.
Where Do They Shop?
I was told the landscape in Kansas is flat. I wouldn’t describe it as flat. It’s more of a gentle roll that resembles the ocean when standing on shore and looking just past the breakers.
It’s beautiful and sparsely populated. The towns are fairly spread out, so if you find yourself riding this section of the country, take plenty to eat and drink with you. Especially, if you ride at night. There are no stores open after midnight, so far. Maybe that changes.
The images I saw this morning, as I rolled over the barren, brown waves are pretty depressing. The cornfields are almost completely wiped out. if they pull an ear of corn from this, I’ll be surprised.
One farmer, probably disgusted with looking at his crop, went ahead and did some trimming to the field. Maybe he can at least salvage this section for his family.
The first part of eastern Kansas is full of fields for cattle and grazing. I am not sure what the cow per acre ratio is supposed to be, but I’m pretty sure it’s more than a few dozen to these massive tracts of land. As I ride by, the cows pick up there heads and stare as if there stuck behind a quarantine glass wall, waiting for another bleak diagnosis, wondering if more food will be around, or if they’ll be put down early.
I sent out quite a few emails to bed and breakfasts yesterday and got a pretty good response rate. Most of the replies were from Colorado Springs. One was from Garden City, Kansas. If I keep pedaling hard, I can hit Colorado by Friday morning. I’m not sure if I can keep up that pace, though.