Reporting on: Saturday, May 30, 2009
Riding Route: From Dodge City to Great Bend, KS
Temperature: 60 - 90 degrees/Winds: 15 mph tailwinds
Elevation Climb: 800 feet
Miles Ridden Tiday: 86
This was day 22 of our ride - and it was another very good one with favorable weather conditions. Remember a few days ago when I asked you to pray to the wind gods to be on our side? Well, many of you must have put in some good thoughts, because today we had 15 mph winds pushing us. We barely had to pedal at all! (When we had the headwinds I was averaging 10 mph - but today I/we averaged over 20 mph). It certainly made the 86 miles whiz by!
We passed miles and miles more of the amber waves of grain! At mile 60 wepassed Highway 50 - the same highway that passes just a mile or so from our home in California. In Kinsley, KA we stopped at the halfway point between San Francisco and New York City (picture above). This is also an area where the Santa Fe RR passes through - and as you can see from the picture I'm just testing the weight of that engine. Nope, I couldn't budge it!
The highlight of our history lesson today was stopping at the Pawnee Rock Historical Marker. Rising up out of the plains, Pawnee Rock (pictured above) was a landmark for explorers and a popular campsite for travelers crossing the prairie. The large rock formation later became a popular stop on the Santa Fe Trail for the white settlers heading west in search of adventure and fortune. The Rock was considered the mid-point of the long road between Independence, MO and Santa Fe. Water, provided by the nearby Arkansas River, and fresh meat, obtained by plentiful game, was vital to the survival of the wagon trains. It's said that this is where the Indians came to hunt buffalo before the white man came. They could get up on the rock outcroppings and look down over hundreds of thousands of buffalo. But between 1872 and 1878 it's estimated that that white man killed over 3 Million buffalo - and it dessimated the food supply for the Indians - driving them out of the region. We all know this sad story.
You might wonder what I think about on the long rides. Of course my mind is all over the place, but recently I've done a survey on how cars and trucks react to bike riders on the road. When we have big berms to ride on it's not a problem, but when we only have a 2 foot berm things can get tight. My survey took into account only vehicles traveling the same direction as us:
25% move all the way over into the opposite lane (when possible)
50% go right down the center line
15% move toward to center line, but not all the way
5% don't move at all
3% move in towards us - to crowd us as much as possible
2% get as close as they can and then blow their horns - which can really startle us!
Well, that's it for now! We're off to McPherson, KS tomorrow!
(Do you know you can double click on the photos to get a close up view?)