I am two days from reaching the Colorado border. So far in Kansas I have met up with a great group of riders who are all traveling the same way I am, received great kindness from a 92 year old woman named Effie, been blown away (literally and figuratively) by the landscape, had some damn fine pie, spoke with people about how they approach potentially charged political discussion, and finally was serenaded by a barbershop quartet of four old men who call themselves F.O.G. (Four old guys).
Today I biked 54 miles from Ness City, KS to Scott City, KS. The bikers I have been meeting at the common city park campground at end of each day all decided to wake up early in hopes of leaving before the heat and the wind. I decided to as well. By 12pm, winds reached speeds of 20-25 mph coming from the south and the air temp was around 93 degrees. Luckily by this point we had finished the days miles, but not before being greatly challenged by the wind, sun and heat.
In Rush Center, KS a few days ago, a fellow rider named Joe and I stopped at a cafe and walked in to find a group of elderly individuals sitting at a table. At the center of the table was a stack of honey buns, lemon cake, and cookies. There was also coffee available. We were graciously greeted by the owner, Effie, who is 92 years old. She told us that she was not open, but we were free to join them for coffee and cookies. It was an incredible experience to be met with such kindness and to speak with individuals who had served in WWII. Everyone who was at the table had grown up in Rush Center. Some of them had left the city and returned, others never left. They shared military and travel stories while we drank coffee and ate cookies.
Here is a photo of everyone:
In Golden City, KS I stopped at Cooky’s, a cafe known for their pie. I ordered two slices of pie each with a scoop of ice cream- one blueberry and one apple. They were delicious. I chatted with the locals while eating.
Two days ago, I was staying in Newton, KS with a warmshowers host named Janet and her husband Orvin. They are both chemists. Janet worked for a drug company while Orvinh worked for an oil company. They kindly provided me with a place to sleep indoors, a tour of Janet’s Alma Mater, Bethel, a meal of spaghetti, and some good conversation. They are both Mennonite and Janet shared with me a bit about the history of the Mennonites. It was a very wonderful experience. They live in a large Victorian home that they are restoring. It was built in 1844 and is absolutely beautiful.
Janet drove the support vehicle when Orvin and their adopted children rode to Alaska on a bicycle trip two years ago. They told me stories of their trip and it sounded like a wonderful experience.