June 30, 2006
I was late getting started today, after yesterday’s long 88 miles. My nose was running like a faucet too… my allergies have been acting up the last few nights. It’s annoying and makes it hard to get a good night’s sleep. I’d say maybe I have a cold, but it only happens at night.
I had breakfast at a place called Cookie’s, locally famous for their wide variety of fresh exotic pie. I didn’t have any pie because I was full from three huge pancakes. Inside the restaurant I met some more eastbound riders – brothers from England. They were positive and fun, and had the jovial, bouncy manners that you often find with the English. I told them how I had a dream two nights ago that the plastic piece that holds the handlebar bag onto my bike snapped off, and how last night I dreamed that I was cleaning the chain on my bike and doing maintenance. “Maybe you should take a day off!” they kidded me.
When I started riding I was blasted by a headwind, and not feeling overly enthusiastic. Progress was slow and boring, so I tried rigging my radio to my right ear, leaving the left open so I could still hear the sparse traffic. This worked out great, and soon enough I was at the Kansas state line!
So then with the help of some sodas, my spirits were soaring. I pulled into Pittsburgh Kansas, a fairly large town. Early in the day I was thinking about stopping here for the night, but now I was undecided. I saw a Super 8 Motel… flanked on one side by a beer/liquor store… on the other by a McDonald’s. It doesn’t get much more tempting than that. I went in the McDonalds to think it over.
I was feeling more energetic after a huge soda and the usual fare, and rode on to a town called Girard… no sense in being a wuss when I have plenty of daylight, and loads of miles left in the legs. It’ll be the 4th of July in a few days, and I’ll want an easy day then.
Girard was a cool little town. My energy was still up, so I thought “What the heck, why not,” and rode now even farther to Walnut, where I am for the night. That last stretch turned out to be the best part of the day. As I’ve said before, I love riding in the evenings. Sometimes I hit a sort of euphoric state where I just hear the wind in my ears, and watch it ripple in the tall grass… or watch it make the fields of corn dance, and look at cows lope along away from me, watching their heads turn as I ride by… getting waved at by people on tractors… that sort of thing. And this seems to happen most often in the evenings.
Now I’m in my tent pitched in the town park, and should sleep like a rock tonight. Life is good.