July 6, 2006
I slept like a rock last night, and woke up in my tent at about 9am. My allergies are still awful in the morning and at night – basically whenever I’m not riding. It’s really annoying to have to constantly wipe my nose, and it’s affecting my enjoyment of this trip.
I hung around town for a while this morning, mostly at the grocery store and library… sitting around sneezing, scratching mosquito bites, and being uncomfortable. I was very tempted to get a room for the night and take a full day off, but finally at about 2pm I told myself to quit being a wimp, and biked on out. I figured that the best thing to do is to keep moving – taking a day off won’t move me further away from whatever allergen is bothering me. A good philosophy with this sort of trip is: When in doubt, just keep moving.
I saw a whole lot of nothing today – it was really cool. All around me was mostly open, level fields that stretched to the horizon, and sparse traffic. It was a great feeling to be alone on my bike against an empty backdrop… able to see for miles and hear nothing but the wind.
But when it’s like that all day long, I guess you can imagine it gets pretty boring… so I took to the radio. I was thinking that it may have been a good idea to bring an mp3 player on this trip, but I like the radio even better. It adds to the tourism aspect – listening to local stations, DJ’s, and advertisements. It also helps that I’m finding good oldies, classic rock, and contemporary hits stations. Only once since I’ve been using the radio have I found nothing but Christian and country stations.
Often it’s just perfect when the right song comes on – I look around me, and realize that I’m on my bike in Kansas… feeling good and in shape like I could ride this bike through a brick wall… and I think “Man, it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Today the TransAm brought me onto Route 96. Looking ahead on the map, I see I’ll be following this road all the way to Pueblo, Colorado, some 300 miles to the west. It’s parallel to some train tracks, which also follow the route for the indefinite future. Since there wasn’t much else to see this afternoon, I pondered the tracks… all the labor it must have took to build them, and historically how they were key to settling westward and extending a network so people could make a permanent living in these areas. It’s kind of ironic how the road and train tracks follow each other side by side. The only thing missing is a major river, to pre-date the railroad. I wonder what mode of transportation will follow this artery next?
Tonight I’m in Ness City, Kansas, and I got a motel room here. I had a huge dinner including a big jug of Sunny D, a pound and a half of spaghetti, a can of tomato sauce, and a can of tuna. The allergies, or whatever it may be, are tame tonight as I kick back and relax. Life is good.