Day 13 - Dodge City to Great Bend
Greetings from Great Bend folks. I hope you all enjoyed our little video this morning. I thought I would go back to the traditional written segment as my dad is currently stretching his back and recovering from a long day out on the road.
It was another hard day today. Although we went roughly the same distance as yesterday, it's amazing what can happen when you have cross 15 - 20 mph crosswinds messing with your momentum while occasionally it changes up into headwinds so you are fighting just to move forward a few feet at a time. It never really got warm either. With the wind constantly in our faces I was happy to be bundled up nice and warm in my gear, but my face took a beating from the constant wind and sand that seems to come from everywhere at once. When we got to the motel my eyes were pretty red and sore.
My dad's back was really acting up today, in fact I was amazed that he made it the whole route. I stuck with him almost the whole way, and it looked like he couldn't even get up past 11 mph. He was grinding away in the lowest gear, taking a few breaks along the route to stretch out and try to loosen up his back. Although it didn't seem to improve much during the ride, he toughed it out and I was proud of his commitment to get finish as much of the route as possible.
If there's one thing I can rely on in Kansas, it's the consistency of the terrain. This truly must be the flattest state in America. I think the most interesting thing that happened today was a slight break to the left on the highway. Aside from that we could literally see miles down the road, with the great big silos dominating the skyline in the distance.
One thing that I really took away from today's ride was the importance of enjoying the journey itself. Sometimes I get so caught up with getting finished with the miles, I forget to "stop and smell the roses," or in this case in Kansas, "stop and smell the grass seed and cow manure." I was talking with one of the other riders and he told me that when it's all over, you don't remember the hardship, the pain in your legs, or the soreness in your muscles. You remember the side roads and the museums on the off beat paths. The stories you pick up from locals and the scenic views of routes less traveled.
So with that in mind, I decided to take a little detour today in honor of the travelers spirit. It wasn't too far off the beaten path, but it offered a great view of Kansas from a nice vantage point. You could see the farm lands spread out like patchwork quilts and little trucks and pickups driving in the distance.
The landmark is known as called Pawnee rock, a landmark used by the pioneers as they made their way across the country.
It really made me appreciate the fact that while these brave souls basically carved their own way through the American countryside, at least I have a nice paved highway to travel across.
That's all I have for you today folks, it's been a long day and this little solider needs his rest to face another challenging day tomorrow morning. The days of 80 miles are over, and it's back to the big leagues with 126 miles of road to travel as we make our way to Abilene, Kansas.