7/1 day 45 – welcome to July and big miles

7/1 day 45 – welcome to July and big miles

7/1 day 45

Eureka Ks to Girard Ks

108 miles

Getting up early to make big miles isn’t something I’m overly fond of in all honesty. I like getting up with the sun and moving naturally. Sometimes that means I’m up at 6am other times 8am. I’ve been really good about not setting alarms on this trip and I didn’t this time either. But what I did do was go to sleep early and tell myself that I’d get up as soon as I woke up, rather than laze in my tent.

This meant that I was pedaling by 715am. As the days get hotter and I’m forced to stop midday I may have to start setting alarms so I get up reliably and pedal by this time. The .morning air was cool and flat and i made good time. I rolled into the little village of Toronto just in time to get a few pancakes from their weekend 4th of July kick off celebration. Then it was on into the nature preserve.

One thing I didn’t realize about Kansas was that they had armadillos. The only reason I even have found about that they live here (I thought they’d be farther south) was from the roadkill. Now there has always been roadkill this trip but Eastern Kansas takes it to a whole new level. Racoons, armadillos, turtles and possum litter the roadside. You’ll smell them before you come to them, the heat putrefying and creating the most pungent of death odors. It’s kinda terrible. So whenever I see a living turtle in the middle of the road, trying valiantly to get across I pull hard on the brakes and stop to help. It takes 30 seconds to get the turtle across the road but it means on less pancake. I’m happy with that.

I took a lunch break at a Walmart and wandered in to pick up a few supplies for dinner. They had a liter of sweet tea just asking to be bought, so I did. Drank it all with lunch. It didn’t quite taste like home but it certainly was delicious.

Back on the bike and leaving town through the business strip I had to pull over and take a picture of a sign that had me in stitches. I love inadvertently dirty signs. Or in this case I have to believe that owner did it on purpose. Love it.

I was breaking one of my simple rules – don’t pedal in the high heat of the day – but I wanted to make miles. My friend Bones from the AT lives in Springfield MO and i wanted to see him for the 4th of July. So I pedaled. And fell into one of the worst traps of “I have to be somewhere” – I left a good thing. About 9 miles from my end point a church had a sign for cyclists. “stay here and enjoy the AC!”. I stepped in and got some water. And thought about it. And left. Mistake. I was happy there, it wouldn’t have made the next day terrible, but I was fixated on the idea of getting to my map point.

Which made it a whole lot easier to kick myself when I got to town and found the park to be… meh at best. The bathrooms/pool were locked so I had to trek up to the gas station for toilets and water. The park itself was a bit marshy and for the first time in awhile, there were mosquitoes again. Hot and muggy all night – I really should have stayed at the Church. Whoops.

But these things happen. Next time I’ll stay with my instincts and try not to get the tunnel vision. It’s hard though because going from a double digit number to a triple digit mileage number is a bit of a thrill!


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