Today we hit sixty-four miles from Chanute to Eureka and except for the upcoming Flint Hills, it's mostly flat and West but we are angling to the North quite a bit which is nice because the wind is coming from the South.
When we bike West we get the wind coming at us from our left. It's a constant slight push with some occasional gusts but it caps our (my) speed to 11 to 15 miles an hour. When we turn North it's just amazing because it's as if the wind disappears. It hasn't of course, becoming a tailwind it pushes us along the road and suddenly speeds of 20 to 25 miles an hour seem effortless.
The ground is rocky so occasionally we see these circular cages of rocks that act as posts, or entryways to farms. We should start seeing some limestone posts. The early pioneers would dig down to the limestone beds and chip out posts to use for fencing because there was no wood to be had.
Lunch today at the famed (at least to cyclists) Lizard Lips Cafe. It's a convenience store, DVD rental place, and cafe with four tables. When we arrived we met up with Tom and Rick. Tom had inexplicably rented another hotel room last night, and then didn't come for dinner or the map meeting. He left early of course, about 5:30 AM with Rick. Rick is another cyclist doing a modified self contained ride from Missouri (where he is from) and is going to Pueblo and then from there West and South. The Lizard Lips Grill serves a good strawberry shake and cheeseburger. Very friendly and they have cyclists sign their book which flies back to 2010 and then give out little plastic "lucky" lizards.
Teller of Ribald and Randy Tales of the Park Service. Also, teller of kind of mostly true stories. Bill is seventy years old and has been mostly a Naitional Park Ranger, a Ranger up in Texas, an airplance piolt (small craft) and mechanic. He is full of tales that typically center on either sex or puns.
Out here in the prairie the ingenuity and necessity have created the rock cairns to help mark the property lines. We've passed a lot of these.
Hot windy road to Eureka.
When you have 64 miles to go you break it down and soon we had just twelve miles to go which is really nothing.
This area is the cattle livestock feeding area of the nation. We are seeing a lot more cyclists including Rick again (2nd from left) and Henry, from Belgium (3rd from left) who started from Astoria on May 3rd. He ran into blizzards in Yellowstone.
Rick is, to put it mildly, exuberant friendliness on hyperdrive. He talks constantly and in such an abruptly personal level that it quickly feels weird.
I first met him last night when he inexplicably showed up for dinner at our campsite and began glomming onto Christine. He would talk with her in the most familiar way that I thought at one point he was her brother. He suggested to Norm that he thought Norm and Christine were brother and sister.
We met up with Rick again in Eureka and again his constant chatter drove us mildly bonkers. We kept quiet when he mentioned he was staying in the park. No one invited him over.
“I was worried that if he came over that Norm would have to molest Christine to keep him at bay,” John said.
Lew joked that we go to Dollar General to buy faux wedding rings.
Jim just came back from the Pool. He says that he and Tom ran into Rick. “He cornered Tom,” Jim said, “Rick really opened up.”
The last few miles were worrisome because the trucks came in so fast and quick and the air currents really buffeted us about.
Tonight we're staying at a Bike Hostel run by hospitable Robin who not only makes sure the house is air conditioned but there is laundry and shower and she made lasagna for us.
She told us how the town got its name, yes, they did discover a clear spring water source here. Eureka! The town, like many we bike through, struggles but there are always true believers in such towns that put on neat events.
Up until last year, Robin could boast that Eureka lay in the blessed or lucky circle in that no tornado had ever touched down within city limits. That change in July of last year. The damage was significant.