Cross Country Recumbent
Thursday August 21, 2003. Newton KS to Toronto Lake KS
Today was much the same as yesterday, except hotter. They were
calling for 106 in Wichita, which would beat the previous 100-year old
record. The biggest problem with the heat is not just the riding,
it is the sleeping. I bedded down around ten last night, but
tossed and turned till nearly 1 am. When I got up this morning it
was already hot. My body still wanted to sleep but my brain said:
"ride now it will only get hotter". Alison had said that she was
going to head out at three or four in the morning. I didn't thear
her leave but she was gone when I got up.
The days ride was relatively uneventful with the exception of some
rough country roads that had me hunting over both lanes to find the
patch of asphalt that wouldn't shake my teeth out. As before the
terrain is slowly changing, more trees and hills both. I actually
had to use my bottom chain ring several times today. I was hoping
that the heat would stir up some thunderstorms to cool things down, but
it didn't happen. Usually each day starts with a fairly long
stretch, say 40 to 60 miles. Then the hottest part of the day
gets broken up into 20 mile blocks, with stops in air-conditioned
places to help me cool down. Although I carry enough water, by
the afternoon it is usually blood-warm, and very unsatisfying.
That's when I start stopping at gas stations to get cool drinks.
You know those 64 oz. giganto-drinks that seem unreasonably huge?
Those are taylor-made for a cyclist on a hot day.
I'll break up the narrative with a shot of highway 54 on the way to
Eureka. You can see the country is starting to roll a bit.
I've been thinking about how to lighten the load up for the
Ozarks: I'm going to get rid of my stove and pots and pans, since
they only rarely get used. It'll be tough but I think I'll also
get rid of the therma-rest and some of the clothes that I'm not
using. Basically this means no more cooking (which is fine, since
I hardly do it anyways) and only camping if there aren't other
reasonable options. I'd get rid of the sleeping bag too, but it
just might get cold later (although that is hard to imagine right
now). The heaviest gear I cold get rid of would be some of the
tools and spare parts, but I don't think I'll do that: it could be an
invitation to disaster.
Tonight I'm staying in this little campground on Toronto Lake.
There is no else here, not even a camp host; but there is water, and
I've got enough food to get me to the next town. It's lonely, but
maybe I'll be able to sleep better and get an earlier start.
Fervent wishes for cooler weather. Tomorrow will be my last full
day in Kansas. I hope to get to Pittsburgh which is right on the
border of Missouri.