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Cycling through the Dust Bowl

Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun

I got a good start out of Ordway, Colo., this morning. I wondered whether to stop in Sugar City and get breakfast. Reportedly, the restaurant has great cinnamon buns. This time, I just kept going on by.

Once again, about 15 miles went really well, but gradually the worst headwind that I have faced started building strength. My speed was down to 6-8 mph, and it was all I could do to keep plugging. Then I started climbing, a steady climb that made the ride really tough. I even had visions of calling it a day after 60 miles.

There was a stop in Haswell, famous for having the smallest jail in the world, and I refueled with ice cream. About that time, these little biting flies started to give me a real hassle. Every time I stopped to get water, they were all over me.

My next stop was at Eads, and it was decision time. Call it a day at 60 miles, and hope that the winds would die down tomorrow, or keep plugging. As you might imagine, I chose to keep plugging. It was the toughest 30 miles of the trip. The salt stains on my neck are reminiscent of what happened to me at hot marathons.

Bottom line is that I am in Sheridan Lake, Colo., and the flies are everywhere. I am staying in a church that provides lodging for cyclists, have stuffed myself again, and am ready to tackle another day.

I am just 13 miles from leaving Colorado and going into Kansas. I am ready to do it.

A few thoughts about the scenery on today’s ride might make us all appreciate Salisbury and Rowan County. All day, I rode past terrible drought conditions. Land just not being used, burned to a crisp, and hardly a tree in sight. This is the area of the Dust Bowl. During a huge drought in the 1930s, skies darkened as far away as New York City when ferocious winds blew the resulting dust into the air.

Also, I passed through four towns today with listed populations of less than 22. At least three more were smaller yet, and there was hardly a person in sight. Be thankful that we live where we do with adequate rainfall and reasonable temperatures. It was very hot again today, but I am not sure just how hot.

Mileage today was 93, a lot tougher than the hundred plus yesterday. On to Kansas.

David Freeze lives in Rowan County.

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