• 55°

Finally, Kansas — and hopefully no more biting flies

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

Wednesday, July 10

After a good night’s sleep, I ventured out into the “land of the biting flies” still hoping for two things: One, that the flies would be less vengeful, and two, a very different wind.

The kind folks at Sheridan Lake Bible Church had allowed me and another cyclist to stay in their church overnight. They offer this to cyclists every day. Otherwise, I would have been stuck trying to camp in the land of the flies.

With a 6:30 a.m. start, the effects of the wind were lessened. It was still blowing as a headwind, but not too bad at the start.

By 9 a.m., it had picked up. Once again, the wind was squarely in my face and picking up steam. I had only a few times of even getting close to 10 miles an hour.  About 11 miles after I started, it was fun to cross the state line into Kansas. Immediately, the roads improved and there was a decent shoulder to ride on all day.

Funny thing about crossing the state line into Kansas, the time zone doesn’t immediately change. It changes after you go into the second county. I am now on Central time, but will be there for a long time.

The next major town was Leoti, where I thought about quitting for the day. It was hot and getting hotter, and I was making terrible time against the wind. There was not a room available in Leoti, so that left me with the challenge of making it 23 more miles against that strengthening wind. For about 5 miles, I was doing well enough, probably based on eating a lot of ice cream. Then the wind kicked into high gear, blowing as much as 30 mph directly into my face. My speed was down to 6-8 mph, and I had to take lots of water breaks due to the temperature. It was a brutal trip. A sheriff’s deputy stopped to ask me if I was OK. Honestly, I was not doing very well. Frustrated, dehydrated and very hot!

I finally made it to my destination of Scott City, Kan. I had a prearranged room at the Plains Inn, and called for directions when I got into town. Imagine my surprise when they gave me a very nice room for free because my listed cause for the trip is to bring focus to childhood obesity. In my job of wellness coordinator at Partners in Learning, I have seen the improvements that can be made if parents, staff and children all work together. I am relaxing in that room right now, on another very hot night after putting in 78 miles on the road.

Tomorrow, I will get close to the end of map 7. The trip will require some strategic planning in the next week or so. Camping in this heat will not be fun, and lots of the towns don’t have lodging.

Kansas is not flat, but close enough at this point. The scenery has picked up and there are a lot of grain trucks and combines on the road. I heard a conversation at a truck stop about all the locals who work for harvesting companies and travel as far away as Canada.

Tomorrow, I again hope for a break in the wind and should soon get a chance to see some farm work in person. The flies lessened this afternoon, and I hope that continues, also.

David Freeze lives in Rowan County.

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