Heading out early to beat the heat

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 12, 2013

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

It was sure hard to get out of the bed this morning in Scott City, Kan.

Thanks again to the nice folks at the Plains Inn for donating the room. It was perfect! We did have a huge storm overnight, and enough wind that it threw a heavy metal chair out into the parking lot. I heard the thunder, but slept great.

As I headed out, the wind was not yet up, but gradually it started to build. Once again, it was mostly in my face. Mid-morning, it was getting hot, too, and the wind was getting strong.

I stopped in Dighton and filled my water bottles and ate a couple of big, fresh cinnamon buns. Then followed about 30 miles of little scenery, but constantly battling the wind. At one point, the flat ground suddenly became just slightly rolling and that helped the wind to slow slightly. Soon, it went back to flat and open, and the wind was strong again. I had had enough.

I got off the road a little after 2 p.m., got a room, sorted my winter stuff to send home and cleared my messages. I am staying in Ness City, Kan. It was only 100 degrees today, but one report calls for 104 tomorrow. And more wind!

I have been passing through the area where the famous cattle drives used to take place, with great numbers of cattle sent to Kansas from Texas. Cattlemen and cowboys hold a revered place in the area. They helped populate the area, made sure that the cows were shipped all over the country, and added to the folklore of the Wild West.

After I settled in my motel room, my first thing to do was get my winter stuff shipped home. I walked about four blocks to the post office and told the two clerks what I wanted to do. While asking me questions about my trip and running, they got the box, made it up, taped it together. All I had to do was put the stuff in it. Meanwhile, they knew everybody else who came in. One woman wanted to know how I could stand to ride in the heat. Even more interesting, a very nice man named Leon (I think), palmed a dollar coin into my hand and told me that he loved North Carolina and cyclists, and then he went back to doing what he was doing previously.

Every person I have met is nice, and has been interested in my story.

Tomorrow, I will start a new plan. I will have the bike packed and ready to go, leaving by no later than 5 a.m. I will get a jump on the heat and wind, and hopefully reach Larned, Kan., before either gets too bad. If all goes well, I will be off the streets before the worst wind is blowing.

I realized that I have lost my favorite dri-fit shorts along the way somewhere. The next Goodwill store will have a replacement pair. Still can’t figure where I left them!

Total mileage today was 58. Heading for the end of map 7 tomorrow morning. Just five maps to go.

David Freeze lives in Rowan County.

View David Freeze’s ride in a larger map