They say you should either fly over Kansas or hold your nose and drive through quickly. That would be a shame. I have had nothing but good experiences in Kansas.
Kansas came and got me in Colorado in the form of Yolanda and Bill and Brenda and it hasn’t quit. By now, you know the amazing story of how Yolanda and Bill met me in a coffee shop in La Veta CO and invited us to stay with them our first night in Kansas in Ulysses. Maybe I wasn’t quite as clear about the effort Brenda has gone to to welcome me to Kansas. Brenda, though a Missouri native, has lived in Wichita KS for a very long time. She found a friend, another Kansan, who was willing to drive her and her bike five hours all the way to Springfield CO so she could ride with me east as far as Wichita.
You can see by the Strava tracks how straight and flat Kansas roads are. They might have been maddening had it not have been for the 10-mile stories Brenda told me as we cycled together. Everyone we met in Kansas was really interested in and excited about my quest.
Today’s 66-mile ride was casual compared to yesterday’s 116 miles. We broke it up into little segments. Ten miles from our start was a town called Haviland that had a most delightful coffee shop, Origins, where we had breakfast and met a dozen local people.
Just west of Pratt, we met Jaimee, a native of Colorado who used to cycle mountains around Colorado Springs. She recently moved to Kansas. She told us that the motto in Kansas is “I Kan.” Even the butterfly bush welcomes butterflies.
We had a fun little picnic in the shade under an overpass. We got friendly honks from two semi drivers, two motorcyclists, and at least one car driver.
Brenda’s role in making Kansas incredibly welcoming continues. She knew from a previous cycling trip that the Copa Motel in Kingman had one room with three queen-sized beds in it and room enough for several bikes. Sandra called ahead and found out the room was available and that’s where we’ve spread out for the night.
For tomorrow, Brenda has arranged for her cycling friends from Wichita to come meet us as we cycle toward Wichita. She’s pulling together a birthday dinner for me as well with many of her friends. For Friday, she’s got several friends who will cycle with me out of Wichita as far as El Dorado.
I’ll have a short unaccompanied stint in Kansas from El Dorado through Yates Center but I have more people greeting me once I get to Fort Scott. Kristi Hudecek-Ashwill is opening the RAAM Time Station there for me and sending her sons out to cycle me in to it. And Pat and Larry Lyons are putting Sandra and me up for the night in their B&B there.
Stunningly friendly people, the Kansans. Don’t fly over. Come in and meet them.
Start location: Greensburg KS
End location: Kingman KS
Distance: 66.4 miles
Cumulative distance: 1543.3 miles – That puts me at about the halfway mark!
Elevation gain: 620.1 feet
Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/719277978