Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I was having a rough night, then came the entertainment. Instead of a pack of coyotes, I was woken at 1:00AM by three saucy Brits. I was informed that Dowds was passed out on the lawn near the highway and Callum Reid then proceeded to drop trow and jump into the adjacent bed with his helmet and biking cleats still on. I asked Chris how many pints they had, and his retort was something along the lines of: "For f***'s sake, Blake... we're British!" Callum then continued to proclaim: "I ain't fussy, bruv!" over and over again and Dowds, when able to speak, kept calling me Brent. I didn't mind being coaxed from my bed... I wasn't sleeping very well and was rather depressed. I won't lie - There are times where I'm overwhelmed with a sense of loneliness and a want for home. This sentimental feeling is quite sporadic though, because I'm only inflicted at certain moments and in certain places. Conversely, when I'm on my bike and looking out over the Kansas horizon... the vast openness and impressive display of nature (via storm clouds, mostly) keep me grounded and in the moment.
(Courtesy of Chris Holmes)
Today was supposed to be a short ride into Hutchinson, where we'll have our nice long rest day. It took a long time for Dowds to wake up from his alcohol-induced coma and we finally got onto the road by mid-day. We rode slowly along highway 50, receiving subtle boosts of wind by trucks passing by at 70mph. I started to slow up and began to notice that my rear wheel was losing air drastically. I soon found my first puncture of the trip! I guess I'm pretty lucky not having one until 2,000 miles into my trip. I had no problems getting the tire off and replacing the tube; however, the wheel was nearly impossible to get back onto the rim. Chris and I struggled with it for a few minutes and Dowds was able to work the bead away from the valve and eventually solve the problem. As I was replacing the tube, I noticed that my "Marathon" tire was pretty worn from all the weight, especially compared to the front tire. Thus, I made the decision to have it replaced when we reached Hutchinson.
We did make into town by early afternoon and I was pleased to finally find sidewalks in Kansas! We rolled into Harley's Bicycle Shop and picked up the key to the local hostel, located at the Zion Lutheran Church. We dropped off our panniers and surveyed the basement: Air mattress? Check. Shower? Check. Kitchen? Check. It's a nice hostel and I'm sure we'll leave them some donations before we leave on Thursday morning. Taking off on lighter/speedier bikes, we rode back to the shop and explained our requests. We then walked over to Wendy's for some WiFi and drinks, then to the library to waste an hour or so.
We walked the "downtown" strip, but couldn't find much in terms of nourishment/entertainment. We decided to settle on a cheap Mexican buffett (the people of the Mid-West sure do love their comida Mexicana.) I think we're calling it an early night tonight, just hanging out watching VHS tapes like "100 Greatest Sports Bloopers" and listening to Chris play away on the church piano... that boy is one talented musician. It's going to feel great to sleep in and just relax all day. I think we're going to visit the local Space Museum, it's pretty much the reason this town gets any visitors, so we'll be happy to oblige their tourism industry.
Posted by Blake Marshall at Tuesday, July 28, 2009
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