BOBBY AND THANE TACKLE THE TRANSAM Day 34 Nickerson to Larned

Day Thirty Four Thane’s Blog: the dancing of the wheat

Monday June 3, 2013, 61 miles (98 km) – Total so far: 1,927 miles (3,101 km)

The map said “No services for the next 58 miles.” Welcome to Kansas my friends. To some that might have meant “Oh crap!” To me that meant, “Wow, this might be another awesome adventure.” And an awesome adventure it was today. 61 miles today.

Cycling is often times an explosion of senses. Sometimes it is the sense of sight. Sometimes it is the sense of sound. Today it was the sense of smell.

We are still cycling through big oil country. During the mid and final part of today’s journey the smell of oil filled the air like the thick fog that hung over many of the mountains we climbed in Virginia. On this day the cross winds were blowing the putrid smell across us for hours. I kept wondering, why. Why were most of the trees dead or dying? Why were there very few homes for nearly 40 miles?

I can only surmise the answer may lay in the smell. And the fact that if we smell this there certainly has to be massive amounts of ground water contamination in this area of our country. It saddened me really.

As the miles ticked off the smell of oil slowly began to mix with a smell so vial that I nearly puked. Once again, the cross wind blew this across our path for miles. Even after we set up camp it engulfed the entire town of Larned Kansas like the fallout from the Hiroshima bomb. It’s the smell of cow shit.

From a mile away I could see this giant herd of cattle. The numbers seemed staggering to me. As I slowed to a stop and pulled the camera out of the handlebar bag Bobby filled me in on exactly what I was looking at. “Hey Thane, that’s what they call a feed lot. They bring em in and fatten em up. See them trucks, after they fatten em up they all get loaded up and taken to the slaughter house.”

It was difficult for me to ingest the thought. And as I stood there snapping a few images I nearly puked from the smell. As I watched the thing drift off in my rear view mirror I wondered if I would ever look at a T-bone steak the same way again.

I did have a beautiful vision as the mile drifted off today. The wind which I so dreaded just days ago was different today. The incredible fields of wheat in this area are now almost two feet tall. When the sun hits them they glisten is hues of green. Imagine a child opening up a new box of crayons and taking out each and every shade of green. Then mixing them all together on paper to form a kaleidoscope of colored grass.

Off to my right I saw just that for many miles today. And the wind. The beautiful, beautiful cross wind was making the strands of green wheat move in an incredible dance. It was almost like someone was dropping a pebble into an ocean and before the wave this pebble created fell asleep another pebble was dropped.

The tall green wheat danced and flowed effortlessly. Often for as far as the eye could see. I actually once pulled over just to watch the dance for a moment. It was completely calming and I apologized to Mother Nature for cussing at her about the wind only days ago.

We have not quite figured out how far we are traveling tomorrow. We have determined that our wives will be meeting up with u in the city of Breckenridge on the 12th of June.

I am stoked beyond belief to see my wife again. A big part of a cycling journey of this magnitude is dealing with leaving the ones you love behind. Some days it rivals the climbs of the mountains.

the badass band of cycling dudes

the badass band of cycling dudes

might this be the effects of big oil in this area

might this be the effects of big oil in this area

a beautiful dance

a beautiful dance

mark and julie hitting the road

mark and julie hitting the road

Day Thirty Four Bobby’s Blog

Monday June 3, 2013, 61 miles (98 km) – Total so far: 1,927 miles (3,101 km)

Got another early start with another gas station breakfast. Now that’s not all bad as there are usually a few oldtimer locals sitting around and you can squeeze a little info out of them.

One old guy asked, where ya goin? I said Larned tonight. He said that figures. I said what do you mean? He said that’s where the state mental hospital is. Anyone crazy enough to ride a bicycle across the US belongs there. WOW

Today was another windy day in Kansas but it was a cross tail wind that worked out pretty darn good for us. We were In Larned by 12:30

Got set up had a shower and supper,looked up and Here comes Rich and Sissy that we stayed in back in Walnut like 3 days ago. That’s what I like about Cycle touring. We are like a family. We sign guest books wherever we stay and you can keep tabs on each other. Another great day comes to an end.9RCX0l_image

This kind of puzzled me.

This kind of puzzled me.

Roadside snacks, We had 58 miles of no service. That means no stores.

Roadside snacks, We had 58 miles of no service. That means no stores.

This my friends is a cross wind.

This my friends is a cross wind.

Lunch with our new friends Julie and Mark Loveland.

Lunch with our new friends Julie and Mark Loveland.

These things are everywhere.

These things are everywhere.

Gettin set up for the night.

Gettin set up for the night.