July 24th, 2012: Disaster almost struck last night for Molly. First between Scott City and Dighton where we were riding to spend the night, I came within an inch or two of being taken out permanently. I was riding along nonchalantly figuring that trucks could spot me easily due to my high vis clothes, the evening sun behind us as we rode east, and the straight, flat road. All of a sudden I felt wind in my right ear and realized a truck had veered toward me and then away from me at the very last second. The driver had obviously been distracted (phone call? texting? snoozing?) when he almost hit me. Fortunately he then went way around Skip. We got to Dighton and lay down to sleep in picnic tables in the city park. I woke up in the night with the most excruciating pain on the top of my right foot ever so that I hardly slept.
I decided to pedal 32 miles on to Ness City – a depressing town to say the least – to seek medical attention. The ER suggested I had a mild blood clot but gave me meds to fight infection in case it was the spider bite I suspected.
After visiting the ER, we hung out in the library where I finally got to read a book! I had sent my copy of “Undaunted Courage” home the first week to save weight.
July 23rd, 2012: Skip and I are getting smarter about getting out of the midday heat. Who knew how much I’d come to love air-conditioned convenience stores? Skip realizes it makes sense to chill out but you can see he’d still rather be cranking out the miles!
We have begun interspersing convenience stores with museums and libraries. We spent 4 hours here – the only visitors the whole time. We had a private tour, shared coffee break and free cookies! with the staff, and met local artist Jerry Thomas (at left) who has an extensive gallery here.
July 23rd, 2012: After 80 miles of riding in the heat, the Hi Plains Motel is just what we needed – not fancy but a friendly proprietor named Bruce, air conditioning, and a full cooked to order breakfast included in the price of the room.
July 22nd, 2012: “I’m as corny as Kansas in August.” Actually it’s still only July and Kansas is suffering from severe drought for the second year in a row so there isn’t as much grain as usual. This corn requires a lot of irrigation.
More Kansas scenery.
July 22nd, 2012: We decided to ride 80 miles which entailed riding in the heat of the day – at least 103 degrees. We stopped in one little town with no store. When we knocked on the door of a house, Jerene Huddleston – 93 years old – invited us in for lunch including ambrosia and jello salad. She has lived here since the 40’s when she married and moved out here to join her husband and his parents. There was no electricity or running water but there were awful dust storms.
July 22nd, 2012: We see this scenery pretty much all the time.
Punctuated by grain elevators. Sometimes the towns are grain elevators and that’s about it. Farmers would bring their grain to the elevators and trains would transport it. Now most of the grain shipment is by truck. Route 96 has just a little shoulder but it is flat and wide. The speed limit is 65 but almost all of the trucks and cars give cyclists a wide berth so it is not bad.
July 21st, 2012: We were running really low in food. Here’s Skip getting the last little bit of chocolate from his Clif Bar…
July 21st, 2012: Skip taking a nap on the ground outside a closed gas station during the hottest part of the day. Sorry, Butch – I know you told us to find an all you can eat air-conditioned joint each day from noon till 3 but this was the best we could do today. The small towns out here are really struggling.
July 21st, 2012: Southeastern Colorado and Kansas are hot and windy without much to look at so here is a dead rattlesnake in the road.
July 20th, 2012: Skip and I both got new chains in Pueblo. Skip’s wasn’t working quite right so the Great Divide Bike Shop drove his old chain out to us. Where would Skip (and his bike) be without all the angels who materialize out of thin air when he needs them?
Another small taste of Vermont – the sign says Fairbanks Scales.
July 20th, 2012: The VFW Post bar where Skip and I toasted Rachel’s 21st birthday and actually talked to her via cell phone!
July 19th, 2012: A glimpse of Pueblo as we ride towards it. The first time we’ve seen a city of any magnitude (102,000) in a long time!
Canyons on the way into town.
We camped at a state campground and marina. The swim in the Arkansas River was cold but refreshing particularly knowing how hot the rest of our trip will be. We mailed home all our warm clothes from Pueblo. You can tell that’s me by the high vis plus it was too cold for Skip to get in!
July 19th, 2012: A fairly normal town after Guffey. Larry and his wife Beryl greeted us and told us about the history of oil in Florence and even gave is a sample. They gave us a tour of their 5600 square foot home on the second floor of an old historic building they bought and renovated.
July 19th, 2012: We stopped long enough to do our wash – which badly needed doing – and to look ahead to the map of Virginia and the infamous climb called Vesuvius!
July 19th, 2012: Coming down from the Rockie Mountains.
July 18th, 2012: Even stranger than Jeffrey City. Definitely the oddest place we’ve stayed! Charlie and his dog Ernie who welcomed us to the town.
Some of the town decor.
Skip baffled by the decor.
A wonderful cafe where we had yummy gazpacho for dinner and had a great chat with Rita.
One of the local residents – a beautiful peacock.
We had a cabin…
And so did our bikes!
This stop has been on the TransAm route since its inception in 1976!
July 18th, 2o12: A sod house (or root cellar?) built into the side of a hill.
July 18th, 2012: At the top of the highest pass on th TransAm route. Skip yet again rode the whole thing and I walked a little way. I don’t know whether to blame the early hour, the altitude, the hairpin turns, the grade, or the traffic – or to just admit that Skip will always win!
Coming down the pass which was a lot more fun than going up it!
July 17th, 2012: Two friendly sherrifs who allowed us to use their restroom and told is where we could camp on National Forest land part way up Hoosier Pass without running afoul of the law. We camped successfully except we were on a hillside and I kept rolling on to Skip’s side of the tent…
July 17th, 2012: Hannes from Austria and Annalise from Switzerland in the third year of their four year long honeymoon cycling Europe, South, Central, and North America. Seems like the rest of their married life should be a piece of cake after this excursion!