Day 35: Pittsburg, KS to Benedict, KS
June 20, 2011

We got up early to beat the wind but found it was already really windy. After the motel breakfast, we set off a little after 7am. The winds were from the South, so we had a nasty 20-30 mph crosswind for most of the day. We went north for a few miles and it felt like we were riding magical bicycles! We were cruising along flats at 20mph barely pedaling. Hillary even spent some quality time in the big ring. That said, most of the day was mentally exhausting and hard on our hands, arms, and necks. Pedal, pedal, swerve, correct. The route was flat but pretty frustrating. It was so windy it was hard to reach for water bottles for fear of a gust of wind blowing us into a ditch. We planned to stop in a small town that recently opened a convenience store that allows cyclists to camp out back. This was maybe a bad decision. Where to begin? Among other things, the proprietor told us: - He knows about a trove of gold in Oregon big enough to buy the state of Kansas - He found the original King James Bible (though he was prince then, so it was Prince James Bible) in a guy’s basement and it is now in Wichita - His “people” have the Arc of the Covenant in a secret museum in Jerusalem - He collects, boils, and jars creek water for his own personal water survey for evidence of radiation He also offered us a “shower” using a hose with a Miracle-Gro filter on it. We opted to ride out to the old quarry and rinse off in the water there. All complaining aside, he did offer us a respite from the forecasted storm by letting us sleep inside the town church, which he also owns. We hope the storm will pass by morning and we can make a speedy getaway.

  • Start: Pittsburg, KS
  • End: Benedict, KS
  • Slept: camped in a church that looked like the set for a horror film
  • Miles: 79.3
  • Avg: 11.5

Day 36: Benedict, KS to Eureka, KS
June 21, 2011

The storm last night was lightning-filled (almost one flash a second for a while) included hail, so we were glad to be inside, even though it felt like the site of a horror film. We all awoke in one piece and left Benedict as soon as possible. We had a calm start to the morning and stopped for breakfast at Homer’s market, “the largest supermarket in Toronto, KS” (population: 302). Note that Homer’s market was closer to a deli than a market, let alone a supermarket. They made good breakfast burritos with Cholula! Immediately after leaving, we were greeted with a 25-30 mph headwind that stayed with us all afternoon. At this point, we retract our complaints about yesterday’s crosswind; headwinds are WAY worse. Today was really tiring, demoralizing, and generally not fun. To top it off, the road had a tiny shoulder and lots of trucks. We stopped for lunch in Eureka, KS and the positive effects of Taco Tuesday led us to decide to stop here for the day and get up really early tomorrow to try to beat the wind (forecast says it will die down around 8pm today). Andrew’s observations on riding a bicycle in the wind: it sucks. Hillary’s observations on riding a bicycle in the wind: even though today’s ride was almost totally flat, it was worse than some of the really hilly days in Appalachia. Kansas wind is totally unrelenting and you never get a break from the constant pushing. You end up with not only sore legs, but sore arms, shoulders, neck, and hands from being so tense all day.

  • Start: Benedict, KS
  • End: Eureka, KS
  • Slept: motel
  • Miles: 45.0
  • Avg: 9.1
  • Notes: headwind all day, also there was a headwind, seriously…headwind
  • More notes: Andrew hates wind (unless it is at his back)

Photos: haunted church in Benedict, Andrew + wheat fields, it looks flat and easy but it’s lies!, one horse town, Homer’s.