Day 37: Eureka, KS to Newton, KS
June 22, 2011

We celebrated the longest day of the year by waking up at 4am and getting on the road by 5am. With our blinking lights and brightly colored spandex, we looked like a roving 70s party. The morning flew by quickly. We had no wind all morning and put in 35 miles by 8am when we stopped for biscuit and egg sandwiches in Cassoday (the prairie chicken capital of the WORLD!). We also spotted several racers in the Race Across America. RAAM racers ride from Los Angeles to Annapolis in ~12 days, usually sleeping about 90 minutes per day. Those guys are crazy! We recommend the podcast from Radio Lab about limits that includes a segment on RAAM. Yesterday and today we were riding in the Flint Hills. Hills in Kansas? It’s true! Small hills, actually nice to mix it up a little. After Cassoday, we had a headwind all afternoon. It was manageable for the first 25 miles but not great. We stopped for lunch at a random intersection and talked with a local farmer while we wolfed down tuna sandwiches. The last 15 miles into Newton were not fun–reminiscent of yesterday. Fortunately, Newton was full of delightful surprises. The firehouse offers free accommodation for cyclists in the training room and the firefighters are super friendly. After dropping off our bags, we walked to the town pool for a quick dip. It was refreshing but hard to relax over the children’s screams of “eewww a Speedo! Ewww” and “put some shorts on!” On the way back to the firehouse we stopped at The Bread Basket and ate a ton of pie. The battalion chief (a sternly hospitable guy) invited us to eat with the guys on shift so we shared a big meal of fried chicken and talked with some of the captains and paramedics for a while before heading downstairs to go to sleep. The dinner was awesome. Go Newton Fire Station #2 Shift A (the A-Team anyone?)! In other news, we reached our (estimated) halfway point today –2,050 miles!

  • Start: Eureka, KS
  • End: Newton, KS
  • Slept: firehouse
  • Miles: 75.5
  • Avg: 10.4

Day 38: Newton, KS to Larned, KS
June 23, 2011

We slept in a little today (5.45am) and hit the road around 7am. This is the Kansas we’ve been waiting for! On the way out of Newton we talked with 2 separate locals bike commuting to work and them we zoomed out into farmland again. We stopped briefly in Buhler where the woman at LaVon Bakery not only served us pie before the shop opened, but also refused to let us pay her. We pushed on to Nickerson for lunch and then loaded up on water before our final 58 miles of the day through an area with no services. Kansas is getting FLAT. We had a nice tailwind today which helped us keep up our speed through some really boring landscape. We arrived in Larned at about 5pm, found a motel, and went to an all you can eat Chinese buffet. This was definitely the longest day on our trip so far. We’ve ridden about as far on our regular bikes at home but never loaded up with all our bags. Our legs were definitely feeling better today than in the past. Nice to know that 38 days of biking pays off.

  • Start: Newton, KS
  • End: Larned, KS
  • Slept: motel
  • Miles: 110.8
  • Avg: 13.0
  • Notes: boom

Photos: Cassoday’s claim to fame, cows that tried to stampede at us but were stopped by barbed wire…stupid cows, pie, fire truck, corn = what we look at all day