Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 18 Pedaling East of Center Oberlin – Mankato, KS 126 miles

Today I didn’t feel as though I had it, and the pretty good side and headwind made pedaling much more of a challenge than 24 hours earlier. By noon I had made 35 miles. I had to remind myself to just keep on turning pedals over. But that’s life; there are ebbs and flows to any great endeavor. Route 36 is not flat, far from it. The climbs are not as steep or long as those in the Rockies but they are there nonetheless. The headwind is its own sort of hill. I met two day riders that said on racing bikes they had been reduced to 6 miles per hour on a bike in Kansas. That’s wind…kindof like the Gulf Stream in winter.

Ever so subtly the environment has become less arid. I realized part way through the day that I may have seen my last sage of the trip. I saw little irrigation equipment today. I think most of the crops growing around here – corn and soy today – are fed by rainfall. The sunflower fields have disappeared for the time being. Deciduous trees are making an appearance, and I recognize oaks and ashes found commonly father east. There was very little wildlife today. The big exception was a pretty farm pond that had half a dozen terns – grayish backs - looking for fish.

Late in the day I pedaled past the geographic center of the country. I suppose that I am now officially in the east! The map (photo) didn’t have many cities listed on it, but did have two that I know well – Raleigh and Bangor, Maine. They are still a long ways off, but each pedal revolution brings me a bit closer to Bogue Sound watermelon and channel netted shrimp.

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