Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day 19 The Hills of Kansas Mankato – Seneca, KS 115 miles

Today was a tough day. I think Kansas has a perception of being flat because one can see a long way without tree cover. A straight road, such as Route 36, is going to cut across rivers as opposed to paralleling them like roads in the mountain west do. The arid west is gone. The humidity is back. Corn and soy fields are everywhere out here.

The Kansas folks are very friendly. I wonder about the state of things here; many towns look semi-deserted. I will have to investigate the reason why. A lot of streets have beautiful homes that sit unoccupied. When today I biked past my first Wal Mart in a week, it caught me by surprise.

It was really a good day for pedaling. I had yet another day of blue skies and no wind in the morning. Then in the afternoon the headwind kicked in and my fortune changed. The hills and wind finally caught up with me. Enroute today I was fortunate to see a couple species I have seen in many parts of the continent, and the first sightings of this trip: great egrets and red shouldered hawks. I always get a kick out of species that I have witnessed in extremely diverse sections of our country.

From what I can tell, this is not an area where bicycling is very popular. So I have not many folks who are – or who can appreciate - bike touring. That changed tonight. I met two sisters who are carting rickshaws from Michigan to Colorado. Very inspiring. They donated money to the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter. I was very touched by their gesture.

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