Wednesday, June 13, 2007

6/12/07 5:42 PM

We left Elkhart early with a still persistently strong (20 kt) south
wind. It let up for an hour or so in the middle of the night I think.
Now I can personally attest to the potential of wind energy in the
Great Plains. After heading ENE on Hwy 54 we got tired of fighting the
crosswind and joined it. Most of the day we cruised north at 18 to 22
mph with a direct tailwind with the exception of about 15 miles of
direct eastward travel. At some point the wind will shift and we will
travel east (I hope).

While the miles of endess waving wheat sure smell sweet the pig farms
don't. For much of the day we passed large barns owned by Shorepoint
or Seacoast (or some such name) Farms. They were far from any
habitation and were new, seemingly automated and fully enclosed.
Sometimes there would be a car parked outside or a truck loading feed
into the hoppers but often they were entirely void of people. They had
signs outside of them saying nursery 105, sow barn 87 or litter barn
56. It was strangely eerie. There were also very many large tanks of
"processed water" having something to do with oil wells. They made
good places to rest out of the wind and lean the bikes on. We saw few
people beyond the drivers on the road and 2 folks mowing their lawn.
Some people wave vigorously while others lift fingers. We nod, wave or
lift fingers depending on how tired we are.

We had no idea where we'd stay the night,only that we would aim for
the town of Lakin, Kansas. Just before town we saw a sign for camping
and turned off. We are now staying a county park with a lake, showers,
electricity, water and camping spots. The place has better days but it
works for us this evening. It is a quiet, and peaceful way to finish
our sixth day.

We solved the mystery of the large irrigation sprinklers that water
the circular fields you see from the air. We didn't know how they were
propelled until this evening. It turns out there is an electric motor
that turns each wheeled party the large arm. It only moves a little
every few minutes so you have to watch it closely.

We have enjoyed mullberies along the road and have permanently purple
fingers. In terms of other food we have been eating alot and often.
Generally we have had soups for dinner, noodles with sardines, cheese,
bagels, nuts, fresh spinach, apples and dried fruit.

I just learned that Kansas and Nebraska one getting a lot of rain from
a slow moving storm system moving east. This makes the southern winds
make sense since we are at the trailing edge of it. We had very dark
and cloudy weather today with some sprinkles from time to time . Even
thru the yellow lenses of our sunglasses it looked dreary.

Total mileage: 512 today: 93 miles in 5 hours and 45 minutes of riding.

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