Day 36 (July 3rd 2016) Larned – Dighton KS; 97 miles

Another boring day in Kansas. Started with some chilly eerie foggy weather that gave way to a sunny and hot afternoon. I continue to seek entertainment through podcasts. The highlight of our ride was getting a train conductor to blow the horn as he passed. Such excitement!


The worst thing about Kansas is being able to see a city miles ahead and having to pedal the hour with it in view, taunting us. But at least it’s flat! Though I’m starting to miss the scenery of the mountains.

We are currently celebrating the 4th a little early by setting off fireworks. No one blew off any extremities, so we all lucked out.

Today we rode 97 miles, tomorrow is even further. But we hit Colorado!

Day 35 (July 2nd 2016) Nickerton – Larned KS; 62 miles

This morning I was still riding the high of playing with giraffes. Unfortunately, the dull endless miles of Kansas wore me down thin. We started out later than normal due to bursts of downpours in the morning. We avoided the rain and had favorable winds (two days in a row!).


The ride itself was 62 miles on pretty much one straight road without any towns in between to look forward to. I kept myself entertained by listening to a podcast called Serial. It is pretty interesting and prevented me from losing my sanity.

A few miles out from Larned, we met a guy who pulled over and gave us water. He said he did the TransAm a few years ago and could relate to our road weary sentiment towards KS.

We’re staying the night in the beautiful house of a Methodist pastor, Bethann. We are very lucky to be spending the night indoors, as a bad storm just passed through. There were flood and tornado warnings, so spending the night in a tent would have not been ideal.


Tomorrow is another long (95 miles) and likely boring ride through KS. But soon we will be in the much anticipated Colorado! Oh, and only one more week until I am reunited with Addie (and my parents, of course)!

Day 34 (July 1st 2016) Cassody – Nickerton, KS; 80 miles

Today has redeemed Kansas, in my eyes. Everything about today worked in our favor. It stayed very cool, the sun stayed away, and (probably the most important), we had a significant tail wind the entire ride. It was so significant, in fact, that we averaged 16.4 MPH and were able to ride just under 70 miles before noon! The threat of storms approaching also had us quicken the pace. It worked and we outran the dark and gloomy clouds. We stopped and talked for a while with a mother son duo, Nina and Spensur. They are riding Eastward for the cause Hairdressers with Heart, in which Nina donates her hairdressing expertise with cancer patients undergoing treatment. They were not thrilled with battling the brutal headwind and later told us that the storms we so stealthfully avoided followed them their entire ride.

We took a nice break in Newton and enjoyed some delicious sticky buns. We then basically flew into Nickerson. My dad gave me a heads up about an exotic animal farm just out of town that has giraffes. In case anyone doesn’t know, aside from Addie, giraffes are my favorite animals on the planet. We stumbled upon a pen of ~7 giraffes (including 2 babies) and spent a decent half hour with them. We could go right up to them and pet them and everything. There was an extremely friendly one who would follow us, pose for pictures, and lick us. It was awesome to be surrounded by them in such an unlikely place! The owner later came out and chased us away, apparently we had to be a part of a tour to see the giraffes. Whoops!


All in all it was a great day and I hope the upward trend continues through KS!



Day 33 (June 30th 3016) Benedict – Cassody KS

If I ever decide to change my profession and get into horror novel writing, the events of last night will serve as a perfect plot line. This is by no means a reflection on the residents of Benedict, KS. They are extremely friendly people and are some of the most hospitable people we have come across on this journey. The town itself came to be in 1866 due to a railroad passing through the territory. The town has an older population, with over 50% of its residents being over the age of 45. Because of its low and shrinking population, there are a lot of unused homes in various states of decay. This adds a rather ominous atmosphere to the tiny town. The town is also bordered by corn fields, giving me flashbacks to the film Children of the Corn. Due to these feelings, I had a general unease towards spending the night in the town.

The night started out fine, went to bed at our normal time and slept relatively soundly until around 2am, when I thought I heard something tinkering with my bike. Ready to combat a bike thief, I opened my tent to check on it. Nothing was messing with my bike, it was a figment of my imagination, but what I did notice was a light in a tree flickering on and off every few seconds. This only added to my general overwhelming sense of anxiety. I got back in my tent and was in and out of sleep until around 3am, at which time I was awoken by lightening. Luckily for me, I put the rain fly on just in case a storm developed. I went to close the fly, at which time Sheena asked if we were going to be safe in the tents in a thunderstorm. I told her of course we would, it’s not going to be anything terrible. In no less than 3 minutes did it torrentially start to downpour. Again I didn’t think anything of it. Almost immediately, the wind picked up in such a violent manner that my stakes uprooted instantly. For the next 10 minutes, I was stuck in my tent in the Lightning, thunder, and hail. That I could handle, but the wind was violent and aggressive. It whipped the tent around and if I hadn’t been in the tent, it surely would have sailed away, which is the only reason I stayed in the tent. I checked my phone to make sure it wasn’t actually a tornado, at which point I noted on the radar that this storm appeared right on top of us out of thin air! I couldn’t believe it. After thinking I was going to die in the tent, the storm stopped. I talked to Sheena as soon as it was over to make sure she was okay. Thankfully she was, and we came up with a game plan. Because I was so on edge and nervous that another storm would develop, we decided to scurry over to the neighbor’s workshop, in which he invited us to stay in earlier. Because my tent was already unstaked, I dragged it across the yard as quickly as I could as it was still lightening and wished to avoid getting struck. Once we were settled inside, we realized that the walls of the workshop were lined with saws, axes, and other tools that could be used to murder two unsuspecting cyclists in a cliche manner. Luckily for us, we survived unscathed and hot tailed it out of town in the morning.

The ride itself was fine, more hills than anticipated, but they were gradual and manageable. The wind couldn’t make up its mind, so we were hit from all angles. The scenery was beautiful. The popular picture Microsoft uses for its background looks exactly like the rolling hills of Kansas. We came to find out, however, that that picture was actually taken in CA, not KS.

We are staying indoors in Cassody tonight, which is great because they are calling for storms tonight. I’d rather avoid a reoccurrence of last night at all costs!

Day 32 (June 29th 2016) Pittsburg – Benedict KS; 80 miles

Kansas has proven to definitely be easier terrain than we are used to. Granted, we were spoiled with nice tailwinds this morning. We were able to cruise through 60 miles by 11 am. Because we were making such great time, we took a nice nap under a tree. When we woke up, the winds had shifted and the 16 miles into Benedict were a little more difficult, but we still arrived before 2pm.

Benedict is a small (very small) town with a population of 75 people. Riding through town was definitely a culture shock, as I have never seen anything like it. It was almost like it was plucked out of a Stephen King novel. A local pastor, Joe, was kind enough to let us stay sin his home. Due to Sheena’s animal allergy, we opted to camp outside. Pastor Joe cooked us a nice dinner and will be making us breakfast in the morning as well.

Day 30 + 31 (June 27/28th 2016) Ash Grove MO – Pittsburg KS;


Yesterday started out great with a delicious pancake breakfast made by Alec’s parents. We suffered through some early morning hills which quickly gave way to FLAT!! Western MO definitely made up for eastern’s poor welcome. We were able to cruise along at over 15 MPH without worrying about a hill halting our progress. The official end of the Ozarks came upon our arrival in Golden City, MO. I have to say, I was expecting much more from a city with such a grandiose name, but it left me a little disappointed. Riding into it, I was anticipating an Emerald City-esque atmosphere, but with a population of 700 odd people, I had too high of hopes. I guess we’ll have to wait until Kansas for a tornado to sweep us away to meet the Wizard.

Speaking of Kansas, we finally arrived! We are all a little unsure of what to expect from the state, as we have heard good and bad things from it. Sure we’re done with mountains, but the monotonous flatness of the state may make us miss the climbing and descending. We also heard horror stories about head winds, but we have a plan for those. Because the winds are the worst after noon, we are planning on leaving super early and resting during the windy part of the day. Sure we won’t get much sleep, but we haven’t been getting much sleep as it is. Which reminds me, due to our lack of sleep, Sheena and I decided to get a hotel room to really take advantage of our off day. We were able to sleep in today and take a nap here and there in air conditioning. After a month on the road, we forget about the luxury of simple creature comfort and the benefits it has on mind and body.


Sheena’s Corner:
Emilie and I riding our bikes.
Emilie: “oh god, I can see the light.”
Me: “the death light at the end of the tunnel?”
“No, the one at the end of the street.”
“Oh… I thought we were seeing the light again…”

Another fantastic decision made to get a hotel room so we can sleep in on our day off!

I am still waiting to see a live and whole armadillo, because I’ve never seen one before… I’ve seen plenty of dead ones in pieces.

It was so great cruising on flat land with little wind at ~18mph for hours.a.png