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!