May 31, 2001

5/31/01 Newton, KS

50.0 miles

Woke up to a cloudy sky - surprise! Broke camp and headed the ten miles down the road to Cassoday. Just misting enough to bead on my glasses. Fun day ahead, I can tell!

It's still kind of amazing to ride even ten miles and see just rangeland. I'm guessing I could look in any direction and see a couple of miles. Most of the cattle I saw were hunkered down in the grass to protect against the weather.

And how far away is that horizon?

It's kind of a bummer that the weather can taint other experiences. I had breakfast at the Cassoday Café, known to many a cross-country cyclist. I was the only customer and, despite a delightful waitress and good food, I just couldn't get excited.

At Cassoday, I rejoin the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail and head west again. At least I'm getting a crosswind today. There just isn't anything along the 40 miles between here and Newton. So, because of the threat of rain, I decided to not stop until I reached Newton. Four hours total in the saddle - I don't recommend this, kids!

But it put me in town about lunchtime. Stopped at AYCE pizza, then did much needed laundry (everything I owned seemed wet), took a shower at the community center, checked my email, and scoped out a camping spot in the city park.

A must see for anyone headed out here is the Kauffman Museum in North Newton. Across the street is Bethel College, the oldest Mennonite College in North America. The museum highlights the coming of Mennonites from Europe to Kansas in the 1870s. I only had a short time before the museum closed for the day, but you could spend a whole day here. The exhibits are packed with stuff, a lot of it acquired by Charles Kauffman. They even had a collection of antique bicycles, including a single-speed made out of wood.

A real wooden bike!

I keep having trouble when eating out. I always order too much. Stopped by D'Angelo's Pizzeria and had to ask for a "to go" box. Not the smartest thing for a cyclist to deal with.

As I write this, the sun has finally come out. I think they're still calling for thundershowers tomorrow night, but I have a short ride to Hutchinson and hopefully am staying at the Zion Lutheran Church Hostel. Can't wait to see the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.