June 4, 2001

6/4/01 Scott City, KS

58.9 miles

Woke up to a light rain tapping on the tent fly. Guess we didn't get that thunderstorm. But that probably means this rain isn't over yet. Bummer!

Decided to eat something first. Maybe the rain will let up soon. Everyone in "Balloons West" was friendly, and the food good. One trucker complained about passing large groups of cyclists. But I think we have more in common with truckers than we do motorists. We're on the road every day, rain or shine. The people we meet are the other cross-country travelers we see in the diners in every small town. We also get to know the good roads and the bad roads. I wish him better experiences with cyclists in the future.

Where yesterday was cloudy and overcast, today was misty rain. I had to take my glasses off just to see. The best thing about the road today was that I had a 3-foot shoulder the whole way. That is a big deal when you share the roads with fast cars and huge trucks, especially when it's raining.

Soon after leaving Ness City, a pickup truck pulled up ahead to wait. Les Norton handed me some change for a pop. "I've loved talking to cyclists that passed by my ranch back for the Bikecentennial," he said. Turns out he was a fourth generation rancher, with the sixth working the farm now. He just wanted to help out in some way.

George Washington Carver grew up on a homestead near here.

The towns are becoming very similar. Sort of a bull's eye centered where two highways intersect. Dighton was one of those towns. I stopped by the library that's located in the courthouse. One of the workers at the grocery store recommended "Bear's Sports Bar & Grill" for lunch. While there, I talked with one farmer who said this weather is very unusual. "It should be 100 degrees outside," he commented. The area is way ahead in rainfall, but he said the wheat harvest in a couple of weeks will probably be average or a little below.

Felt a little better after eating, but it's hard to leave a warm, dry spot and head back out into the cold and wet.

A little tailwind helped me get to Scott City a little sooner. The pavement was getting drier, but that misty rain wasn't completely gone. About seven miles outside of the city, I met Alan, an eastbound cyclist headed for Boston. At the same time, the bike was handling funny, but I couldn't figure out what it was. Finally, I had to stop and put some air in my rear tire. Must be a slow leak, but I had to stop several more times before finding the AthletiClub, which has been taking in cyclists since the BikeCentennial.

After doing laundry and working on the bike, I settled in the TV room for the night. Talked with Kelsey Wilkins as she worked the front desk. "I just think crossing the country on a bike is a cool idea," she said.

Just watched the weather and it looks like one more day of rain. Too bad that's how I'm going to remember Kansas - wet!