Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 30

Saturday, August 6

Miles today: 48

We got up as soon as it was light enough to safely ride outside, and were treated to a beautiful sunrise view

We ate the last of our food (granola bars, bagels, and peanut butter) and set on our way, excited to get to Wichita! After just a few miles, we saw lightening and it started to rain so we decided we should wait it out at a nearby cafe that was just a mile off our road. It was really perfect timing because we could both use some coffee! (Of course, we had no idea that this cafe was here so it was very lucky!) When we got there, we saw three airplanes parked in the grass next to the cafe (which was also a hotel) and a sign that said "Aircraft Parking". When we got inside, we found out that this place, The Beaumont Hotel, has a grass landing strip and people from the area fly their planes in to hang out at the cafe. The hotel has been around since the 1800s but the landing strip was added in the 50s, when business men wanted to be able to fly into the town for work. It is located in the Flint Hills, which is an extremely lush area of Kansas, so many farmers bring their cattle here for the spring and summer instead of sending them to a feeding lot to fatten up. So the owner of the hotel, who was also into flying put in the landing strip and it has been a airplane hotspot ever since.

So we had our coffee, and were about to head out because the rain had stopped when one of the guys in the shop offered Ben a ride in the plane. Another guy offered me a ride but I refused, because I'm a chicken and if course I regret it now. But Ben accepted, and off they went!

He is up there! Flying over the wind farm

The airplane just taxis down the road to the strip. Ever seen an airplane driving down the road and stop at a stop sign?

Ben loved the experience, he said the view up there was just unreal and it was awesome how he could just out his hand out the window an feel the air. Now he wants a plane of his own! The pilots of these planes were really great people, and one of them was 88, and had served as a pilot in WW2 and Korea. The younger guys truly admired him and said he was still an excellent pilot. This was his plane- made in the 40s

 After we left Beaumont, which is also home to the largest wooden water tower in Kansas (what, not as exciting as airplanes?) we had an easy ride into Wichita.

I had one flat tire, which Ben so kindly fixed for me (I also had one the day before so I was not happy!). We checked into our hotel, which is really awesome. It used to be a warehouse for cutting machinery, called Keen Kutter and was built in the 1800s but it was gutted in 1999 and made into this gorgeous hotel.

 We took showers, and changed into civilian clothes, which felt incredible. Then we set out to explore the town. We visited a few museums (museum of transportation, museum of world artifacts) and walked down to the Arkansas River, which is pronounced Ar-Kansas by the people of Kansas. The river is normally a big river but it was almost completely dried up due to heat and draught, which is extremely rare for the river to be so low

 We went into a hat shop and did the only thing to do in hat shops, try on silly hats.

We happened upon an awesome bike shop where we bought insulated water bottles, which will hopefully keep our water colder for longer. There is nothing less thirst-quenching than hot water. The bikeshop's cat looked just like my grandparents' cat, Girlfriend!

We asked a local for a recommendation for dinner and he suggested the brewery directly across from our hotel so we went there and had an absolutely delicious dinner. I had the salmon with rice, asparagus, and green beans- yum!! Ben had a steak with mashed potatoes and green beans and he was extremely pleased with his meal as well. He also got the beer sampler since he couldn't choose just one

After dinner, we hung out in the atrium of the hotel and played cards while the pianist played music for us. We did laundry and went out for gelato, and then called it a night! It was an awesome day for us, we really needed a little time off the bikes to relax and have fun. And that we did!


  1. Your description of the Beaumont Hotel reads like something out of a novel. On the other hand, maybe you can't invent something like that; a case of fact stranger than fiction. And what a day for Ben - an airplane ride in the afternoon and six beers lined up for dinner! By the way, lovely hat. You can wear it to Pippa's wedding.

  2. I wouldn't mind having some beer. All I ever get is drinking almond milk from the cereal bowl of the man servant when he isn't looking.

  3. Hi Jen, This is from Annette. I saw your blog for the first time and was really impressed. Looks like you are having a great time seeing the United States. Just wanted you to know I received your thank you note And I wanted to say thank you for my thank you note. Stay safe and know that we are all looking forward to you coming home that way we know your safe. Take care. Love Annette