Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 31

Sunday, August 7

Miles today: 68

Today completes one full month on the road and I really cannot believe how fast it has gone by. We biked all the way to Wichita- it feels so weird to say that! Well we got up later than usual because breakfast was included with the hotel and it started at 8:30. It was the perfect excuse to sleep in a bit. The breakfast buffet was really delicious with eggs, homefries, fruit salad, coffee, juice, muffins, bagels... All the good stuff. This hotel was really cool and we were so glad we stayed there. Here is the atrium where we ate

After breakfast we went online to figure out where to stay next and how to get back on our route. We found a great route that actually saved a few miles and seemed perfect (later we found out that 3 miles were on gravel roads, but otherwise it was perfect). We left the hotel around noon and rode out of Wichita. We found a walmart to stock up on food because we are headed into western Kansas which is pretty sparsely populated and we don't want to be stuck without food. It seems like walmart is just the perfect place for us on this trip because they just have everything and it really fits our budget well. We had to get a new cargo net because Ben's broke and they had one for us- very convenient.

We had an uneventful ride until about 8:15pm when we had 7 miles left and the sun was beginning to set. My back tire fell victim to a "Texas tack", which is like a little thorn that our maps warned us about. I decided to patch it because I just got a new patch kit in Wichita that I was promised would work better than my old kit. I got the patch on and started pumping the tube up and I could hear the air leaking out- the patch didn't work. Just then, the sky boomed with thunder and lightening flashed in front of us. I quickly put in a brand new tube and started pumping that up, determined to get to town asap, and the tube blew a whole! It must have been a defective tube. Now I was totally stressed out and on the verge on panic. It was getting dark, a storm was approaching and I couldn't get my tire inflated. Ben did try his hardest to calm me down and help but I was just freaking out. Finally, I got another tube in there and it worked, we got the wheel back on the bike, and just then an old man driving a truck came by to see if we were ok. We told him about the flat and that we hoped to make it to Sterling before the storm. He said we had about 45 minutes before the storm would hit, but he'd be glad to offer us a ride. We could not say yes fast enough! He was a cattle farmer an had been transporting water to his cows in a big tub on his trailer, so we put our bikes in the now empty tub and piled into the cab of his truck. We were so happy to have a ride because the lightening was like nothing I've ever seen. It went horizontal across the sky! Well, he got us to Sterling safe and sound and we hurried to set our tent before the rain came- it was already very windy and sprinkling. As soon as we got the tent up and were about to put the rain fly on, a man drove up and said since a bad storm was coming, he could offer us a house to stay in. He was renovating a second home just around the corner, and it had no furniture but it is air conditioned and out of the storm. Again, we could not say yes fast enough! We quickly got the tent down and rode over to Terry's house. He is a farmer with ten acres down the road and grows organic fruits and veggies. It was so amazing of him to let us stay in his house! The kitchen was torn out, so we just ate bread with avocado for dinner but we couldn't have been happier to be watching the storm from a cool, dry place. We set up our sleeping bags and pads on the newly installed hard wood floor in the living room and we were out for the night!

Today was just another example of the kindness of strangers, and we are so grateful for both men who helped us out tremendously. Now we hope for rain for both of our new Kansas farmer friends!

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