The Grass Desert (48)

This morning we talked with Lisa and Jenny while having breakfast – mostly about Norway, which is very high on Rachel’s list.  They are from Voss, which apparently is a popular outdoor sports destination.  We mentioned how we would love to visit someday and were delighted when they offered to host us, which we certainly will not forget :-). Good luck on the rest of your trip, Jenny and Lisa!

When we left the shop, we made a pit stop down the street at Druber Donuts, which was amazing.  We each chose two donuts: one for now and one for later in the morning.

Bear claw donut!

We made it to Nickerson, KS for lunch, where we stopped for photos of camels and ostriches at an exotic animal farm, then purchased a loaf of banana nut bread at a Mennonite family bake sale.  Down the road a few miles we stopped a convenience store for large slushies and bananas.

Beyond Nickerson is a 58 mile stretch of road with no services, except for one house where the owners leave a hose strung over the fence for touring cyclists to fill up water bottles (we learned about this from a tourer traveling the opposite way).  On the other end of the 58 mile stretch is Larned, KS, which we set as our goal for the night.

There wasn’t much variety in the landscape for the 58 miles, so we got bored and decided to play 20 questions (often Harry Potter themed) to help pass the time.  The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge provided a brief change in scenery, with increased wildlife.  We stopped at one overlook to rest and learn about the Refuge but the bugs encouraged us to get moving again.  Another highlight of this stretch was seeing our first prairie dogs of the trip.

A tailwind helped us finish the stretch, which was fortunate because both of us were feeling pretty worn out after a long day in the sun.

All of our selfie attempts look the same

In Larned, we got a park permit from the police department then resupplied at the local grocery store.  We were happy to see that the park had a pavilion for us to set up underneath, which was beside a duck pond!  Unfortunately, we were too late to use the pool and showers, but the bathroom was left open.  Another touring cyclist, Cody (who we also met at the Newton Bike Shop), spent the night in the park with us.  He is from Chicago heading for Denver, where he is starting a new job for a software company.  Good luck with the rest of your trip, Cody!

Trip stats, to date (Day 48)

  • Newton, KS to Larned, KS
  • Daily mileage: 110mi;  Trip total to date: 3,033.6mi
  • Daily riding time: 8hr 27min;  Trip total time: 262hr 34min
  • Daily ascent: 1,058ft;  Trip total ascent: 150,377ft
  • Flat tires: Rachel – 1; Chris – 0

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