July 3, 2001 - Mike and Marilyn's 2001 TranAmerican Bike Tour

Mike and Marilyn's
2001 TransAm Bike Trip
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July 3, 2001

TRANSAM 2001 > Kansas

Scott City to Tribune, Kansas. (48 mi.) Mile 2145

Last day in Kansas

What a difference the wind makes. Today it was back in our favor. We passed about a half dozen eastbound bicyclists today, all of them grumbling about their headwind. Usually we wish for tailwinds for our fellow cyclists, but this is hard to do when those cyclists are going in a direction opposite ours. We started early, had a good ride, and a low mileage day. Because of the spacing of services, we had a choice between riding 48 miles or over 100. Our choice was easy, as the temperature climbed into the 90s again by noon.

The wheat harvest is just wrapping up in western Kansas. We missed most of the heavy truck traffic last week, but we are still passed often by big trucks and harvesters.

An early morning start and a tailwind make for a pleasant ride.

Truckers in Kansas usually gave us a whole lane of space when passing.

When we saw these Wide Loads in our rearview mirrors, we rolled off the road and hit the ditch, giving them space to pass. Later, the drivers thanked us when they saw us at the truck stop. They said many cyclists just "hang out there" in the way. Our tactic was as much a survival maneuver as a courtesy.

This evening we are across the street from a major truck stop where we met truckers from all over the U.S. involved in following the harvest across the country. When I ordered a milkshake at the Burger Bar, I was told that the harvest crews had wiped out their supply.

Tribune (pop. 918) is named for the New York Tribune. Horace Greeley, famous newspaper editor, was supportive of the western farmer and rancher. Though Greeley never lived in Tribune, the town decided to name itself in his honor. There is a small museum in town dedicated to this history, which a number of townspeople tried to get us to visit. We were more focused on the truck stop across the street from our motel, however, since they had cold frosty drinks, a laundry, and a trucker's lounge where I could work on this journal and connect to the Internet.

I knew Mike must have been really hungry because he contemplated buying a pound of chicken gizzards as featured on the truck stop menu. An eastbound cyclist had told us we would be going through what he called "The Gizzard Belt", where chicken gizzards suddenly started appearing on menus, then just as suddenly, disappeared. We told him he could anticipate the house specialty would be catfish burgers soon, as we had just come out of The Catfish Belt farther east.

The Weather Channel said we are in for even hotter weather and evening thunderstorms tomorrow. This is our last night in Kansas, where we will remember the people as the most extroverted and friendly. When we were looking forward to flat land for a change, Kansas delivered. We are beginning to feel anticipation at seeing mountains again, as we slowly gain elevation to the Great Plains, and then the Rockies beyond..

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