After days of searching for tailwinds and Toto in Kansas, I found neither, but I did find home. Toronto, Kansas (population 81) is missing the CN tower, the Skydome, and, well, even the most gentle hint of a resemblance to its Canadian counterpart, but it does have a lake, a homemade pizza parlor, and an ice cream shop – it doesn’t take much to win me over.
For most of the Great Plains of Kansas, I felt like I was on cruise control. Despite the frying heat, the constantly sideways-blowing winds, and the static scenery, the fact remains that this state is flat, and that trumps all. Riding 2,000 bumpy miles through the West has toughened my legs and lungs, and now that the landscape is more horizontal, I’ve been pulling century rides without pain – a feat I considered totally inconceivable when I began this trip. This is a popular biking route, so even in towns the size of Toronto people are accustomed to seeing heavily-burdened bikes rolling through. I haven’t even heard, “Biking across the country?! You’re crazy!” once this entire state.
The best part about Kansas: reuniting with Mel, my original intended biking partner this summer, now sufficiently recuperated from the boat collision to finish the coast-to-coast trip with me. In just a few short days, we’ve gone running with the bulls, baked cinnamon rolls in a Methodist church, and had our food stocks ravaged by racoons. So begins the beautiful insanity that this duo is uniquely capable of…
Finally, before we take off for the Ozarks of Missouri, I want to send a loud shout out to everyone who has written me emails or left comments on this blog – it’s soooo wonderful to ride into a town and read what’s happening in y’alls neighborhood of the universe, or read your words of encouragement. So despite the stubborn silence on my end when it comes to responding, please keep them coming, because I love hearing from you.
Give me silence, water, hope
Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes