July 17, 2018
Ness City – Great Bend
109 km (68 miles)
279 m (915 feet) elevation
4:43 moving time
3955 km (2458 miles)
Decided to beat the wind and heat by getting an early start so we were out riding at 6 AM. The sky was dark which was to be expected so early in the morning but as the sun came up we could see that not only was the sky dark but the clouds were dark and ominous. We began seeing lightning in the north so we pedaled hard to Bezine to seek cover.
There is not much in Bezine so we tried the church which was locked. However, the pastor’s house right next to it had a nice cover on the porch and as no car was in front we thought nobody was at home. People have told us that Kansans are very hospitable and willing to help strangers, especially when people need cover from thunderstorms. Additionally, we thought that a religious leader would be more than happy to allow us to stay on their porch. A plaque on the outside of the house had a religious inscription which we don’t remember but had words like ‘lord’, ‘welcome’, ‘house’, etc.
We therefore snuck into the porch but before long a dog started barking and a grumpy guy in a tank-top comes to the door, not at all pleased and even though we apologized, explained the situation, and said we’d leave he did not offer us to stay, let alone come in. He told us the church was closed and that this was private property. Obviously he was no pastor 😮. Good thing he didn’t greet us with his shotgun.
We were able to get inside a small mechanic’s shop which was just opening. Sat in there while the storm moved across our area.
We still had headwinds but somehow they were more tolerable than before. However we both felt bad about not being a stronger rider for each other and we were a bit worried about the next days. When Saemi had a flat and the mosquitoes feasted on our legs as we changed an inner tube we somehow overcame those worries and were again able to have a more care-free attitude about the whole thing.
After Rush Center our map advised against going south on highway 183 and the alternative was to ride a gravel road but because of the heavy rain earlier that didn’t sound very appealing. We decided to improvise and go east to Great Bend, planning to merge with the TransAm route tomorrow. That turned out to be a good decision, at least so far.
Went to the local bike shop to get more inner tubes of the right type. So far we have only found 25mm but our tyres are 28mm. Bought 3 28mm with a king valve stem which we need but is not always available. Guy at the store offered us to stay with him and his family but unfortunately it would have meant riding back west for some 20 miles.
For the last few days we have noticed that the default TV station in motel lobbies, bars, diners, etc is Fox News.
The bike shop guy is a teacher and was very apologetic about the current president. Had an interesting chat about education and politics.
3 thoughts on “TransAm – Day 33 – Ness City – Great Bend”
Those headwinds just aren’t going to let up I guess. It’s the exact situation I encountered. I also had a similar situation somewhere in that part of KS when there was very severe weather behind me, it looked like a tornado was going to form and I saw a farm house and figured I’d knock on the door and ask if I could shelter in their garage. Surely they would say not to use the garage and invite me inside to ride out the storm, this being Kansas where everyone is super friendly and all. But no, they basically told me to get lost. I got back on the bike and found a schoolhouse close by with an overhang which provided a bit of shelter. I also had an encounter with a surly bike mechanic the following day when he told me he might be able to fix a broken spoke in 3 days. Instead I took my wheel to a local motorcycle shop and they got on it immediately even though they had never worked on a bike wheel before. The negative encounters were always countered by people who were very friendly and helpful.
Keep up you your positive attitudes as those winds will be distant memories in the near future! Kansas was the biggest mental challenge of my TA crossing and it will likely be the same for you. The mental fortitude you gain from that experience will power you through the rest of your journey.
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Thanks for your comment Brian. I totally agree with you that most interactions are positive and friendly. In fact the interactions with locals is what has been the highlight of our trip. Despite the wind I like Kansas. It is different from what I expected. People give Kansas a bad and undeserved rep! 😀
“The negative encounters were always countered by people who were very friendly and helpful.” Brian, I’ll keep this in mind. Thanks for reminding me. I often waffle on the fence of thinking people are more bad or good. This sentiment nudges me to the good side.