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Friday 17 June 2011

Day 39 - King of Kansas

Todays mileage: 112
Total mileage: 1,918
End point: Hays, KS

The original title of this post was going to be 'K is for Kansas', but as you know, K isn't for Kansas it's for Kentucky, as in the state, not the university, I wouldn't want to abandon my adopted state. Now I also add my reference to 'King' is also merely a reference comparable to 'King of the Mountains' (as in the tour de france). For, as many will be aware I am staunchly anti-monarchy (described in the UK as being a 'republican' but completely unrelated to the placement of your views on the politcal spectrum), this includes constitutional democracys such as the UK and despostic theocracies such as Saudi Arabia. Personally I would send the royal family to a museum in america, and I'm sure some of the mick family would be willing to volunteer as tour guides ;)

This morning I got up early and went to get a mcdonalds breakfast and a litre, of yes, you guessed it, orange juice made from concentrate. McDonald's sausage & egg mcmuffin is the crystal meth of junk food, there is certainly some unexplainably moreish about them. That's right I used the word 'moreish'; you should use it too. There was something strange going on in Holdrege, Swedish flags everywhere; more swedish flags than american flags. It turns out they claim to be have founded by Swedes (although I was the only blond person I spotted!) and this weekend was their Swedish festival. Let's hope they don't have Swedish prices or the residents of of Holdrege might be in for a shock.
I left Holdrege at 7am prepared for a mega ride to catch up on some miles. My northerly wind had not yet appeared however. I headed due south towards Alma where I hoped to stay last night. Alma is situated in Republican Valley, near Republican City on the Republican River - I wonder how this county votes ;) My old boss Mike has been anxiously waiting my review of the Republican candidates so here it is:

Herman Cain - I quite like him which means that the republican party probably won't! Not enough political experience...

Mitt Romney - nearly statesman like but about as exciting as watching paint dry. Maybe a few too many flip flops.. and always healthcare ('obamnicare') hiding in the closest...

Michele Bachmann - like Sarah Palin with a spinkling of intelligence and no rogue kids. Got give her credit for all those foster kids...

Ron Paul - brilliant but totally insane, needs to have a Cage Fight with Ben Bernanke from the Federal Reserve...

Newt Gingridge - should start with america's biggest loser before attempting republican campaign. Was too mean to brilliant bill...

Tim Pawlenty - wanted to like him but it felt like he was trying a bit a bit too hard, needs to be polished and mature in the campaign..

Rick Santorum - intelligent design? Really? No probably not...

It was an an obama bashing republican love in as you would expect it to be. According to the spread betting market in the UK however, has Rick Perry is second favourite yet unannounced. I presume betting on politics is illegal in the US? Any americans care to answer.

Before leaving Nebraska I wanted to buy a few souveniers. I picked up a huskies tshirt and vizor. The tshirt was to replace my Coronna tshirt which got abandoned somewhere and has nasty staines on it, and the vizor is to add to my vizor collection. The problem being that pam regularly steals my vizors for running and returns them covered in sweat. I'm hoping by purchasing teams she doesn't support she will be less inclined to 'borrow'!

Just before crossing the state line I crossed Prairie Dog Creek, and then yes as if by order a sandy coloured cross of a fox and greyhound zoomed in front of me; a prairie dog - they are a lot larger than marmottes if my biology is correct. One other last observation before leaving the state is that I figured out that every house on the plains of Nebraska surrounds itself in trees, thick little coppices to protect from the wind, smart stuff.

I reached the state line, plonked the bike down for a brief time out. The sunflower state lay before me and so its time for a bit of 2 good / 2 bad, english readers will recognise this from match of the day 2, something I can't be bothered to explain:

2 bad

1. The size of the sign welcoming me to kansas was disappointing, I think Buckinghamshire has a bigger sign, population of Kansas 2.8m, population of Bucks 0.7m. Now it should be noted I kept a watchful eye of signs. Back nearly 10 years ago there were a number of sign thefts by students in Buckinghamshire. I cannot confirm that I was involved, but Alan Allkins was, and he as we know is extremely responsible and so blame must go to him above me. More ammusingly another Gerrards Cross resident's mother had an interesting experience when she realized she had both a stolen road sign and the police in her house to discuss neighbourhood watch!
2. The shoulder of the road which I like to cycle in dramatically ended at the state line. As it would turn out though Kansas is a bit strange, either their is no shoulder or the shoulder is actually wider than the carriageway and impressively smooth.


1. During my time out grey and black clouds gathere overhead, dear me I thought. And then I realised the wind was blowing from north to south - my wind, boom!
2. I have actually forgotten what the second good thing was! Its been a long day!! Apologies to Kansas, it was good when I thought of it, I will focus on recalling it tomorrow. I have now seen a sunflower if that counts :)

The very flat plains of Nebraska gave way to gentle rolling hills or northern Kansas, in fact it reminded me of the English countryside, see the photo above. I was cruising with the wind and the uphills weren't so bad. I reached my first town in Kansas, Phillipsburg (note the two 'l's in that - not very american spelling). Passing through the town I was forced to stop at a rail crossing where small passenger truck appeared to be doing a turn in the road. It stopped however halfway through the manouvre and then to my astonishment lowered train wheels from underneath, a car which drove on the rail tracks - absolute genius. This was it 'back to the future' in action, maybe the flex capacitor actually exists!! And off they went down the tracks, my jaw wide open.

The next town on was Stanton, this was 23 miles on from Phillipsburg and 73 miles total for the day. Here I decided it was time for a refuel, a large pizza from pizza hut with the essential pinapple, anchoives and olives. Need to get those anchoives in before seeing Pam. At the end of the meal the lady appeared with about 10 coupons, she said these would get me free pizzas in any pizza hut I stopped in! Excellent, free pizzas, no conditions! Hopefully they will work.

I continued on to Plainville, on the way I encoutered a bizarre bridge. Well actually two bridges, the bridge on the road was as per expected, the second bridge was also marked out as a road but had no roads on either end - bizarre! I guess a bit of future proofing in case this turned into a divided highway, but this was a massive bridge and I would have expected that they would only have built this if they intended to actually start work on another side.
More up and downs from Plainville to Hays, but I had passed my second century and this kept my emotions up. I wondered if I didn't have weight and was bribed with lots of money how far I could go on. I reckon I could do 200 miles (if someone paid me $1000).

I'm now back on track with timing and have been concluding plans for my trip from Kansas to Little Rock. Been having a little wine to celebrate my longest ride to date. There were other things I wanted to talk about but I'm done for today. Oh and having problems spotting anymore camping in Kansas.


  1. I think the UK betting market has it about right - watch Perry all the way... Excellent blog Brian, I am reading with interest (and generously overlooking the spelling and grammar - endurance gives you a free pass this time). "Ride safely" (ho ho - I think someone should tell you that every day just to wind you up).

  2. Cannot believe you did 112! That is awesome. Pretty sure you burned off that pizza. That is so nice that she gave you those coupons. And, excuse me, I don't think I borrow your visors "regularly"!! :-) Great job! xxx

  3. Alex - I hope you are riding safely in london everyday! I am going to email you shortly...