May 9
Abilene, KS  to Topeka, KS
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Day 14 of Lee’s tour across, the USA, is complete. It just seems like all we’re doing is Kansas, because tonight is our fifth night in Kansas, and that’s the most nights in any one state during this entire journey. But I guess from the southwest corner to the northeast corner, which is essentially what we’re doing, Kansas is a pretty big state. In any event, today’s 109-mile ride from Abilene to Topeka was tough, mostly due to the oppressive heat. By mid-afternoon, it was 95, and that alone made the going tough. We were all going through water pretty rapidly, and needed to find the sag wagon to get refills constantly. The terrain got very hilly, much more than I would have ever imagined for Kansas. It reminded me of the Shenandoah Valley back home, sans the mountains off in the distance. Over the course of the day we climbed 4,823 feet, and that climbing in the heat wore us down a bit. Fortunately the strong winds were directly out of the south, and except for about 15 miles at the start of the day when we were indeed heading south, we rolled along with just a cross-wind or a nice tailwind. As I got into Topeka, I made a slight detour to a shopping mall where I needed to pick up some replacement eyeglasses for those I left behind at Las Vegas, NM. I raised a few eyebrows as I sauntered into the mall, carrying my bike, shoeless, and smelling to high heaven. But I indeed picked up my glasses, so they’ll just have to deal with it. Tonight is at the exclusive Holiday Inn, and tomorrow we finally leave Kansas and turn to Missouri, with our destination being Cameron some 124 miles. The day is supposed to be very hilly and hot again, but we’ll have a direct tailwind most of the day, so that will be much appreciated. Stats for the day—avg. speed 17.0 mph, calories 8,315, 6 hr. 29 minutes moving.

Eastern Kansas provides many beautiful hilly vistas to enjoy (and climb.) We were lucky that everything was nice and green due to recent rains.