Plains and Simple – Too Hot

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Free camp in the park

Flag of United States  , Kansas
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today was a day when the result of continuing +100F temperatures and sleep deprivation came to a head and we both went through a meltdown outside a McDonalds in a town called Pratt.

It started unbelievably well when we visited a lovely café where we found an open tab behind the counter for cyclists. A local guy who had arrived in town to help rebuild after the tornado of 2007 was himself a cycle tourer and had left instructions that any cyclists looking for morning coffee should have what they wanted on him.  We enjoyed ice coffee and espresso for free, thank you John. We then checked our email and got the amazing news that Jamie and Edwina have got engaged! Very, very, happy news.

The ride was then very dull, and with Polly feeling exhausted from not sleeping again, it was tough going.  Kansas has flies, horrible, horrible flies which not only sit all over you and your food, but they leave very nasty bites.  Despite the fans last night we could not ignore the flies and again woke with some seriously lumpy bites.  Bu the time we reached Pratt we had decided that 35 miles would be enough for today and we would get an air-con room for the afternoon where we could catch up with sleep.

Pratt was bigger than we had anticipated and we cycled past a very nice outdoor swimming pool and shady park with every intention of shutting ourselves in a dark room and sleeping through until morning.  After an unsuccessful scout for a decent room we were hot, bothered and confused.  It resulted in a meltdown that only a double cheeseburger with fries could fix. 

Not wanting to leave too far to Wichita tomorrow we decided to put in another 15 miles to reach the unknown quantity of Cunningham.  A quick look online promised a local store so we knew we could get supper and find a free camp spot.  The 15 miles turned into a real struggle with the 105F heat grinding us down and the Kansas winds blowing right into our faces and some seriously unexpected UPHILL!  Sure enough the local store was there, but it was boarded up.  We thought we had blown it until we turned a corner and saw a glistening blue swimming pool.  Within minutes we were diving in and feeling much better about the day.  We enjoyed meeting the locals, young Luke who has just been on an exchange trip to Germany and attends the local high school where he is in a class of 9, and Roger from the liquor store who is writing a thesis on global economics and hoping to bring America back to grass roots politics.

Having created an edible supper from emergency noodles and tuna we are about to bed down for the night under a tree in the park.  No need for setting up tent, it is still in the 90s.

Miles Cycled: 50 and then saved by a pool
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