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Friday, April 23, 2021

Pedaling Against Hunger: Kansas Isn't Flat

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Editor’s Note: Justin Field, UD Class of 2011, embarked on a TSD-sponsored bike-ride across America to raise money and awareness for the Food Bank of Delaware. This is an update on his progress as he travels through Virginia. To read his last entry, click here.

Day 26: Pittsburg to Eureka

After a few days of riding into the wind, we were crossing our fingers for a tailwind today.

After we got up, we ate a quick breakfast at the hotel and headed out due west from Pittsburg. We quickly realized what we had hoped for had come true: the wind was blowing west.

Pittsburg, Kansas.

For those not familiar, the winds can have a dramatic impact on the effort of pedaling. Pedaling into a 15 mph wind can make a 40 mile day seem like an 80 mile day. Pedaling with the wind can make a day with huge mileage easy.

We glided along the straight roads at 20 mph without much effort. As much as possible I made comparisons to those awful days of huge hills in the Ozarks and Appalachians and it felt great.

However, the first day in Kansas was not completely what I expected. There were trees and even hills.

The afternoon heat, which got rose as the day went on, was occasionally broken up by shade cast over the road by trees. At one point Karey was talking to a man at a gas station, who said he should enjoy the trees now, because west of Wichita, they weren’t going to be there any more.

The second surprise we ran into that day, was the fact that Kansas actually has some hills. The eastern portion, the Flint Hills region, has rolling hills. They weren’t hard to pedal, but we couldn’t help but feel a little deceived.

The rolling hills were at least interesting to look at, and the wind was helping us keep a very good pace, so there were no complaints. At the end of the day, we rolled into Eureka, having gone 117 miles.

Hills...in Kansas!
Hills...in Kansas!

I was totally wiped, and after we grabbed dinner at the Copper Kettle restaurant, I was asleep within
minutes back at the motel.

Day 27: Eureka to Hesston

This morning Mr. and Mrs. Digh left us to return home. I had been very blessed to have met them and receive their endless generosity and hospitality.

We grabbed the breakfast buffet at the Copper Kettle and said our goodbyes, and they headed back to North Carolina.

Our goal was to ride another 100 mile plus day today. Leaving Eureka, we again encountered more rolling hills, and with the winds blowing at our side this morning, and didn’t make incredibly great time. The next town was 20 miles away, and when we got there in need of a restroom, the only restaurant in town was closed.

Thankfully, a kind soul painting the side of her house saw us hopping around looking for plan B and invited
us into her house. After chatting with the mother of three young boys about our trip, and the three little kid birthday parties she had to attend this weekend, we headed on our way.

We made it to Cassoday by noon, and stopped in the General Store where decided to figure out our next steps.

Entering Casoday.
Entering Casoday.

This particular day would require some strategic planning, because the next place to gets food or water after this town was 38 miles away. We ate a snack and filled our water bottles and camelbaks and started out again.

This time we had a tailwind and the 38 miles were really no problem. When we had made it to about 88 miles, we had to make another decision.

Making good time through Kansas.
Making good time through Kansas.

The next town was another 20 miles away, and had very little inside of it. We were worried that if we spent the night there, everything would be closed the next morning (Sunday), and we would have to pedal the 20 miles to the next town for breakfast.

So we decided to stay where we were in Hesston, and camped in an RV campground.

Are you interested in finding out more about Justin’s trip? TSD will be doing a Q&A with Justin, and we welcome questions from readers. Send us an email and we may include it!

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