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.
Days 28-33: Through the end of Kansas
After Larned, we rode to Dighton, Ks. and were in pure flat country, where I could count the number of trees between towns on my hands.
While riding through the endless plains, we could see the next town coming from 8 or 9 miles away. Towns seemed like islands in an ocean of wheat fields.
Throughout the rest of Kansas, the days consisted of long 20 or 30 miles stretches between towns, and we averaged about 100 miles per day. Almost every town allowed camping in the city park, which was nice, although we found that town parks varied greatly in niceness.
Soon the redundant terrain got boring, however, and we powered our way to the Colorado border. At this point, Karey’s original riding partner, Cam, rejoined us on the route, with his wife Amy driving along.
We were in a very dry area, and Amy would drive ahead and make sure that the next town had a convenience store to stock up on water. The flat land started to turn gently hilly, with small scrubby bushes instead of wheat. It was exciting to see the terrain change into a western scene.
We reached Pueblo, CO by the last day of June. I couldn’t wait to get there, because my aunt was picking me up to bring me on a vacation from the bike, for a visit to her family in Denver.
Days 34-38: 4th of July in Denver
After a month of nothing but riding my bike, with only new faces, it felt great to be with family. I spent four days with my family, traveling to Denver and their vacation home in Grand Lake.
On my first day in Denver, I was tempted to try out the system of bike paths I had heard so much about. Sure enough, they were well organized, well used, and extensive. However, after about a half hour of exploring by bike, I realized my legs and my mind especially, did not want to be biking, no matter how exciting the venue.
On the Saturday before the 4th of July, we traveled into the mountains to Grand Lake. For the first time, I saw the Rocky Mountains close up, and was surprised to see that even in July, they still had snow on them.
Grand Lake is a vacation town that thrives in the summer, so traffic was slow winding through the mountains.
The elevation, at 8500 feet, was noticeable, and briskly walking up stairs seemed a little harder than it should have.
Another reminder that I was not in my element was a water skiing adventure on the lake. I had been warned that the water was cold, and I should have taken the warning more seriously by the fact that none of my cousins wanted to get in.
I had to get my water skiing fix, however, so I pulled on a wet suit and went for it. I jumped in the 50-something degree water and immediately my breath was taken away. My muscles clenched and I as I was floundering in the water trying to catch my breath, I realized I had forgotten my life jacket.
I swam back to the boat sheepishly and got all the necessary equipment and then tried again, this time with more success.
The weekend with my family flew by, and on the 4th, I took a bus back to the route, in Salida, CO.
On the bus ride, I noticed the terrain become more dry. The bus stopped midway through the ride for a 10 minute break, and as I made a purchase at the convenience store, I noticed a small donations jar for the South Park fireworks display.
That’s right, I was in South Park.
Since Karey had gotten pretty far ahead while I was relaxing in Denver, I figured I would now be on my own. I got off the bus in dusty Salida and headed to the Hostel in town, hoping at least to find some people to watch the fireworks with.
Want to learn more about Justin’s trip? Tomorrow TSD will publish an interview with Justin to catch up with him and answer questions about his trip!