We now find ourselves in Newton, Kansas, a very nice little town of 18,000 or so. We arrived today, Sunday around 2 pm after a short, but hot ride (40 miles today).
Yesterday, on the other hand, was our longest day of the ride. We had spent Friday night camped in a park in Larned, and got an early Sat am start to the day. Saturday’s ride was long and flat and very, very straight. No, actually I take that back, there was one time when we did have to turn a little, which was very exciting!
The scenery on Sat was really quite lovely, with small fields of wheat interrupted by large stands of woodlands, and an occasional Kansas farmhouse. We met two awesome people on the ride, Adam and Leah who call their ride food cycle. The goal of their ride is to raise money to promote healthier, more sustainable, and local foods in school lunches. They are riding 4,500 miles and easing money to help start a pilot school that will implement their ideas. If you want to check out their mission or their blog you can check it out here. We were blessed with a tailwind on Saturday, and were able to make it into Hutchinson, a total ride of 86 miles. We stayed at the Zion Lutheran Church, who opens up their fellowship hall to cyclists! So, we had a pleasant evening there, and hung out with a few other riders.
One of the other riders had a HUGE amount of gear he was hauling! He had saddlebags front and rear, a handlebar bag, plus a BOB trailer! PLUS, THE TRAILER HAD ITS OWN SADDLEBAGS! So, to lug all that stuff, he had an electric motor for his bike, which of course required a battery, which by itself weighed a good ten pounds. We figured his entire setup must have weighed 150 lbs. My entire setup, bike included, is about 55 pounds.
It is interesting to see how different people approach bicycle touring.
Here in Newton we are being hosted by the Newton Fire Department, who like the church in Hutchinson open their doors to cyclists. We have a place to park our bikes, a nice room to sleep in, laundry, kitchen, and showers. So far on this adventure I have cycled through six states (Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and now Kansas), and I must say that Kansas has them beat for pure kindness and hospitality. Everyone here has been absolutely wonderful.
Lastly, a shout out to Maria Elena Martinez, our waitress last night who is very interested in shark conservation and is herself thinking of how she can alter her diet and help preserve the Earth.