Gone with the Wind (2 June)

"Where there are windmills, there is wind", Paula warned us crossing the desert back in California. But it wasn't until today that the Cross Country riders felt the full force of what she meant. For 81 miles they battled 20 mph side winds with the frequent 40 mph gust, as well as the minor hurricanes caused by approaching trucks. The only answer here was to ride in groups, if possible. Everyone agreed that this was the toughest day to date.

I did a session in the fitness room and then drove to the historical museum in Kinsley. I was interested in a reconstructed sod house, typical of the early form of settlement in the No Man's Land of the Panhandel. The house was constructed of sod bricks dug directly out of the ground. The walls were infested with centipedes and other insects which were destroyed by pouring boiling water on them or going over the bare walls with a hot iron. The floors were the bare earth on which the buildings stood and had to be inspected for snakes and tarantullas before going to bed. Still, inside these hovels you could find the last remnants of a former life.

After visiting the museum I hurried on to Great Bend to try out the bike path I had found on the internet. Getting on the path was not a problem...staying on it was. The path ran along a levee and the raised position made it especially susceptible to gusty winds. I enjoyed the greeness along the river, but returned along the highway which was much easier.

Bike Trail on the Levee

It was a long and exhausting day for the riders, but they all turned up to dinner so we can with relief say, nobody was "gone with the wind" ... they all made it "home".


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