I have to acknowledge again the generous “Warm Showers” hospitality of Alan and Renee Kailer. It rained most of the day yesterday and they had already offered to let me stay an extra day in their home as we both saw that the forecast was looking bad. I got my first day off the bike since I started the ride. I got some laundry done properly for the first time, and got to have a great dinner with their church group. The root beer float and the rest of the meal was delicious.
I got an early start. According to the forecast the night before, today was a low probability of rain. Even when I woke up, the prediction was less than a 30% chance of rain. I guess today was my lucky day because I beat the odds and left under dark skies and a light mist. I happened to run into Alan as he was walking their dog, Godiva. He gave me a few directions and we said goodbye once again. The mist turned to light rain. I had several turns to make leaving Wichita, so I was constantly stopping to check my GPS function to make sure I hadn’t missed a turn. Between the stopping, wind, and rain it was a painfully slow first 16 miles to get me to the outskirts of Wichita. I needed to take a break at a convenience store to get some hot coffee, warm up, and dry out a little. More delay. Reviewing the route, I felt like the Marines in WW II. Just as they had to fight and hop island to island towards Japan, I tried to break the ride into short segments. “Just 9 miles in the rain and you can find shelter in Benton”. “Go 6 more miles and you can hide from the rain in Towanda. Get 8 more miles and we can take a full stop in El Dorado, then we’ll be more than halfway there.”
It’s was a wet 9 miles to Benton. There was a table inside a convenience store where I could sit while I had a coffee and some ginger snaps that Renee had sent with me. I lingered as long as I could, trying to wait out the rain. After 15 or 20 minutes, I was on Hidalgo. The pavement was still wet, but the rain seemed to have almost stopped. The ride to Towanda and El Dorado went from a 2 on 1 battle of rain and wind against me, to a 1 on 1 match up of me and the wind.
Alan had pointed it out to me, and now that I had time to study it myself, I confirmed something rather strange about the weather patterns here in Kansas.
The weather pattern, including the rain had been primarily coming from the southwest moving northeast. However the wind, at least at the ground level had been coming from the opposite direction, the northeast. The net effect was the storms followed me and the wind blew it in my face. The best of both worlds!
At any rate, it was yet another battle against the wind. The side effects were more pedal strokes per mile, more rubbing per mile on sensitive areas, and generally more time on the saddle per mile. Tomorrow looks like it should be dry, but the wind, Hidalgo and I will get another rematch.
I don’t want to end with a lot of complaining. I’ve spoken with lots of people at the various stops about the need for mentors for the youth in their community. Some have been very receptive, some give you the courteous nod of the head. There are a lot of kids and young adults who don’t have role models. They don’t have regular guidance on making the right decisions and choices. We all behave differently when someone else is watching. Maybe you could be the person that is watching. Maybe they will care a little bit more about their behavior because they know you are watching. There have been many times during this ride when I kept pedaling just because I had told a bunch of people about my BHAG and through this blog and facebook, I know they are watching. Consider mentoring someone. Lives will be changed at both ends of the relationship.
The Lone Rider