Day 5: By the Numbers
Much of today can be summed up with numbers. Hence, 520 miles on the boring Interstate, 96 degrees according to the weatherman, 108 degrees according to the thermometer on my bike, 15-25 mph winds, 34 mpg because of the winds, 9.5 hours on the road, 2 hot and tired riders who arrived in Aurora just east of Denver. This was, I think, the most miles we’ll cover in one day on this trip, and it was planned well in advance so I knew it was coming. The faster we get to Alaska, the more time we spend there.
We said goodbye to Jon and Ulla in Andover (Wichita) at 7 a.m. after taking an obligatory family photo. Except that when I gave the camera to Mark I had set it on the wrong setting. When I looked at the picture tonight I had nothing worth using. Damn. But if you could have seen it you would see three smiling people. Mark and I enjoyed our time at what Jon refers to as his “compound” and we certainly ate well and in great abundance. Ulla and Jon are great hosts.
Riding north out of Wichita we had the wind at our backs and I didn’t even realize it was blowing. But when we tacked to a westerly course in Salina, strong winds out of the southwest buffeted us most of the day. We’ve both ridden in worse, but today’s Adventure included some unintentional weaving when gusts kicked up to 25 mph. Nothing dangerous but it did get our attention.
After two days at Jon and Ulla’s neither of us was real hungry at lunchtime, but we chanced upon a Village Inn and today was Wednesday. Know what that means? FREE PIE! So we had a lite lunch followed by large FREE slices of “Red, White and Blue” pie in honor of all the political activity in July. Red = cherries; White = apples; Blue = blueberries. Delicious. Just a note: Last winter Mark and I led six Wednesday rides from Orange Park to the Village Inn in St. Augustine. Free pie attracts bikers and other moochers.
Nine and a half hours on the road put us in Aurora at 3:30 since we changed time zones again and we had plenty of time to kick back and catch up on things before heading out to dinner at a nice little Mexican restaurant. On the walk to dinner we went past a prairie dog town — well not really a town, more like a village. Well, really more like a prairie dog hamlet populated by sociopathic outcasts from some real prairie dog town somewhere. Since I blew the only other picture I was going to post today, I went back to the holey ground (really full of holes) and shot several prairie dogs. I offer the attached one for your enjoyment. I’m hoping for grizzlies later in the trip, so this is just a warm up.
Each day we get closer to Alaska and tomorrow will take us to Cody, Wyoming. Here’s hoping for good weather and multiple photo ops.