Hi all, my apologies on the late update. Things have been very busy, and I’ve been logging some serious mileage in Kansas. Unfortunately I haven’t been getting to the firehouses until around sunset, but that should all be behind me because this next week’s cities are all spaced pretty close. I’m also planning for a short ride and rest day in Kansas City, MO. I am writing at a public library now, and I only have a short time before I need to hit the road again, but I’ll try to catch up a little bit on the events so far.
The Snowy Range mountains in Wyoming were absolutely gorgeous. That has been the most scenic portion of the trip. The weather was not so great, and that did turn out to be an issue. When I left Saratoga, the Cheyenne firefighter (Jon) helped me out by taking my two panniers by car and dropping them off at the Laramie fire station. It saved me a lot of weight, which was great because I had a lot of climbing to do, but I left my rain jacket and under armor leggings in the bags with him. When I got to the middle of that mountain pass I was freezing, and it was just pouring sheets of rain. A couple nice people did help me on the way though. I met a retired Columbus, OH firefighter at a rest stop, and then a woman from Indiana let me eat lunch in her car to avoid the rain. She was 89 years old and still driving, heading back to Indiana after a family wedding in Nevada.
At the top of the mountain pass is this beautiful glacial lake called Lake Marie. it is so scenic. I wish I could have spend the entire day there, as there were so many things to check out. I’ve heard that there are lakes like that all over the peak, but that Lake Marie is the famous one because it is so close to the road. I’m sure someone could spend days exploring all the lakes and wildlife. The mountain peaks somewhere over 12,000 feet, and the road tops off at 10,000 plus. At the very top I stopped to check out a view and started up a conversation with a family from Denver. Their names were Josh, Nick and Hallie, and they absolutely saved the trip for me later that day. They were just returning from a kayaking trip in Wyoming, and they were all so friendly. It’s a lot of fun to talk to different people from all over the country. One thing we talked about were the different states, and I told them about how windy is had been in Wyoming. Josh told me a joke, saying that the reason Wyoming is so windy is because Nebraska sucks. It’s all in good fun, but I have found it hilarious how everyone bashes the next state over! It’s totally true and it’s something I have found consistently about the trip – everyone east of California is talking about these natural disasters and earthquakes that are going to separate California from the rest of the country. When I left to go to Nevada, the Californians jokes about all the brothels in that state. A lot of people before Wyoming talked about vast the state is, and told me that a day biking there would feel like weeks. In Colorado everyone joked about how flat Kansas was, and when I got to Kansas they told me that their state is so windy because Nebraska sucks and Oklahoma blows. I think it’s all funny. I guess I’d be saying that same sorts of things about Illinois if I were back in Wisconsin. Flatlanders and their fast driving. Ha ha just kidding.
I guess I didn’t really add much to the story, but I am meeting a firefighter cyclist to ride in with me to Manhattan, KS in a few hours. I guess I’ll have to travel through a military base along the way, so there may be a security check for that.
Everyone in Kansas has been really helpful. I changed the route last minute out of Colorado Springs, and a lot of of Kansas fire departments have been willing to help me on the fly. I’ll send out another update soon I hope.