Friday, July 19, 2013

Clay Center, KS

Day 62: Friday, July 19, 2013
Beloit to Clay Center: 65 miles

Before leaving Beloit this morning, I took a spin around town. As in quite a few of the small towns I've passed through, it has a fair number of brick streets - the original bricks, not the new, flat, non-skid type - and they make for interesting cycling. The underlying ground has gone through years of freeze/thaw cycles, and riding a bike on these streets is somewhat like navigating ocean swells in a small boat.

The town depot - unused, since Amtrak doesn't come this way - apparently has undergone a restoration effort some time in the past thirty years, but it still looks sadly neglected. The grade crossing (just past the depot, in the photograph) is in terrible shape - several townspeople told me that they've been trying to get the railroad to fix it for five years. But it's a short-line grain hauler, and they probably don't have much money to spend on maintenance.

A local farmer in a pickup truck spotted me at the decrepit crossing, and stopped his truck in the middle of the street. He had done some long-distance cycling when he was younger, and was excited to see me. While traffic flowed around us, we carried on a conversation about the pleasures of cycle-touring - one of which, fortuitous meetings, was occurring as we conversed.

Beloit depot
The sadly ignored Beloit depot

The small town of Glasco was settled by Scots. Nobody in town could tell me how the town's name came to be spelled the way it did. There were few remaining stores in the town - but one was a soda fountain, so I had a malted milk. It might have been the same place where Jack and I ate, back in 1981. I can't remember anything else about the day's ride to Clay Center - partly because I'm writing this 17 days later, but also because it was Kansas.

flat, wheat, rails
Flat, wheat, rails--
can you guess what state we're in?

I do know that I spent way too much time wandering around Beloit, so it was almost dark when I arrived in Clay Center. After patronizing the local Pizza Hut, I headed for the police station. The dispatcher told me to head west on Court Street, and a police cruiser would provide an escort to the town's camping site. It was bare-bones, but it was free.

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