Day 59: Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Goodland to Hoxie: 73 miles
Day two in Kansas. More-de-same. Corn, wheat, grain elevators. But it was flatter today, for which I'm grateful. On the other hand...
|One mile of asphalt hell|
That sign at the KOA proved true awfully darn fast. The road crew was recoating a mile of old US 24. They were spreading a layer of tar-covered gravel, then compacting it with one of those rubber-tired roller thingies. They weren't yet at the point of trying to get it flat.
There wasn't much traffic. The flagger said, "Just follow right behind the compactor. He's only going about three miles an hour."
It was more like eight. And, right behind him, the bike tires were picking up a nice layer of those sticky little pebbles. The driver motioned me to pass, but I think it would have been worse in front of him. Besides, I couldn't go any faster.
Tires, bags, bike frame, shoes, socks - now all nicely coated. I grabbed my handy-dandy asphalt-removal tool (the handle of my pliers) and started scraping the tires. Fifteen minutes later, I could see the tread pattern - but all the grooves were still full of tar. And what's better for picking up sharp little things than a tarry tire?
|It took 15 minutes to scrape the gunk off my tires.|
The predominant crops in Kansas along US 24 are corn, wheat, milo, soybeans, and various types of hay. Those big irrigated crop circles look pretty from the air. But what doesn't show is that the farmer has also planted a more drought-tolerant crop in the corners. In the cases I saw, it was wheat. The wheat crop has already been harvested, but just the stubble makes a good contrast against the green of the corn.
See my 1981 account for an interesting perspective from a dry farmer about drought and irrigation.
|The corners of the crop circles are also planted.|
We stayed in Hoxie back in 1981 - probably somewhere near the athletic field. Several townspeople said that was still okay; one family offered their house (including a bed and a shower); but I had had a shower at the KOA the previous night, and decided to camp on my own. The athletic field was in use, so I set up the tent right in front of the high school.
It didn't rain, but the tent, at least, got a shower. Yup. There were sprinklers.
|I camped tonight at the high school.|
It had sprinklers.
P. S.: No, I didn't get a flat after going through all that tar. I'm still at one flat for the trip.