Location: Eads, CO (Eads City Park)
Today was pretty uneventful. The plains don’t leave much to speak of. The green and brown horizon stretches for miles in every direction, occasionally interrupted by farm buildings and silos. At the center of several towns that we passed through were massive white silos, several hundred feet high. We followed the train tracks all day, and the tracks all ran beside these huge silos. Each town we came to looks like any other, and I think I am seeing “small town middle America.” Each town has its unique qualities, whether the look of Main Street or the color of the water tower, but they all fit a generic model that is, in my mind, the average Middle America town. The lifestyle seems simple, pleasant, and fulfilling. The people are friendly, of all ages, and curious about us. Sometimes in these towns I feel that all eyes are looking at us, sometime with curiosity and other times with disdain. Sometimes I feel as though I’m so alien to these people and their way of life that they just want me to move on, to stop encroaching on a customary and traditional lifestyle.
Despite my occasional paranoia, I’ve enjoyed biking through the high plains so far. The wind blew from the southeast, so a bit in our faces, but we made fast progress and quick work of the sixty miles between Ordway and Eads. The monotony of the flat and straight road can be tedious at times, but Brian and I have been able to easily ride two abreast and carry on conversations to pass the time.
We did spot some wildlife today, a tarantula. I’d never seen one in the wild, and it made my skin crawl when I spotted him on the side of the road. Other than the hairy fat spider, it was grass, pavement, and telephone poles stretching for miles like a picket fence. At any time, I could look miles into the distance to where the black road blurred in the afternoon heat.
Just before arriving in Eads, we crossed paths with three westbound cyclists, a guy and two girls. The guy gave us maps of Kansas and Missouri so that we could locate the KATY trail in Missouri. It looks like we won’t have a problem reaching it now, though we originally thought we might. Taking the trail will add a couple hundred miles to the trip, but we will get the chance to bypass the Ozarks. Neither of us wants to deal with the constant ups and downs of the road through the Ozarks, so the Rails-to-Trails KATY trail will provide a great alternative.
We’re camped tonight in a city park at the foot of one of the massive silos I mentioned earlier. Looking up at the top is like looking up at a giant six packs of drinks. The structure has that familiar shape of six aluminum cans, with a square building set on top. I can hear traffic on the road so I will likely have to wear my earplugs tonight. The traffic has intensified this evening as compared to this afternoon. Semis now pass constantly, and I suppose the drivers are getting a head start for Monday. Tomorrow we will try to reach Scott City, KS, 110 miles from here. The only way we will be able to do it is with a solid tailwind. The wind is predicted to be out of the north tomorrow. We obviously need it more out of the west. We’ll see what fate brings us.