Location: Bazine, KS (Elaine’s Bicycle Oasis)
The wind blew hard this sunless morning. The gray clouds hung low over Dighton, and I could see several tattered American flags snapping in the strong south winds as I cleared my eyes and came to dread the morning. Brian was even slower than I to climb out of his tent. I started drying my gear in the wind, wet from the morning dew. I hung my tent ever a park bench and draped some of my clothes on my bike. Most everything was dry because I took precaution last night, having heard that a thick wet fog was coming across the plains.
First thing this morning we went to the grocery store. We usually buy two days of food at a time since that’s all we want to carry. Therefore we are in the store every few mornings. Afterwards, we went to the library, I had to write my article for the Topsail Voice. For the first time, I had a block. I couldn’t put the words on paper to tell the reader a story. Seldom am I at a loss for words. I wrote, deleted, wrote, deleted and finally sought Katie’s help. She pointed me in the right direction, which was backwards, back to my original plan to tell about life as a bicycle tourist. I had strayed from that intention in my writing, and I started talking about the trip too glamorously. Once I returned to writing about the core of life out here, the words came much more easily. Still, I had to divide my work into two sessions, one in Dighton and the other in Ness City. With 30 miles between writing sessions, I worked out all the details and alleviated my second thoughts.
We completed our computer work in Ness City around 5:30 and decided to push on another 20 miles. When we reached Bazine at twelve miles though, we stopped to check the rates at the Bicycle Oasis, a roadside B&B exclusively for cyclists. Elaine and Dan run the B&B. Dan has been in the fields all day, and Elaine welcomed us into their home. Elaine’s small and frail with curled hands and pale hair. She has a soft voice but strong opinions about people, religion, and politics. We told her about ourselves and she seemed to like us. She let us shower and do laundry, and then she fed us elk chili. We polished off the kettle at her insistence and then washed all of the dishes to spare her the chore. She has let us pick the ripest white peaches from her two trees and tomorrow she will make us French toast.
The stay is well worth the ten dollars she asks, and we will likely leave her fifteen each because of her generosity. Tomorrow we will wake early enough to eat breakfast with her husband before he heads back into the fields for another long workday. Perhaps we will get a jumpstart on the day, but I’m sure that we will find something to delay us.