Average Speed: 14.0 mph; Max Speed: 26.6 mph
Elevation gain: 743 ft
Average Temp: 85.6 F; Temp range: 60.8-102.2
I set my alarm for just after 6 today, but woke up before it went off. Not wanting to disturb my host, Sally, I did my best to be quiet while cooking up breakfast: coffee pancakes and 3 eggs. My attempts to be quiet worked, because when she woke up and saw me with my plate of food, she was surprised to find me awake. Between today and yesterday, I am now sure of a few things. First, I do not like instant coffee. I will drink it, because I like caffeine in the mornings, but blech. Second, just add water pancake mixes are even worse than the standard mixes that require a few ingredients. Ah, well, I can’t exactly buy and carry the ingredients for good pancakes with me, so I’ll just have to deal.
Sally is an artist, and before I left, I took a few pictures of her work. With her permission, I’d like to share them with you. You can find more information at www.sallylincoln.com.
It was already warm when I rode off. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it held the promise of becoming so as the day progressed. I hadn’t even left town before I passed a touring cyclist. Chris, who is on his way from Milwaukee to northern California, is now the third person I’ve encountered using kitty litter bucket panniers. He’s the first, though, to have saddle bags, like the ones used when riding horses, as his front panniers. “For things that don’t have to stay dry,” he said, since the canvas bags were definitely not waterproof.
The first town after Pueblo was Boone, and I pulled up at the city park to greet a pair of cyclists. They were part of another Adventure Cycling Association tour group, this time a van-supported one. They told me a bit about the land ahead and I returned the favor. Then I headed to the post office to send home some now-unnecessary gear. It is mostly my winter clothes, but the package also includes a few small things I’ve picked up, the map sections I’ve completed, and two plastic plates I had brought for chopping veggies on. When I do buy fresh vegetables to eat with my dinner, I tend to cut them in my hand and eat them raw while other things are cooking, so the plates have been unused all this time. I might have sent the plates home early, but they were light so I didn’t bother. In fact, the whole package wasn’t all that heavy. I’ve rid myself of more bulk than I have weight. Oh well.
I passed the rest of the Adventure Cycling Group spread out along the road, mostly waving and shouting a greeting. The last pair of riders stopped for a chat, though. Hugh and Meghan (Meghan is one of the trip leaders) pulled over and we talked for a while. Hugh likes to stop and see the things he’s passing, so he tends to ride towards the end of the group. Meghan has seen my posts on Instagram, since I tag everything to do with this trip with #ACATransAm. Meghan told me about how she became a group leader, and they both talked about good places to stay on the road ahead, including a hostel in Newton that I’ve now heard mentioned several times.
After leaving Hugh and Meghan, I made my way to Olney Springs, where they had told me was a man with a small museum who gave out bottled water to cyclists. The man in question is a veteran and has won some veteran’s awards for his artwork. He also says he’s never touched a keyboard or used a computer in his entire life, and that he doesn’t own a cellphone.
The mayor of Olney Springs asked him to welcome cyclists and talk about what the town can provide for them, and he has embraced the task with enthusiasm. I saw some of his art, the sign he painted for the town, and a few other signs in progress. A lot of his work was visually interesting, and easier to parse than the sign, though. Objects made out of dots are easier to see than words made out of dots (or maybe it was the color choice). The sign is still cool though. I particularly like the bicycle.
After that, I didn’t talk to a single human being until I reached my destination several hours later. Usually, I at least talk to store clerks or something, but today I was very much alone. Good thing I had downloaded an audiobook yesterday. Even better, the narrative is a bit like puzzle pieces, and I’m almost certain I’m going to want to listen a second time once I know the big picture.
I saw Haswell from a distance because of a grain elevator. I wasn’t certain at the time that it actually was Haswell, but I was hoping, because by that point in the day it was hot and my right hamstring had begun to twinge a bit. Haswell allows camping in their town park, so I pulled in and sat down at one of the many picnic tables under the pavilion to enjoy the shade. There’s water in the park and some (super-sketchy) pit toilets, so I’m set for the night.
It was early for dinner when I rolled up, so I pulled out my Kindle and read for a bit. While I was reading, a woman from London stopped in for a bit of shade. She’s riding westward at a good clip; she’s only been on the road a little more than a month. She had ridden from where I hope to end my day tomorrow and still had another 35-40 miles to go today. She hadn’t intended for her ride to be that long, but a storm delayed her yesterday and made her cut her day short.
After dinner, a group of guys pulled up in a pickup. One of the asked if I would mind their having a barbeque. I thanked him for asking and said I didn’t mind. Once they had set up, he came back to talk to me for a while about my ride. He said he would do something similar on a motorcycle, but was fascinated by the idea of doing it on a bike. He had also met some of the people competing in the TransAm race, and so I explained to him about the utter insanity of the leaders (well, it’s insane to me, it likely makes perfect sense to them). He also asked me if I was scared. I replied that so far most people had been nice to me, and neglected to tell him that I had been watching their group out of my peripheral vision since they first drive by, just in case.
Although I don’t think it got as hot as the Garmin claims, it was warm and sunny all day, and I am tired. Tonight, sleep will come easy, so long as that barbeque doesn’t go too long. They’re not actually being very loud, so perhaps it won’t matter.
Roadkill count: 9 birds, 1 deer, 4 skunks, 2 unknown mammals, 1 snake