Average Speed: 12.1 mph; Max Speed: 23.8 mph
Elevation Gain: 1,054 ft
Average Temp: 79.5 F; Temp Range: 68.0-95.0 F
Last evening it rained. Hard. And not just once but several times again through the night. It was more than enough to make me triply grateful for being indoors (the first bit of gratefulness came from AC and the second from having a mattress). But all the people who told me that the Newton hostel was not to be missed were correct. I slept in the TransAtlantic Way (not to be confused with the TransAmerica Trail) room. This is the room where they put the TransAm racers: it’s in the back of the hostel, dark and quiet. Perfect for a solid night of sleep. The beds also have plugs and USB sockets at each bed, so I could charge my gear. They have a few private rooms, but the TransAtlantic Way room is a dorm-style room. Even so, I had it all to myself, also very good for solid sleep.
My alarm went off at 5, but then I shut it off and went back to sleep until closer to 6AM. Ah, sleep. I do very much enjoy my sleep. Perhaps the pace I’m keeping and the dearth of rest days is catching up with me a bit. Or perhaps it’s the camping. Even when I sleep for 8 hours when in my tent, it’s not usually the same quality of sleep as I’d get in a bed with a roof.
I had set up the coffee pot last night, and flicked it on first thing. Breakfast today took advantage of having a refrigerator: granola with yogurt and a touch of milk. I had prepared a number of things last night as well: water bottles filled and in the fridge to chill, clothes set out and all other clothes packed up, that kind of thing. It was a technique to save me time, but I didn’t rush my morning. I wanted to savor the real coffee.
I was up before the other two guests in the hostel and did my best to be quiet, but I wasn’t entirely successful. They were up before I left, though, so we had a chance to exchange cards. I left my key on the bed, as instructed, and left the building, ready to head out.
The morning was cooler than the last few days have been, but more humid thanks to the rain. The sky was mostly cloudy all morning and into the early afternoon, which kept the heat down. All in all, it was a nice change from the bright, hot, pounding sunshine of the last few days. Even more so because the clouds didn’t rain on me, they just blocked the sun.
Heading east from Newton there is a 40 mile stretch of road with no services, so I brought extra water, just in case. Turns out that the wind died down a bit overnight as well. Even when I did have a headwind, it wasn’t of the same caliber as the winds I had fought the last few days. The extra water wasn’t necessary, then, but it was nice to have in that it minimized me having to stop when I did pass through towns.
There were a lot of open fields again today. Some with crops, some pastureland with livestock. There were also more trees, again. Still not a lot of sites for shade, not that it was necessary today, but the land is gradually showing signs of more regular rainfall.
Cassoday was the first town I passed through, and they were having a bit of an event. On the first Sunday of every month they host a gathering for motorcyclists. I passed and was passed by a lot of motorcycles on the road today, and one of the riders even struck up a conversation when he saw me in town. I didn’t stay long, though, just long enough to take a few pictures and top off my water supply.
Until Kansas, I hadn’t seen a single turtle. The other day I moved one the rest of the way across the road. Today I did that two more times, and saw several on the side of the road that hadn’t made it and ended up with cracked shells and other mortal wounds. It can’t be easy being a slow animal surrounded by fast cars.
I had a plan for the day, with two potential stops depending on how I felt. As morning turned into afternoon, I was confident I would arrive in the first town around 3PM, with potential to get to the second. I didn’t think I would try for the further destination, though. It was cooler than the last few days, but that didn’t mean I really wanted to ride over 90 miles in that weather. I might feel better after a good night of sleep, but I was still tired.
I did ride into Eureka around 3. The town was hit by a sall tornado recently, but from what I heard, the damage was concentrated on a few blocks. I didn’t see anything major on my way to the grocery store or the park.
Once again, this small town has a park equipped with (cold) showers. The pool was open until 6, but I was more interested in making dinner and resting than in jumping into the water, especially since the temperature wasn’t that bad. The sun did come out shortly after I arrived, though, making the temperature rise a bit and causing me to be glad I hadn’t continued on my ride.
I read a bit, nearly falling asleep on the picnic table bench, and watched the fun and games of a children’s birthday party. The park is empty now, and just maybe, I can convince my body that 8PM is a perfectly reasonable bedtime.
Roadkill count: 4 birds, 1 armadillo, 3 deer (including one fawn), 1 raccoon, 2 unknown mammals, 1 snake, 4 turtles