Today was about finding a comfortable place to rest for the night. I’ll start around 1:30 AM last night. I woke up and had to go to the bathroom. I went and as I walked back towards my tent I felt a droplet of rain on my head. I hadn’t put on my rain fly, and all my gear was spread out because the forecast had been dry. I spent 20 minutes getting the fly on while half asleep, in the dark. Right as I crawled back into the tent the rain started, hard. Then came lightening flashes that lit up the sky, but the thunder was still long delayed. The rain and thunder was loud enough that it prevented me from sleeping so I read my book. The downpour continued until the ground was soaked, and there was a puddle building up against the floor of my tent. Luckily the tent held and no water rushed in, but it did feel like lying on a waterbed. Eventually the rain died down to a drizzle and the thunder ceased and I got some sleep. I woke around 7 to find that the rain had stopped, but that everything was soaked and muddy. I left it all to dry out as I got changed into riding clothes and prepped for the day, but it didn’t really help, everything went into it’s bag wet, particularly the tent. The panniers were also muddy and dirty. I did a bit of bike maintenance and had a light breakfast and by the time I was ready to leave it was late, maybe 8:30. Travis was deliberating whether to leave the route and take the Eastern Express to DC. He says he thinks he’s going to, I can’t wait to hear how it goes. I decided not to do it because of my skinny tires.
I got underway and saw a tree that had fallen overnight.
The rain really brings out the prettiest of nature
As I rode down a flat back road a pair of dogs barked at me from a field, but stayed back. Their owner honked a car horn to summon them back and they listened, temporarily. They chased me again, this time one of them biting at my panniers. The owner honked again and they pulled off. I need to get an air horn or something.
I took a left onto 39 and got to ride a freshly paved road surface, visible in this cornfield photo
There was little traffic, I honestly believe because most people were in church
I passed a nonexistent small town then turned onto a small county road to avoid continuing on the increasingly busy 39. This road was in poor condition and had more traffic than I’d expect. I think a lot of it was again people coming home from church. This was a really long, warm, uncomfortable slog. There wasn’t much to look at and I was burning through water quickly. It felt like I was making very slow progress which demoralized me even more. Each milestone seemed to take an impossibly long time and when I reached a convenience store that I was hoping to cool off at it was closed. Oh well, I kept going. I did see this macabre display
Not too long after I pulled into the town of Chanute, or at least, the Southern edge of it. I went into the first restaurant I saw, a gas station, and got some food. It wasn’t good but the ac felt nice, as did the slushii. Travis had mentioned a Chinese food place in town but it was at the north end, and I didn’t feel like heading all the way up there so I had to skip it. I set about looking for lodging. There was an RV park in town that I wasn’t too excited about after the rain the night before. I called a church further ahead and they said they had space for the night. Only thing is that it was 30 more miles ahead, and I kind of wanted to stop for the day: it was almost 2 and getting very warm and humid. I really wanted a roof over my head so we t for it. I loaded up on ice water and candy then set out. The road out of town was trafficy at first but quickly emptied. I took a left onto a small road I’d be on literally until I reached the church. It was sunny and though the forecast said only 85 degrees it felt like more. I had to continuously drink to stay cool.
Despite the heat I was making better progress than I had in the morning and felt pretty good. I was actually somewhat enjoying the hills (more the descents) and the miles went by at a good pace. The only worry was running out of water, but I have plenty so need to stop worrying about that. I refilled at the small town of Walnut and soon after I passed a state road and knew that I was getting close. I pulled up and this must be the most scenic church ever
I met the pastor and he gave me a tour then left me to my own devices. It’s a gorgeous space and has fresh veges, homemade ice cream, and a full kitchen for us. I got everything out of my bags to dry it in the sun. I made some dinner of Mac and cheese and grilled zucchini, which normally I don’t even like but it tasted so good. Ice cream for desert was the cherry on top. I got a hotel for tomorrow and the next day just down the road, I’m taking my first rest day since Montana! I’m gonna go do dishes then get some sleep. Night!
- Cliff bar
- Honey stinger
- Chicken tenders
- Corn dog
- Ice cream sandwich
- Sour patch watermelon
- Mac and cheese
- Uncured meat
- Ice cream
- Flavored ice
- Fruit cup
- Peanut butter crackers