There was lots of dew on everything when we got up this morning. Our tent and rain fly were all wet. It didn't rain, but everything was just as wet as if it would have. We hung the rain fly up on the gazebo and went to the gas station for breakfast. We had cinnamon rolls and coffee, then came back to camp for some oatmeal.
We got a late start today waiting for everything to dry, and it didn't even all dry, so we had to pack some of it in garbage bags to isolate the moisture.
Our first rest stop for the day was going to be in Rosalia, 17 miles away. Our map said there was a gas station and grocery store there. When we got there though, there was neither a gas station nor a grocery store. So we just ate lunch on a bench outside and went over to a house across the street to use the bathroom and fill our water bottles. When we knocked on the door of the house, a lady came out, looked at us, and said, "Daaaad. You got biiiikers." He came to the door, looked at us, and said to her, "Well, what should we do with 'em?"
Then he laughed and said, "What can we do for you guys?" He was a really nice guy and told us he had seen a lot of bikers come by his door, and that he'd "made I don't know how many pots of coffee for 'em".
It was 18 miles to our next rest stop in Eureka, KS. When we got there, I just wanted to say "Eureka! We're in Eureka!". I'm a dork. On the way there though, we found a turtle in the road!
We had a snack of cottage cheese and mandarin oranges, and Nathan had never had them together before. I was happy to introduce him, and he said he liked it. After the food break was over, we whined a little and got back on our bikes.
It had been kind-of windy today, and the heat was hard to ride in because there was no shade. Mostly though, it wasn't today that was making us tired, it was the entire week we'd now spent in Kansas that was making us tired. Constant wind. Constant sun. Never seem to get a break from either. We'd been riding a ton and eating a ton, and we were just worn down.
Besides the turtle, I found some MORE new friends today. Nathan thinks the sun is getting to me. I'm just trying to find a way to take my mind off the tough riding. Either way..meet my new friends:
We were in a new part of Kansas now. We're entering the Flint Hills. At first, we didn't think it was very hilly, but then, after riding 3 miles uphill, we realized we were definitely in the hills now. We haven't ridden a 3 mile uphill since the mountains! When we got to the top, we saw something we haven't seen in a while: a view downhill! We were sure we were probably in the tallest spot in Kansas at the top of this big hill, so we took a picture and a video to document it. We thought it was such a cool and unexpected spot, it would be a great place to thank some more of our supporters: Greg and Sarah Amidon! THANKS GUYS!!
The Flint Hills were tougher than we were expecting them to be..but most things in Kansas seem to be that way. A few miles out from our final destination for the day, Toronto, we saw a big sign that read "Lake 50th Celebration 10/16". That sounded neat, and it was tomorrow. Cool!
We went into town to get some ice cream and ask about the celebration. We found a really cool restaurant that had great desserts! While we enjoyed our oreo "Stuffed Shake" and Neman Marcus apple dumpling, we learned about the celebration. The restaurant owner told us that there was a dam built nearby 50 years ago that formed the local lake and park area, and the town was going to have a big party for it's 50th birthday! There was a big pancake breakfast, lake events all day, a free elk and buffalo burger dinner, and a band from Nashville coming in! It sounded really cool, so we decided to stop here and take our rest day tomorrow to enjoy the lake's 50th birthday party.
While we were at the restaurant, a man came in and got a pizza from the owner. She wouldn't accept payment for the pizza, because he had given her some pulled pork earlier. Well, they got into a friendly debate about it, and she eventually pointed at us and said, "Now, I've got these bikers from Connecticut here. Be civilized!" Nathan and I were half stunned to be included in the debate (and suddenly from Connecticut), and we half wanted to tell the man he was welcome to use his money to pay for our ice cream since the pizza lady didn't want it, but we just stood there and laughed.
After our desserts, we rode out to the lake to find a camping spot, and as we were looking around, some guys called out to us to come over. There were two of them, and they were here with the Canoeing and Kayaking Association, and one of them had biked across the USA twice! They invited us to camp with them, and since they were right on the lake in a really big camping space, we accepted!
I made dinner while Nathan took his shower. When he got back, we ate dinner and he told me about the bathrooms. They don't have a roof. The toilets and showers are open on top!
After dinner, as I gathered my shower gear and headed over, I was not very excited about an open-roofed shower in the cold, dark. However, to my fantastic delight, the showers were nice and hot, and it was just about the coolest thing ever to look up from the shower and see the stars and moon and the whole night sky! I couldn't believe it. I've never taken a shower outside before, and it was awesome! People go to expensive resorts and pay lots of money to take cool, outdoor showers, but here I was in Kansas taking an outdoor shower in a campground made by a dammed up lake, and I was LOVING it! The hardest part was turning off the water...but isn't that always the hardest part of a good shower??
I went back to camp feeling happy, clean, and close to nature. After some more good conversations with our hosts, Bob and Gene, I set the tent up in the dark (again!).
We're looking forward to tomorrow, and I think we'll sleep well tonight. Ahhh...it's good to have a rest day. Night, all.