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Day 33: Riders on the Storm

Pratt -> Dodge city, KS

82.77 mi, 1554 ft

Total distance: 1811.82

The team got a late start biking this morning since we were hoping to wait out some of the scattered thunderstorms in the area, and you'll see momentarily how that worked out. Despite the late start, I didn't actually get any extra sleep because I woke up expecting to leave normally but upon seeing the weather we all decided to wait. Nevertheless, I actually had a great night of sleep, perhaps fueled by my busy drive day and big quinoa taco dinner on Thursday. Maybe I'll break down the stats from my Oura health tracker sometime in the future to show just how I learn about my sleep quality and recovery.

Kat and I left around 8:30 with some ominous clouds still lingering around. We don't mind getting rained on so long as there isn't any lightning nearby. Sure enough, after the first hours or so we started to get rained on pretty hard. The shower only lasted around 20 minutes and visibility was never bad. Seeing clear skies in the distance, we rode onward.

I love biking through Kansas so far, and a main reason for that is the sky. There's so much of it here! Whether sunny or cloudy, the sky is an ever-shifting source of awe for me. Below is a menagerie of the skies we saw today (along with a lizard you may notice ziptied to my bike. I got my "lucky lizard" at lizard lips bar and grille outside of Toronto KS a couple days ago. In need of name recommendations!)

It probably helps that I have a PPL, so I already had a fascination with the sky and flight for a while. With freshly dried glasses (always wipe vertically because horizontal scratches create glare that's harder to see through), I enjoyed watching the interesting (if sometimes dreary) clouds and lightning far in the distance, so far we couldn't even hear the thunder.

Joy and Audrey managed their timing perfectly and managed not to get wet while Vin and Duha who left last got hailed on (quite small stones so no injuries). Storms here are truly unpredictable and on another level to those we've encountered so far.

After the morning rain, the rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. Crop fields and prairie abounded, and we saw (and smelled) more cattle as we neared Dodge city. There were some windmills to break up the skyline but not much else. We even saw a crop duster in the distance wheeling around in tight turns on the edge of a field--for a second I genuinely thought it was crashing before it leveled off for its next pass.

We finally arrived in Dodge City, a lingering fragment of the wild west. We didn't go to any of the cowboy attractions but apparently they have shows with gunslingers and stuff.

Our amazing hosts Lindy and Warren greeted us with delicious smelling food, warm showers, and real beds!

The recipe (a delicious rice dish with mushrooms and broccoli) was inspired by Loïc who had stayed with them a few days prior. We were happy to hear our French friend is making speedy progress on his journey. The dinner concluded with stories of our hosts' struggles and successes with the city to keep bees and a native grass lawn. I had a truly lovely evening hearing about past guests and Lindy's cool insurrection quilt--a story for another time.

My night ended with a delicious mug cake made from a magical mix of angel food cake and regular boxed cake mix before I crashed on another couch (my preferred sleeping place).


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