• Robert Henning

Day 37: 404 Page Not Found, and Day 38: Lakefront Rest Day

Carthage, MO to Farlington, KS

60 miles, 413 elevation gain

and a rest day in Farlington, KS

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re in Kansas

We got ready after waking up at our lovely stay in Carthage. For breakfast, we had a new oven-based egg dish, which is likely to be a new staple, and then we hit the road. We soared through the mostly flat roads of western Missouri. Roughly halfway through our ride, we entered Kansas! Though the landscape and feel is similar, the road signs feature a sunflower instead of Missouri’s silhouette.

As we followed our path into Kansas, we noticed that the state’s roads follow a nearly perfect graph paper grid. Though there are a few exceptions and several historic roads that break from the grid, every mile has an intersection as another vertex of the grid. Maintaining the signs at intersections in the middle of nowhere must be a laborious task for the state’s officials. And while this grid gives us more flexibility for our own routes as a means to circumnavigate closed roads, it likely has steep maintenance costs.

We followed the routes that Google Maps recommended, but that brought us through several miles of treacherous gravel roads. Though Google doesn’t fully account for our reduced speed on gravel, other apps like Komoot account for the variations in the road’s surface, and we use these other apps for cross-referencing routes. Several of our stays have brought us off of he hallowed US bike route 76, and those routes require extra care.

We arrived into Farlington, where we were staying at Lake Crawford. We met up with our host, Nathan, and swam in the lake. The water was so refreshing after the hot day.

And with a fish hatchery in the vicinity of the lake, and a storied history of fishing experience in our host Nathan’s family, we had fishing to look forward to, as well.

We shared a delicious chicken dinner with Nathan, who brought us banana bread, then we fell asleep, soaking in the AC after the hot day.

Somehow, the entry for July 7th in our route spreadsheet was missing. A few weeks ago, we noticed this, and fixed our route as needed. Since noticing that error, we’ve double-checked the rest of our plans, and everything is resolved. But that meant we had a rest day in Farlington!

For our rest day, we made the most of the lakefront cabin that we were staying in. We went on boats, we fished, and we also caught up on some of the shopping that we needed to do for our trip. Some of us even visited Lake Crawford’s own cafe, which had wifi.

Nathan went to a nearby college, Pitt State, which we learned had Gorillas as its mascot. I had to pick up a Pitt State Gorillas shirt, which I have worn proudly; it brought a smile to several of the locals we met in town, and it’s a neat keepsake.

As we were new to Kansas, we had so many questions, and Nathan had so many answers. Hilariously, to put his experience into context, in Kansas, locals often don’t run from tornados. Instead, they pull up a lawn chair and watch(!) Some of us were cry-laughing, it was so hilarious. We also saw how the local fair had demo derby cars, which are modified and then smashed together. You can also participate in bull riding; Kansas is hardcore!

Thank you, Nathan, for a great first introduction to Kansas! And for those following our trip and rooting us on, thank you for all of the support!

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