• Mariela Perez-Cabarcas

Day 44: And Then There Were Three

Thursday, July 15, 2022. 49.8 miles.

Dodge City, KS -> Lakin, KS

I will summarize today's highlights by size:

BIG things:

  • Kindness <3

Imagine this. You're biking down the side of the road and a car pulls over right in front of you. You're confused as to why a car would do this. You speed by the car. As you're passing, the driver puts down their window and who do you see? None other than our lovely host, Lindy. As it turns out we had left 4 of our filled water bottles at her house and she chased us down so she could return them to us. We had no more water bottle cages on our bikes to carry them, but thankfully our cycling jerseys have plenty of pockets. This extra water turned out to be pretty useful as there turned out to be no place to refill our bottles between Dodge City and our lunch stop.

  • Earth, Wind, and Fire

By earth, I mean the smell of cow manure was strong on this ride as each truck full of livestock that passed us provided a fresh whiff of manure. The strong winds today also meant that each large truck going in the same direction as us gave us a little boost of speed as it sped by, kinda like a red mushroom in Mario Kart. Trucks passing in the opposite direction, unfortunately, had the opposite effect (more like a red turtle shell).

The fire refers to the heat that would reach over 100 degrees if we stayed out past 1 pm. For this reason, we left as early as we possibly could and biked for as far as we could before the scorching heat became dangerous to bike in.

  • Pupusas and horchata!

Much to my surprise Garden City, KS has a large Latin American population, which of course brings with it delicious authentic Latin American food. More specifically, we encountered an El Salvadorean food truck specializing in pupusas. Pupusas are thick griddle cakes made from corn meal and stuffed with various ingredients such as cheese, refried beans, squash, or chicharron. We got four giant pupusas of various stuffings (including cheese, refried beans, chorizo, shrimp, squash, loroco, and carne asada). Maxwell and I also each got a giant refreshing cup of horchata bigger than Sophia's head.

smol things:

  • Baby bird

Imagine once again you are flying down the side of the road. You glance down at your front tire and see an adorable baby bird perilously close. The bird has also noticed your presence and, of course, freaks out and starts chirping and running wildly. You do everything you can to avoid running it over and look back and hope your fellow cyclists are able to do the same. Thankfully, none of us flattened our feathered friend. I wasn't able to catch a picture but imagine something like this:

Photo Credit

  • Little green friend

At our first rest stop, we made another small friend who would join us on the rest of our ride. Pictured below.

  • Group of bikers

The small group of bikers I am referring to is in fact us. With Robert driving, Simone out of commission from the deer incident, and Franklin on a serious sleep deficit due to a large caffeinated sweet tea consumed the night before, it was down to just 3 cyclists—Me, Maxwell, and Sophia. Although we were a small group, we speedily made it to our lunch spot where we decided we would shuttle the remaining 20 miles to our hotel for the night (due to the ever-increasing and dangerous heat and wind).

To avoid another day of biking in the unbearable heat, we decided that we would go to bed ridiculously early so we could wake up ridiculously early. We were to "have everything packed by 6 [am] except our stomachs" (that was when the hotel breakfast would start). To expedite our morning departure even further, we decided to undertake the extensive water bottle filling task the night before, as pictured below.

Quote of the day: "I'm turning a new leaf" — Simone, trying to suggest that despite literally never previously waking up on time before this trip, she is now better at waking up than the person who was on the crew team for 4 years and had to routinely wake up at 5 am (me). I believe what she was trying to say was that she is turning over a new leaf, but also she may have meant that she rotated a leaf 90 degrees. Up for interpretation.

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