Bike Trip Day 11 – 7/30/11 – Dodge City, KS to Woodward, OK

Start:  Dodge City, KS

Finish: Woodward, OK

Weather:  102 degrees, sunny

Bike Time: 11 hours

Miles:  111

Distance to date: 758

My third century in four days; I sure will be glad when the motel towns get closer.

Aside from riding a long time, today was a great day.   I left Dodge City at dawn, rolled past the Cargill meat processing plant (where the trucks are labeled ‘Meat Solutions’ which I thought an odd slogan, since Cargill is at the heart of most of our meat problems), the original Fort Dodge and Coronado’s cross (commemorating Coronado’s expedition through the Arkansas River valley in 1541 in search of the riches of  the Querecho civilization, who just turned
out to be the Wichita Indians).  Within a few miles the plateau of the High Plains fell away, as well as the associated irrigation
from the Ogallala Aquiver, leaving the detritus of industrial agriculture, giant sprinklers, feedlots and meat packing plants, behind me.  I was back in rolling terrain with fields of
hay and wheat subject to the vagaries of rainfall; less productive land perhaps, but more beautiful to be sure.

I had 110 miles to go to Woodward, the nearest place I knew had a motel, and 75 miles to Buffalo, OK, where I knew there was a café, so I had four liters of water and a passel of power bars in case nothing else turned up.  Fortunately there was a nice restaurant in Ford, KS so I had a second breakfast early on, just to reinforce the belly.  Good thing I did, because the next food or drink of any kind was 60 miles away, in Buffalo, OK.  The day as warm but the breeze light, no construction due to being Saturday, and I made good time.

Shorty’s Café in Buffalo was worth the journey.  The waitresses
practically swooned on me, filled my empty water bottles and put them in the freezer while I ate, served up a basket of barbeque with smothered onions, fried okra and a warm cinnamon bun for dessert, along with giant mason jars of water and diet coke.  I was fortified for my final 34 miles, which was good because the afternoon winds picked up – straight at
me – and the final third was a grind.

Yesterday I battled winds while following the Santa Fe Trail, and commiserated with the ancient pioneers.  Today my wind experience was all about the future.  Oklahoma, with the oil it has extracted from beneath the surface running thin, has invested big time in wind energy, and there are immense wind farms lining the ridges of northwest Oklahoma.  I watched the farms for over ten miles.  As I approached they grew larger and larger, until I realized there are multiple sizes of turbines lining the ridges, many over 100 feet tall.  The dance of the blades, moving at different rhythms across the land, created mesmerizing patterns.  If the early pioneers became insane from the endless wind, these towering monsters simply induce dizziness.  I took dozens of photos of them, the tall,
stark forms with their industrial grey shadows reminded me of objects in Charles Sheeler paintings, but alas my camera could not capture how they command their bluff.

The turbines are a majestic presence, but unfortunately I could not figure out how to harness them to propel me forward, so I battled the wind with my legs alone and drifted into Woodward around 7:00 pm, tired but glad of my adventure.

Liquid statistic – I consumed 16 ounces of orange juice, 80 ounces of diet coke, and more than 300 ounces of water today.  That is over 3 gallons of fluids!

Signs of where live leads in Buffalo, OK

Turbines along the ridge of the North Canadian River Valley

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About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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8 Responses to Bike Trip Day 11 – 7/30/11 – Dodge City, KS to Woodward, OK

  1. Len Gengel says:

    Paul
    I’m really enjoying your journey, I’m especially liking the Picture you are painting while riding each day!!! Keep it going and I will continue to pray for your safety!!!
    Be well my friend!!!
    BLB,Len

    • Thanks, Len. As i ride I still check the construction photos, so tell Gama and Pat they are being watched. I am really thrilled to see the progress on the school – the first concrete pour is at hand!

  2. Paul Beaulieu says:

    Paul
    What a great way to follow your progress and share your experience.
    Despite your arduous trip you certainly seem to be stopping along the way to smell the flowers.
    Be safe and I look forward to your next post.
    Paul B

    • Thanks, guy. I couldn’t do this without all your help keeping everything in order at home. The cows remind me of Silas – big and brown and sage looking.

  3. Sherri McCutchen says:

    Thank you for the wonderful lessons in history, natural history, and the economies of the areas through which you’re riding. The Irish blessing upon you!

  4. I want to go to all these diners!

    • You bet! All that fruit and salad that I eat in Cambridge holds no appeal – I am really hungry and country food tastes great. I had amazing hot cakes this morning, something I would never make at home!

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