September 19, 2016 – Sun, 95 degrees
Miles Today: 85
Miles to Date: 16,533
States to Date: 45
One word describes the challenge of crossing the plains – wind. Today the wind and I did a subtle dance as I moved west and it came out of the south. When the wind shifted a bit east or my route veered to the north, I tacked it to advantage. But if my route pivoted even a few degrees or the wind shifted to the west, it pressed against me. Either way, my cycling was easier than when I crossed North Dakota and encountered steady winds from the west for days on end. Let’s hope these breezes keep prevailing.
The Kansas State Capitol in Topeka is a gorgeous structure that underwent extensive restoration in 2009. They excavated the basement to expose giant granite foundations and put the museum exhibits in this grotto-like space. I thought it very effective. Then, you rise up to the ornate chambers and elaborate dome. The rough stone below and intricate ornament above create a wonderful counterpoint.
It was after noon when I started the long slog to Manhattan: forty miles before I got a real break in Wamego on a very hot day. When its 95 degrees out, the contents of my water bottles keep my hydrated but don’t refresh.
After cold PowerAde, the last fifteen miles were a breeze. I stayed up past midnight talking with a wonderful local couple that lives in an old hotel downtown turned to apartments: appropriately urban for a Kansas town called Manhattan.