Received an email from Joel in Burlington, KS, who I'm staying with in a few days. Here's some of it :
The weather is a bit unpredictable this time of year due to the change in seasons. The temperature has been known to drop 15 to 20 degrees in less than an hour when a "Blue Norther" blows in from Canada. You can usually see it coming if you are out on the plains--BIG, DARK cloud bank that looks like midnight coming from the North--if you see it--find a hole and crawl in it. If you ever feel that you are in danger from weather, beasty, or man, don't hesitate to dial 911 on your cell and ask for assistance. For that matter, don't hesitate to call me any time if you need a lift or help. You are now close enough that I could be there with my FBRU (foreign bicyclist rescue unit) in a few hours.
We will communicate later, as you get nearer, to find out what we can do to make your stop here as restorative as possible. Your diet of meat and bread concerns me for several reasons. Give some thought as to what you might be craving or wanting to try. I am considered a "better that average" cook and would be willing to try something from your slate of personal favorites, but I draw the line at haggis; however, I do have one in a can that one of my exchange students brought for me. Knowing what is in it, along with the sound it makes when I shake the can, makes my gorge rise.
Be well and be safe-
If I'd only turned left at Lamar I could have stopped in Holcomb yesterday (where the events of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood took place) and might have reached Great Bend tonight. I'm very impressed with the service in grocery stores here; they are always friendly, polite and there is often someone to carry heavy shopping to one's car, especially the elderly or women with young children. Sunny and in the 50s again today, except the Wicked Wind of the North continued to blow. Kansas land seems to be completely taken up with grain and the occasional 'nodding donkey', and every half mile there are straight roads leading off to distant farms, metallic cylinders and industrial plants. Overhead, geese wheeled and warbled, waiting for slowcoaches to catch up. The library door in Montezuma has a sign like a no smoking one, but with a gun in place of a cigarette. Oh man! I couldn't take my AK47 in there and shoot up some kids. Another huge wind farm by the road and this one had its own 'overlook', just in case you hadn't noticed the hundred foot turbines for the last ten miles. I'd understand it if they were painted different colours or were lit up at night. I had no idea how many counties there are in some states. Kansas about a hundred counties, each about 30 miles square, with a county town a few thousand strong and a several smaller towns. Tiny though they are, they have their own sheriff, commissioners and countless other tin pot officials. Some even have their own sales tax, which is a different percentage than the surrounding counties.
Worn out by the time I turned into Wyatt Earp Boulevard in Dodge City, although the fact that I'd ridden 273 miles in the last three days might have had something to do with it. A statue of a cow takes pride of place, and as it didn't seem very attractive and smelt of cow poo, I could see why it was so named. Hard time finding a reasonably priced motel. One elderly receptionist with about two teeth in her head suggested I go elsewhere for wi fi because “Ours ain't worth a crap.” By the fourth motel I was too cold and hungry to refuse, even though there was no wi fi. The smiley lady at the desk had fled Laos when it turned communist in 1981 and she told me about another cyclist who had stayed there a month ago... “About your age – 30 or 31.” I liked her. It wasn't Chris though; he's not omnipresent. Alongside the bible in my room, I was surprised to see a booklet entitled The way to Happiness, a guide to modern living with no religious content. They had beer at the restaurant down the road – and not only that – they managed to find one at room temperature! I overheard a waitress reply to a customer who enquired how she was, “I'm doing fine; wouldn't do me any good to complain if I wasn't.”