No brain, no gain

At the end of each day's ride I have a number of rituals I perform before heading off to sleep. Writing this journal is one of them. Another is an exhaustive look at the map where I carefully consider what might be the optimal route to take. I scrutinize every road and consider what the grades might be, the traffic and above all how many miles I can shave off. Impressed? Don't be. It's pretty much a waste of time. The morning comes and the wind blows from some unfavorable direction and all that planning goes out the window. I end up taking the first road going in a different way in hopes of alleviating my misery.

That would be a good way to explain today's ride which tentatively had me going towards mid-state but instead because of a stiff breeze from the west I instead went straight north skirting Topeka's western edges. Just as the wind torment eased thus began the hills. Hills? Oh yes, quite a few of them. Walkers in Kansas fer Chrissakes! A worse psychological blow was a road detour that denied me access to I70 where I hoped to find a motel. Instead, this detour had me going towards Topeka losing both time and distance - and taking me towards a city. Three or four miles into this detour I saw gravel road ahead and decided I had had enough and turned back. At this point I was fatigued and dealing with the wind, heat and hills but more than that I was just plain angry and wanting for nothing more than the day to end.

My left knee was very sore and I kept worrying that a busted tendon or what-have-you and the trip is over. I can't remember a day I wanted to ride less than this afternoon and began to consider tenting it in the bushes somewhere but somehow my will to get to a real bed outweighed my exhaustion. I eventually made it to a town called Dover just south of I70. There I saw someone mowing the lawn and asked for directions towards the nearest motel. He was the owner of the building whose lawn he was mowing, a fancy bed and breakfast that was hopelessly out of my price range. We discussed a few possibilities none of which seemed very appealing. He then nonchalantly offered a much reduced rate at the B&B as another option. Deal!

It turns out that Ken and Joan own what used to be a stagecoach inn used back in the old pony express days. The building, in fact, is in the national historical register as a recognized landmark. I also accepted Ken's invitation to ride along as he went for some grocery shopping into Topeka. I had Chinese again, this time being served a mammoth portion of food that must have weighed about four pounds for only $5.49. I felt extraordinarily guilty throwing three quarters of it away but figured the leftovers would be inedible if I left them out in the trailer for tomorrow's lunch.

Day 37