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 but old habits die hard as they say. The morning comes and the wind blows from some unfavorable direction and all that planning goes out the window and 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. With nonchalance he also offered a reduced rate at the B&B as another option. Awesome!

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