17 June 2010

Hesston to Nickerson

Hesston, KS is another delightful small Kansas town and we were only planning to stay one night, but little did we know Mother Nature had something else in mind for us.  The storms we had here two nights in a row were even more severe than the one in Chanute, especially the wind.  One night the gusts were up to nearly 60 mph!
It was kinda of scary being able to see the fronts rolling in on you.  The sky here is BIG.
Layers upon layers of clouds approached our campsite.  We got prepared.  Ken made sure the tent was staked in good and I got our food and water inside the tent so we could eat if we got stuck in there awhile.  We were close to the restrooms, thank goodness, but even a quick dash there got us SOAKED.  The wind blew Heinz's tent over the second night, but the first night he did okay.  I caught this shot of him looking out his front door at all the water that had gathered in the night.

Zoom in and check out all the water behind our tent.  We had actually contemplated setting up camp over there instead of where it is in the pic.  Good thing we didn't!
Luckily we had some wifi here and were able to get online.  When we are stuck someplace for this long, I gotta be online or I get bored and depressed.  I hate it, especially when I know how far behind I am on my blog.  Ken caught up ALOT here in Hesston.  The campground owner let us stay one night for free too!

We were planning to ride 100 miles in one day when we left Hesston, but the weather kept keeping us there.  The day we left that town it was still raining when we woke up, so we decided to just do 40 miles and camp in the City Park in Nickerson, then try again for 100 miles the next day.  From Nickerson to Larned there is a nearly 60-mi stretch with no stores, no services at all, so we figured that would be a good time to keep on pedaling.  We shared our gazebo with Jake and his dad John.  Jake's grandpa was their support and he drove his car ahead of the guys to scope out places to stay and eat, etc.  Jake is an extraordinary young man who is following his dream on this ride.  And he is a HUGE Lance fan!  HUGE!
Jake wants a trike for his next ride.  Or a bent-bike.
Jake and John.  They are both astounded by the kindness they are encountering too.  We shared stories and blogs.  Here is theirs:  http://jaketransamerica.blogspot.com/  
We like camping under structures.  Since we use an air mattress we don't mind the ground underneath being hard.  It makes it nice and flat for us, and we don't get wet from the dew.  Sometimes we like to be out under the stars but when the weather is iffy, which is usually is here in Kansas, we usually stay under stuff.
We had wifi for a few minutes, then it went away.  Bummer.
Simon likes lying around on the new sheets.  :-p
Ken and I thought this park had the best playground we've seen so far.  So many things to play on, even teeter-totters!  Check out the blurry pics we took.  lol

And this is the most artsty looking backboard ever...
This park was great.  No showers, no hot water, but the townspeople were so nice, and we had good company to camp with, and playground rocked.

Let me back up a bit and show you some of what we saw on the way to Nickerson...  It was quite a ride!
We briefly met my parents in Buhler and stocked up on supplies (dog food and people food).  Thanks folks!
See their truck?  They told us they had seen water over the road a few miles away, and they correct!  They waited there to make sure we'd be able to get across, and they took this picture:
The cyclists on the other side took our picture too.  We met them again the next day and learned they are from Canada and are doing a world tour for an excellent cause.  Watch this video and learn more about this fascinating group of cycling heroes! Lions Ride
Here is Ken talking to Michele, the "star" of the video I linked above.
Some more guys with the group.  The one in the front is Lee, and he is from England.  The one in the back has the biggest, fullest looking panniers I have ever seen.
Bill rode ahead of us and waited for us to catch up so he could take pictures of us.
See?  I took one of him too.  :)
Still flat here, other than the constant gentle incline we know is there.
Building a big new road but we're not sure why.  There's not much traffic here.
Lots of corn fields, many of them flooded from recent storms.
Remember doing this?  I was tempted to join her!
Ken spots Nickerson on the horizon.  
He stops in some shade to check the map so we can find the park.
We made a right at the Co-op and found where we'd call HOME for the night:
Nickerson City Park.

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