The temperature forecast for Manhattan (Manhattan, Kansas, not Manhattan, New York) was 106 degrees today. Knowing that, we got up and out and ready to pedal at 6:30am. Here we are with our host family from last night, still in their sleepwear since we got up so early.
We rode out of the neighborhood for a bit and came across a sign that said, "end of state road maintenance". Man, if the road we were on was state maintained, I'd hate to see what an state un-maintained road was like. Well, I got my wish. It was just a bunch of gravel. Yuck. Not terribly bad since we only had to ride on it for 1.5 miles.
Interesting tidbit about rural Missouri. Last night Dawn was telling us about how fire protection is by membership only ($50/year). That means, if your house is burning down and you didn't pay your annual fee, then the fire department doesn't have to really come and put your fire out. In fact, Dawn said there was a fire once where the fire department came out and just stood there and watched and made sure the house next door (who paid the membership) didn't burn down.
While still in Missouri (Drexel, Missouri at this point - remember, this was where we wanted to get to yesterday but didn't because there was no accommodation), we got a call from Mike from Kansas (man we met in Herman, Missouri who said we could stay with him in Kansas). Mike wanted to make sure we were okay getting out of Missouri and able to navigate through the first part of Kansas (with unmarked roads on the map).
Within a few miles, we were in Missouri (with no Welcome to Missouri sign). I saw a cow chained up to a tree (like a dog). Weird. Why the chaining? Aren't cows usually roaming around eating grass? Perhaps this one was to become veal. Sadness. A better view was a bunch of horses on the side of the road. They looked at me and as I passed, they started running with me. Very cute.
Eastern Kansas is very much like western Missouri. Rolling hills. I saw a rainbow in the clouds today. Then, came the lightning in the distance. Then, it became windy like a tornado was coming. The leaves were rustling on the road. Something ominous was coming for sure. Next thing you know, it was big time rain!
The rain was very hard and we had no choice but to ride on. No place to seek shelter. And, once you're wet, might as well ride. It's not like stopping will make you any drier. Also, since it was raining, hardly anyone was on the road. 106 degrees? Who made that weather forecast. It was more like upper 60s or lower 70s and rain rain rain!
Here's an interesting sign. You know what the Interstate highway signs look like (the red/white/blue U-ish shapped symbol). Then, there's the state highway signs (see 169 below). Then, there's state route signs. Look at Kansas' sign. What's that yellow? A big ball of fire? Apparently, Kansas' state flower is the sunflower and the symbol on the state route signs is a sunflower. Still looks like a ball of fire to me. Hehe.
Riding for a bit and running out of road, (we were not instructed to turn anywhere) we ended up at a mental hospital. I asked for directions to get us back on the correct road. As this was going on, strange thing happened - Dave got a call from Mike again asking where we were. Dave said we were at the mental hospital and Mike just said he'll be right there and hung up. Odd. Was Mike talking to some co-worker and hung up on us because he had to go? Not sure. We hung out for a while then started riding out of the hospital grounds. Then, out of nowhere, we get a honk from a motorcycle. It was Mike! Crazy. What was he doing there? So amazing. He came 50-80 miles from Emporia, Kansas to meet us and make sure we were okay. He even brought us water! What a great man.
After leading us out of the mental hospital grounds, we went to a city park where Dave and I had lunch and Mike left us to ride to Williamsburg, Kansas (our hopeful ending destination) to scout out the neighbors for a place for us to stay for the night (there's no official accommodations in Williamsburg).
What's grosser than gross? Wringing out your socks full of rain water. And what's grosser than that? Having to put them on after lunch while they're still soaking wet. Nasty.
After lunch, we rode some more in rain again. My feet were so pruny it's gross. Here's a pump jack we came across. Apparently, Kansas has lots of their pump jacks up and operational these days. Very cool to see.
Eventually, we got a call from Mike saying we should go to Guy and Mae's BBQ restaurant and the owners will have our housing accommodation information. Wow! He brings us water and he sets up housing for us! Eventually, we arrived in Williamsburg where we immediately went to the BBQ restaurant. The owners unmistakenly knew who we were. The restaurant owner, Judy, is also somehow affiliated with the local church and she let us stay in the church's anex. The anex had everything but a shower :-( Of course I can never not take a shower after a day of riding (is it wrong to like to stay clean and not have any bateria/germs growing on/inside me?) so I tried hard to brainstorm with Judy on where I could get a shower. They suggested a "G.O. shower" with a garden hose out front. I would use this as a last resort, but it was so cold today. It really had to be in the lower 60s with all the clouds and rain. Judy's daughter thought of the local high school gym. They called the school and the powers that be over there welcomed us with warm showers in the gym. Phew!
Here we are sharing a rack of baby back ribs. It's amazing. When we talked to people throughout the day and mentioned we were going to Williamsburg, everybody told us we had to have the ribs. And, everybody was correct. The ribs were to die for!
As most of you know, I love cooking so I got talking to Judy about how to make the ribs. She let us go in the back where she showed us the big oven that cooks the ribs slow and low. Yum!
After our late lunch, we headed over to the high school for our showers. Like I mentioned, it was in the gym locker rooms. While taking the shower, I couldn't help think of the movie Carrie and the shower scene. Lucky for me, popular high school girls were not teasing me.
After our showers and a little pasta, we headed to the community center where the town was having an ice cream social (and we were invited!). When we rode into town, I noticed a sign that said ice cream social and that day's date. I was so excited that we arrived on the right day. The ice cream social was to celebrate the summer reading program of the students. After songs and awards, we had home made ice cream. It was so good.
It's so funny. Since Williamsburg is such a small town, everybody knew who we were when we came to the social. It was fun sharing our story with the locals.
After the ice cream social, I went back across the street for 1/2 rack of ribs. It was so good and I didn't really have dinner so I just had to have some more.
BTW, the title "She's Got Man Legs" refers to my man legs. I noticed today that my calves are getting big. Are they shapely or are they man legs, you decide. And, in case any of you missed the reference, "she's got man legs" is a take on a Seinfeld episode, "she's got man hands."