Joey's Western USA
Bicycle Tour Page 2
This page starts out in Arkansas during the bloom peak of dogwood trees. The white blossoms gave the appearance of a light mist hanging low in the forests as dogwood trees are relatively small and bloom before most other trees leaf out for Spring. The combination of those dogwoods along gently rolling country roads created some lasting memories for me.
Crossing the Ozark and Ouachita mountains took low gears and some dripping sweat which made me look forward to spending time in Kansas. However, Kansas came the closest to defeating me with a week of uphill (one foot per mile is noticeable) and strong winds blowing from any direction except my back. I very much enjoy wide open land where one can see forever, so I was not loathing every minute, but seven miles an hour in my lowest gear observing every wind-bent blade of grass and burger wrapper in the ditches got old after a few days. Fortunately, I found the residents of Kansas to be as hospitable as anyone and I learned a new meteorological term: evaporain. I may even cycle in Kansas again but with a different plan: Start in the center of the state and go where the wind takes me!
Most importantly, I found a new love in Kansas: The Dairy Queen Blizzard. Just the sight of an empty Dairy Queen cup at the roadside injected me with a dose enthusiasm to gear down and fight the wind for another ten miles because, with certainty, there would be a Dairy Queen in that next town.
Eastern Colorado was not much better than Kansas for cycling in the "wrong" direction but eventually the mountains came into view - more than one hundred miles distant - and invigorated me with joy at the sight of them. The last photo on this page is the view of Royal Gorge from inside my tent as I take three days off to acclimate to riding above 8000 feet.
Withrow Springs State Park north of Huntsville
with blooming dogwoods.
A loaded touring bike is a great conversation starter and friend maker.
Withrow Springs S.P. and new friend.
Three miles north of Withrow Springs State Park on Hwy 23.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
April 27. SHOW ME BABY! I'm in Missouri.
Just cut the corner of Missouri and Oklahoma.
Highway F in Missouri with murderous roller-coaster hills.
Smooth tarmac. Heaven.
Entering Roaring Rivers State Park on Hwy F.
My camp in Roaring Rivers S.P.
Hwy W east of Wheaton. Looks like a ski jump.
One of the nicer looking chicken farms. Didn't smell so nice though.
I passed hundreds of these chicken compounds.
Highway D near Boulder City.
April 28. My only Oklahoma photo.
I spent one night in this state.
The sight of this sign made me realize I was really getting somewhere.
April 29. Hwy 69 was my portal to "Wind World."
There was suffering in this state.
Map of Southern Kansas.
See full sized map link in left page column.
Girard, Kansas is where my Adventure Cycling bike maps became relevant.
Hwy 7 near Farlington.
This is pretty much how a Kansas dirt farm looks.
I saw hundreds of these.
Another Kansas dirt farm clone. You seen one...
Green horizons and blue skies between dirt farms near Chanute, Kansas.
Quivera National Wildlife Refuge where
Barn Swallows were playing tag.
Getting into tumbleweed country too.
Intersection of two unmarked roads near Hudson, KS.
The wind was in my face all day gusting over 30mph.
Terrain was boring too.
This was my first photo in five days.
Hwy 19. Eleven miles east of Larned, KS
heading STRAIGHT into a 30mph headwind.
Had to stand on the pedals in low gear fairly often.
I took today off due to never ending gale force winds.
Yesterday was a really tough 80 miles of cycling.
Wind was reasonable this morning on Hwy 96 near Timken Corner, Kansas.
"It's All Uphill From Here" says the word balloon.
Thanks for extra mental anguish.
Today was the beginning of a beautiful relationship for me: A Dairy Queen Blizzard.
A TREE! A TREE!
Beeler, KS on Hwy 96. Grain elevators were spaced out every
ten miles horizon to horizon.
Highway 96 will take me STRAIGHT to Colorado.
Sunset from City Park in Tribune, KS.
Crossed my first time zone today from Central to Mountain time.
Close Encounters of the Farm Kind.
I could see this thing coming on the horizon for half an hour...
...and half an hour more in this direction
Not until you grow some trees and do something about that freakin' wind.
May 9. This does not look much better than Kansas.
I almost wore out my camera in Colorado.
Link to full sized map in left page column.
Grain elevators spaced out every ten miles.
Are those MOUNTAINS in the distance? Heart be still!
Bull on the road.
I slipped past him with no problems.
At a nearby filling station a cowboy walked up to me, looked
my loaded bicycle up and down, then looked me in the eyes and said:
"Boy...you must not have a gahdam thing to do."
Hwy 96 west of Eads, Colorado.
A bed and shower for five bucks!.
Inside the Ordway Hotel.
I was the first cyclist of this year to stay here.
Topography at last.
Hwy 96 north of Olney Springs.
Biked my 1500th mile today.
Most definitely mountains on the horizon.
Hwy 50 west of Pueblo, CO.
Pike's Peak is visible in the distance.
Colorado Front Range from Hwy 50 nearing Cañon City.
Hwy 50 between Pueblo and Cañon City, Colorado.
The best shoulder in two weeks,
but lots of broken glass to avoid.
Finally riding between some topographic features.
The distant snow covered peaks got me all choked up for the first time since the Leaving Kansas sign.
I am climbing 8-Mile Hill on Hwy 50.
This was my last day of hot weather for the next 100 days.
Also got my first dose of altitude sickness at 8000ft.
Scenery along Hwy 50 east of Cañon City, CO.
I took three days off at Royal Gorge Campground
to acclimate to 9000ft above sea level
A room with a view.
Here I spent three nights in a sleeping bag reflecting on
how much I was missing the job I quit to take this trip.
Click to Leave Kansas