Starting Location: Larned, KS
Ending Location: Hesston, KS
Lowest Elevation: 1427
Highest Elevation: 2005
We started our morning from Larned with a 58 mile stretch where there would be no services at all. Again there really isn't too much to sa about today's ride other than it was HOT and a bit windy again. We passed a lot of westbound cyclists again today. We have consistently been seeing more riders now that we're going through the midway states.
Because of the 58 mile stretch without services Joop and I weren't about to get a second breakfast, so we made a stop about 40 miles into our ride for our classic peanut butter and banana burritos.
We passed by the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge today, as where we saw some salt marshes though did not stop to take a picture. We were told there would be a lot of deer at the park but I think they were all hiding from the sun because we passed by in the heat of the day. Around the last 15 miles of the 58 mile stretch of no services, we came up on a sign that read "bike riders' water" with an arrow to a hose. We thought we hit the jackpot, but it turned out to be all soapy water so I didn't drink too much of it.
When we got in to Nickerson we stopped in at the Sunshine Cafe and each got a Sunshiner burger with fries and a drink. We also went through a few pitchers of water - we were very thirsty and it was an incredibly hot day. Joop's bike computer read 116 degrees fahrenheit at one point, though that is when it was directly in the sun - still way too hot though.
After Nickerson we rode for about another 20 miles before stopping in at Buhler which was about a half mile off the trail. In Buhler we went to a small cafe that some bikers told us about earlier, and got some cinnamon rolls. I also tried their homemade mango lemonade which was absolutely delicious. Like the place we stopped at in Nickerson, they had us sign their guest book of cyclists that come through the town. I've had to sign a lot of guest books on this trip!
After Buhler we headed for Hesston, where there was a campground we planned to go to. The 20 mile stretch from Buhler to Hesston went really well until the last 5 miles when Joop and I had were starting to run really low on energy. By the time we arrived in Hesston we were pretty dead, and sweating profusely. Arriving in town we noticed a church off to our left. We decided that it might be worth it to test our luck to see if we could stay there to hide from the heat. While we were across the street from the church debating what to do, a nice lady who was working in her garden came from the side of her house and approached us, asking what we needed. We told her that we were wondering if the church might provide us shelter for the night, and she told us to come in to her place to cool off and we would get things figured out.
We were brought into the home of Margaret and Dan Spare, two wonderfully generous people. They sat us down at the table and instantly had a glass of ice water in front of us, then proceeded to make some iced coffee for us and offer some zuccini muffins that were made earlier by Margaret and one of the exchange students living at their home for the summer. We gladly accepted all that they offered. After cooling down and relaxing for a bit, they let us take showers and decided that we would be able to work something out for Joop and I to stay with them for the night.
We hung around and relaxed for a bit, uploading some things for our blogs and talking with Dan and Margaret. Later we had a nice big dinner where they made sure Joop and I ate a lot of lasagna. We enjoyed some very nice conversations with Dan, Margaret, and the two exchange students - one from Nigeria and one from Etheopia. Following dinner we had some ice cream with fruit and brownies that Margaret had made for us. We were fed VERY well which was just what we needed after a very tiring day.
A bit after dinner, Dan took Joop and I for a ride over to the local arboretum and we went for a nice walk. After the walk we returned and got ourselves set up for bed downstairs. It was so incredible how hospitable that the Spare's were to Joop and I. They gave us a place to stay, fed us extremely well, cleaned up after us, and stimulated hours of interesting conversation. It was such a great night.