07/09/2004

Day 40 - 7/9
Chanute, KS to Eureka, KS
68 (2208)

I didn't sleep very well last night as it was very windy. The rain fly on my hammock was flapping very loudly. Fortunately, there was no rain...until I looked out my tent at 6 and saw a big storm on the horizon. I quickly packed up my stuff and hurried over to a covered picnic area. Good thing, because by 6:30 it was pouring.

I wasn't to discouraged as I had decided last night to hang around Chanute in the morning to see the town's museum. So I waited out the storm, ate some breakfast and read. By 9, it was still raining-and pretty chilly-so I put on the rain gear and headed to town.

I was excited to see the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum. The Johnsons were an adventurous and romantic couple that went to Africa and the South Pacific in the early 20th century to capture some of the first film footage of cannibals and white rhinoceros and such. The museum told their story and included lots of African booty. The world they explored just 80 years ago is so different from the one we're in today.

On the way out of the museum I ran into Yodeling Katy, Kansas' up-and-coming Cookie Lady. She gave me some homemade cookies and yodeled a bit for me.

Now nearly noon, it was still raining, but I got riding anyway. Shortly out of town, the rain cleared up but the sky didn't keeping it nice and cool for riding. For the next 20 miles I struggled against strong headwinds. I'll take a hill over a headwind any day. Riding briefly on a highway, I passed more than one oncoming truck. The force of it's wind combined with the headwinds brought me almost to a standstill.

I had a late lunch at Lizard Lips Grill and signed the bikerbook. I'm glad to be seeing more of these bikerbooks out here.

Two animal experiences to speak of. The first had me riding by a home for what I gather to be retired racing greyhounds. There were half a dozen of them that each had long running tracks parallel to the road. So we raced, and those old dogs kicked my butt. But you know, I had that wind and all.

The second was with a turtle. I've come to discover that us bicyclists are something akin to saviors to turtles (or at least think we are). I've stopped and helped dozens of turtles across the street-believe me, it's better than having to smell turtle roadkill later on. Well, in the middle of the highway I saw a huge turtle in the middle of the street-an old grizzly boy the size of a pizza. I stopped and went over to pick him up. He was a heavy boy. While I was carrying him he whipped his head around and snapped at me. He didn't get me, but it was pretty fast for a turtle. Well tonight I was telling a local about it and she said it was a snapping turtle and if he had clenched his jaw on me, he'd never let go. In her words, I would have had to chop his head off. I still don't know how much to trust locals.

Tonight I'm staying, once again, at a city park. Kansasanians are without a doubt the most friendly people I've met. Everyone's coming up to talk to me!