I knew I had a long day of riding at just under 95 miles. The campground was located outside of Oakley, and the terrain looked to be mostly flat. It was going to be another long and hot day in Kansas. At least it wouldn’t be too hilly.
The first quarter of the day I was on paved roads. Then it switched to dirt. I got nervous, but it turned out to be for no good reason. The road stayed flat, and the surface was well compacted. And there was very little traffic. There were a lot of random gnats, which by the days end my arms were covered in.
A made a short stop in a random Kansas town, a true blast from the past. To say there wasn’t a stop light is an understatement: there wasn’t a stop sign. There was a grocery, and I figured out a quick bite and sat outside enjoying lunch. Since I’m not on a bicycle route, I get a lot of odd looks, especially from folks in small towns. This was no different. The young guy who checked me out of the grocery was staring at me the entire time. As was the bagger, and the rest of the patrons. Fortunately, I’m entirely too comfortable in my skin to mind.
I made good time to High Plains Campground, and was delighted to discover there was a pub on site. It claimed to have high end food and a great beer list. I’d ultimately decided if either were true.
Once again, there were no trees to hang from so I improvised and used a telephone pole for one end and a picnic table for the other. I was still on the ground but the system was taut enough to withstand most storms. And it would have to do just that.
The pub was open at the time I arrived. After figuring out my sleep system and a shower, it was straight to the pub. The beer list was far from craft; I’d call nothing they carried craft. The food was a far cry from elevated; it sat closer to shitty bar food. Still, it was great to have an onsite pub.
While I had been setting up my hammock, I noticed another cyclists with panniers pull in. Wow, someone else on bicycle tour! I hadn’t seen anyone on tour since I left the TransAM in Missouri. Turns out, he was a college student at GA Tech who was traveling from Atlanta to the Grand Canyon. He was riding a front suspension mountain bike with slick tires and rear panniers only. Every stop had been planned out and scheduled. We were on similar adventures with completely different styles.
After more than enough beers, I returned to my campsite. It had been threatening rain for sometime, so I wanted to make sure everything was secure and would remain dry. It didn’t rain until late in the evening when I was mostly asleep. I bolted awake afraid my system had failed, but was happy to discover I did know what I was doing. Experience: it works.