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New Routes, Turtles, More Beer

The morning light on Wilson Lake was spectacular. I was in good spirits. I had no choice but to learn a valuable lesson from the previous day, and to take everything in stride. After all, I decided to do this, and no one else. Life is a mental game; play it to your advantage.

Before I reached the main earthen dam, I was able to save three different turtles. Really, I was able to help them cross the road. It wasn’t a busy road, but I felt I had done a good deed. And I really love to play with turtles.

My goal for the day was Hays, KS, home of the best small brewery and best small brewer of the year, Lb Brewing. There is another brewery here, but they hadn’t responded to my pleas for a tour, so screw them. The next USA World Cup game was the following day, so I was going to stay for a full zero day. There isn’t much in Kansas, especially if you want to watch World Cup action. The US team was going to cost me money to watch, and, quite frankly, it would be money well spent.

The riding was great, and my new route was simple and beautiful. I had very few dirt roads to deal with, and the terrain was rolling and varied. I made great time into Hays, and approached the city from the south. Incidentally, I passed Defiance Brewery, the one that never returned my pathetic pleas. It was located between a Budweiser distributor and a Pepsi distributor. I assumed the worst and moved on to Lb’s.

Hays is a quaint town, smaller than Salina, at least to the eye. Lb’s Brewing is located inside Gella’s Diner, although the two are basically the same business. When I arrived, I was pleased to see a kolsch on draft. I love kolsch. I ordered a half liter and it was gone in no time. Then I settled in for a flight, then another kolsch. All of their beers were excellent, completely to style with no frills added. I couldn’t resist another kolsch.

I realized I needed to get a hotel and get cleaned up so I logically asked to fill my growler with kolsch. Apparently, in the state of Kansas, it is illegal to fill any growler except for one purchased from the brewery. As my growler now has stickers from across the eastern US, it wasn’t a single branded growler. Fortunately, one of the bar managers had mercy on me and loaned me one. I assured him I had no desire to carry a glass growler and would return it before the World Cup game tomorrow. 

When I made it to my hotel, there was what can best be described as a redneck, cluster fuck wedding. The first person I saw was a little boy dressed in a camo vest and tie. Classy. Then I started to see the people attending the wedding, and realized the reception was going to be held at the hotel. I knew I needed more beer.

The first room was a disaster. Pubic hair in the sink. Pee stains in the shower (yes the shower not the toilet). I feared I wouldn’t be able to get another room, but the lady at the front was nice and facilitated my move. She apologized, I smiled like an asshole. The lady behind me had the same complaint. Luckily, my second room was mostly clean, at least I could deal with it.

After a long shower and a quick trip to the grocery, I settled into my home for the next two days. Suddenly, I heard mayhem in the hall ways. The reception had reached its pinnacle in the form of the revolving tunnel. The guests were so enthused they were taking the tunnel on a tour of the entire hotel. Twice. Rednecks… at least they know how to have a good time.

For my sake, the hotel eventually quieted down around 11pm. I was able to get some good rest before the game tomorrow. I hoped for the best.


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