Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 64 A Rainbow, Rain and Northwesterly CROSSWIND

Departing from La Crosse, Gregory looked over his shoulder to discover a rainbow.

We departed from La Crosse and rode east on Highway 4 under ominous skies. It started to drizzle on us shortly after leaving and continued for 15 miles until we reached Otis.

Date: Sept. 21, 2009

From: La Crosse, KS

To: Hoisington, KS

Route: Hwy. 4E


Miles Today: 32 miles


Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph

Weather: Low 70’s with CRAZY Northwesterly CROSSWIND

License Plates Collected: 5 Montana plates, 8 Wyoming plates (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho plate (found in WY), 2 Colorado plates

Mike’s theory of getting up early to beat the wind didn’t prove true today. Yesterday we had a southerly crosswind that beat us up and today the storm was coming out of the northwest at about 25-30mph! To top it off we had a drizzling rain all morning. It was cloudy skies but Gregory looked back towards La Crosse to discover a beautiful rainbow!

We rode about 15 miles to Otis and took shelter in the café there. It was shelter but let’s just say I’m surprised they are still in business. As a matter of fact, when the owner found out we were looking for a place to settle eventually, she offered for us to buy her house and the business! The café’s only customer, who made himself comfortable at our table, also commented that he was surprised they stayed in business and he was there because the only other place in town was closed on Mondays. I asked for hot tea with a little milk and got the funniest look. I guess they don’t sell much milk because I was served powdered creamer with my Lipton tea bag! She did manage to find a “long john” for Gregory. This we found out is equivalent to our chocolate or maple bar donut. I’m not sure what she did but she came up with a chocolate frosting to top it. I dare not ask. We were there maybe an hour and I spent the bulk of the time napping with my head on my arms at the table.

We donned our rain gear and set out but by this time it had cleared up a bit and we overheated quickly while fighting the wind. We stripped off the rain gear taking turns trying to keep the bike from blowing over while Gregory chased tumbleweeds that were blowing across the highway. He really got a kick out of that.

The semis passing us from behind gave us a brief boost in speed but the head on big rigs put so much wind in our face that it knocked us back to 0 miles per hour. We had to duck and cover as they blew by. Instead of calling “Car back!” we were saying “Truck up!” Once we had a “7UP Truck up!” Ha!

If was the perfect day for singing, “Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain…” The temperature was nice and the sun was shining on the drying “amber” corn and soybean fields and it was really quite spectacular. There were also miles of Milo in varying shades of gold, amber and crimson that decorated the landscape.

Never the less we fought to stay on the road and with no shoulder we had to ride a good five feet to the left of the white line. The vehicles just had to go around. Fortunately the traffic is light on this highway. We had many “whoa” moments when we thought we might be going down and Mike’s shoulders were done for when we came to Hoisington.

The storms are expected to continue through the week so we might be in for more northwesterly winds tomorrow. We really need to make 60 miles to get to the next good size town, so tomorrow could be a very long day. For tonight we are at the Micro Motel (a concrete block commercial building converted to motel rooms). This community suffered a tornado in 2001 that wiped out a good portion of the town including the motel therefore accommodations are limited. The room is fixed up surprisingly nice and our enormous room includes 2 queen beds, 2 twin beds, 4 large chairs, a flat screen TV and a computer with Wi-Fi. The bike fits in the room quite comfortably and we have tons of room.


  1. We will be following you on your journey. We hope you found the people of Hoisington to be hospitable. You are making a wonderful memory for Gregory. Susan (Hoisington Librarian)

  2. Hi there!

    My husband and I host people doing the Transamerica Route. We are in KY near the Falls of Rough location. We heard about you from another rider, Matt Brady (Englishman heading West). He mentioned you on his blog. We hosted Matt in July.
    We are cyclists and know how important it is to get a good meal and a comfortable bed to sleep in. So, if you are interested in staying, please let us know. We know its difficult to determine your schedule, so I'll let you know now that we will not be in town Oct 3,4 or 5.

    We have a 2 BR cabin that you can stay in if the timing works out. I would love to have a days notice just so I can make sure I have plenty of food on hand:>.

    Good luck and be safe!

    Beth & Garry Feltus 270 879 0267

  3. Thank you so much for the offer! Of course we would love that and will give you notice. We are off the route right now and headed into Kansas City as Precision Tandems is there and will tune up our triple bike. We hope to ride The Katy Trail in Missouri and take Gregory to the St. Louis Arch. We will then ride down along the Mississippi and pick up the trail in Chester, Ill. Mike is marking our map as we speak. Mike says we'll be there long after you're back. Hopefully we can connect. The home you are working on is beautiful! My husband does handyman work and remodels and appreciates all the work that has gone into it. All the best. Dorrie Williams