Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012: PAP Day 3, Lamar, CO to Lakin, KS

In spite of the predictions of the weather web sites, we did not have tailwinds again today. The first two and a half hours were pretty much calm, so locomotion was entirely up to us. We managed a respectable 15.3 or so, with most of our cruising between 16 and 17 over the seemingly flat terrain. Apparently there was a slight downgrade, but you could have fooled me.

At about mile 40 the situation changed in an instant. Suddenly there was a 10 to 15 mph wind coming out of the Northeast -- essentially a headwind. That situation continued almost to the end of the ride, when the wind switched around and hit us from the right side instead. Bottom line was that during the last 40 miles we found that a sustainable pace was between 9 and 13 mph. It was pointless to fight it, but it was disheartening to compare our progress to yesterday.

On the other hand, it was pretty much what I expected the wind conditions to be like. I am thrilled that it wasn't very hot, and we have now worked out how we will handle the many similar days that probably lie ahead.

The route, which follows the path of the original Santa Fe Trail, was unremarkable, other than our crossing into Kansas and Central Time Zone. The signs of agri-business are everywhere. There are more trucks on the road, the landscape is punctuated by large grain elevators and enormous tracts of land lay in some state of cultivation. We saw oil wells here and there, but so far not a single wind turbine.

These signs mark the fact that our route is in large part over the historic Santa Fe Trail.

Another surprise came in the last 20 miles or so. Instead of the expected endless flatness, there was an endless succession of rollers with grades of 3 to 6 percent. We didn't mind them much, as they also broke the wind a bit.

Our destination for the night, the Ken-Ark Motel, has definitely seen much better days. At least the price ($35 per night) is appropriate to the level of accommodations. In previous years we have stayed in a couple of places that were worse. The only place to eat is right next door and the food is not bad.

"Credit card camping"
Tomorrow is the last of an initial four day series of high mileage days and will put us in famous Dodge City. I am looking forward to visiting the museum and seeing some of the old west memorabilia. Our planned itinerary has only one more day above 69 miles, and quite a few shorter ones. Of course, you know about plans...

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