Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 1, 2012: PAP Day 7, Medicine Lodge to Anthony, KS

Today was scheduled to be our shortest day (39 miles), with the idea that it would be a “rolling rest day” on which we would just amble along to give our legs a chance to rest. The day started out very cool, with a 20% chance of rain. At about 10 miles we saw that a mass of very dark sky was about to overtake us. As luck would have it, we were coming up on a little town called Sharon, so we got off the highway and started to look around for places we could take shelter until the storm passed by. We found some possibilities at a church, but a woman told us that we might prefer to hole up in the town’s store, just a few blocks away.

We took her advice and located the store, which is cleverly called “The Store.” We parked the bikes right outside the window under an awning, went in, and killed time while the rain came down. Fred had some food and I had a couple of French Vanilla coffees out of a machine that were quite delicious. Really.

It finally stopped raining long enough for us to take a chance. Bad bet, as it turned out, though there probably weren’t any other reasonable alternatives. We rode the remaining 29 miles in light to moderate rain, with one more rest stop along the way. I was wearing a rain jacket, but otherwise had no rain protection. I had pulled out my rain pants, seal-skinz socks, water-repellent long sleeve gloves, and helmet cover before leaving home, figuring that it would be too hot to wear them anyway. Nobody (at least not me) expected a day like this one so late in the spring. Normally temperatures would be up in the 90’s or even over 100 by now. Anyway, by the time we reached our hotel in Anthony, KS, I was soaked and started to feel pretty cold once off the bike and no longer generating heat by pedaling. Fred, on the other hand, somehow managed to carry all his foul weather gear in his little panniers with the rest of his stuff, so he did fine, with one big exception: he had not protected his phone from the rain, and as of yet it has not come back to life. He’s going to let it dry out for a full 24 hours before trying again.

As we came into Anthony, the road was blocked because a truck carrying a single wind turbine blade was trying to maneuver a 90 degree turn. Photos don't begin to do justice to the size of these turbines. Each blade on a full size commercial power generation turbine is up to 125 feet in length!  Fred wasn't able to get a single shot with the entire blade.

The motel in Anthony was run by immigrants from the same region of India as SPOS from the previous night in Medicine Lodge. The attitude of these people was exactly opposite, however. I was asked several times about my opinion of the room (which showed the abuse of the oil people who inhabit the room most nights), and apologies were appropriately offered. They were eager to show us another room (already taken, unfortunately) that had been recently remodeled. They hoped we would visit another time so they could put us in remodeled rooms. Anyway, it is much easier to make peace with deficiencies when dealing with nice people who are doing their best under difficult conditions.

The town of Anthony, while struggling, seems to be in much better shape than Medicine Lodge. There were plenty of empty storefronts, but there were also signs that there might be some hope for the future. We had a pretty good Mexican meal for a late lunch.

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