Day 25

I have everything I need, here, in Bazine, Kansas.

I have my feet elevated in a hammock. I have my book and my notepad. I have a sharpened pencil. I have some almonds within reach. I have showered. I have no more riding to do.

It's 100 out, but I am in the shade. We woke up early, checked for dead ducks (there were none; or do duck eat duck?), grabbed a quick chocolate milk, and were heading west by 8. After a little while we made a right turn and headed north for 19 miles.

What's this? I can hear? I'm not bleeding out of my eardrums? Pedaling is easy again? I'm riding uphill at 20 miles an hour?

Finally, after a long four days journey into wind, a little bit of it at our backs. I apologize if the ratio of chat about how hard cycling is vs how joyful it can be is 87 to 13. In the interest of fixing my numbers, imagine this: you're spinning your feet through air while America at her most dramatic (yet) passes you by. The prairie is green in parts, golden in parts; the sky is whiteblue near the horizon and thick blue right above you. Most farm equipment is primary colored -- red, yellow, blue. The sun washes everything so that it blends nicely. The road remains black and yellow. There are a couple of clouds to keep things interesting.

I guess everything was so pleasant because I knew I'd be at Elaine's Bicycle Oasis by 1. This is where I am now.

Elaine is a lovely, softspoken woman whose idea of tourism is traveling to El Salvador for church volunteer work and getting guns pulled on her. She and her husband raise cattle but she has clearly driven miles out of her way to find soy milk for vegan cyclists. She likes us, despite whispers in the small town, because we are the kind of people who spend our holidays fighting our way across the country, people in transition, from college to retirement. Most of all, we are an appreciative lot. I thanked her three times for letting me use her shower.

We are driving in her truck to her friend Mich's house. Mick is disabled and paints miniatures and then glues them inside egg shells.

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