Day 45: Pittsburg to Chanute

Just as I was finishing writing my post, a cyclist arrived. His name is Joseph and he’s riding from Pueblo, Colorado, to Ohio to visit his family. He told me that he loves this park because of the free WiFi and the showers. I showed him the flies and the raw meat on the picnic table. He was disgusted, but still determined to stay. Joseph ended up removing the raw meat with sticks and bought liquid soap and rags to clean the picnic table. I went to Jim’s Steakhouse not far away to have a chicken sandwich for dinner.

When I came back to the park, the picnic table is all cleaned thanks to Joseph. I’m so grateful for him. I would have not done that at all. After Joseph ate his meal, he started to play his ukulele. I’m surprised at the things he brought with him, and the things he didn’t bring, such as a tent. We ended up sleeping underneath the pavilion for the night.

Joseph playing the ukulele

The next morning, we woke up before 7 AM. After packing, we were given coffee by a man named Jim. He’s traveling in a RV with his wife. While his wife went for a run around the town, Jim talked to us about his kids. One of his children actually lives in Pittsburg. After this brief encounter, I said farewell to Joseph and started to ride an easy 13 miles to Girard.

Joseph and Jim

The road was pretty much flat and straight all the way to Girard. At 9 AM, I had an omelette and coffee for breakfast at the local café. I contacted my Warmshowers host, Rick, and told him that I’ll be arriving in Chanute at 3 PM.

The long flat road of Kansas

Veterans memorial at Girard

Not sure if I like to ride on flat and straight roads since it can be boring. I guess if I don’t like hills then I better like flats. I stopped by a church that’s in the middle of nowhere to refill my water bottles. It’s a bicycle friendly church and I wished I had stayed there, but it’s the middle of the day so I moved on.

A bicycle friendly church in the middle of nowhere

I stopped at the small town of Walnut. The convenience store clerk charged me for a water refill. It’s the first time I had to pay for water, even though I bought an ice cream bar there. I had a cheeseburger for lunch at His and Hers, a bar and restaurant.

I still had about 25 miles to go to Chanute, my destination for the day. The temperature climbed to the low 90's and the humidity was high, too. It was somewhat a boring ride. Other than the corn fields there wasn’t much change in scenery.

Oil rigs spotted in Kansas

Once I arrived in Chanute, I had an iced caramel macchiato to cool me down at McDonald’s. I arrived at Rick’s soon after. Rick is a retired art teacher. Appropriately, his house is nicely decorated. When I saw the bed in the guest room I was so grateful that I’ll be sleeping on a bed again!

Rick helped me plan my route for the next few days. He told me after Eureka there will be a 38 mile stretch where there will be nothing on the road, no convenience stores, nothing. Since I have internet I took the time to download all the maps for the rest of my trip, including the Western Express route that I’ll need after Pueblo, Colorado.

Rick, who cooked an amazing meal!

Rick cooked an amazing dinner consisted of salads, spaghetti with meat sauce, and garlic bread. After the meal we walked across his backyard to visit his neighbors, Jessie and Philip. I talked with Philip most of the time, who told me the story of how he adopted his Chinese daughter from an orphanage in China. Rick, Philip, and I also talked about politics for awhile.

After talking with the neighbors, Rick and I decided to stop by Walmart so I can get some ramen and trail mix for the long 38 mile of no man’s land that I’ll be crossing soon. Rick also took the opportunity to drive me through downtown Chanute. It’s a beautiful downtown and reminded me of Madison, New Jersey, where I grew up. To top it off, we stopped by Casey’s General Store and had ice cream before heading back.

I went to bed some time before 10 PM. This morning I got up at 5:45. Today, I have to ride over 60 miles to camp at the city park in Eureka. The high is 93 degrees. I hope I don’t get heat exhaustion.

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