Old and new wind machines on the plains
This was the longest mileage day of this tour - 117 miles with half a mile of climbing in about eight hours and forty-five minutes of actual riding - but it was also a nice day on the bike. My right knee was acting up a bit towards the end of the day and it feels a bit stiff as I write this, but I have a rest day - I'm riding 20 miles to Cimarron this afternoon - which will give it a chance to heal. The wind was not as strong from the south as I had hoped for, but it was enough, with the low humidity, to keep me comfortable most of the day.
Coming into Fort Supply, about ten miles from Woodward, from the south
I left my room, after a good nights sleep, about 8 AM this morning and rode a quarter of a mile or so to McDs for breakfast. After breakfast, I turned north-west on 181, heading for Fort Supply. When I neared Fort Supply - a pretty little town whose biggest industry is a prison - I saw a big wind farm on a ridge north of town. Wind farms are one of my favorite things, and I enjoyed looking at this one this one for at least ten miles of riding ;-}.
One of more than a hundred large wind
machines in a new wind farm north of Fort Supply, OK
That door, at the bottom of the tower show the size of these, megawatt, machines
My next stop was Buffalo, OK which is about 30 miles from Woodward. From Fort Supply to Buffalo is moderately hilly, and nice riding. Because of all the recent rain, everything was lush green in an area that would normally be brown at this time of year. Buffalo is a pleasant small town with good services including, last time I checked, a place to stay. I was a little worried about riding on Sunday because many of the services in small towns might be closed, but there was a small restaurant on the right, just as I came in from the south, that had a Sunday buffet starting at 11 AM. I wasn't that hungry yet, but the next services were 35 miles further, so I had a big first lunch.
A combine crew on its way north in northern Oklahoma
Entering Kansas and
The road looked like this all the way to Ashland, but riding was fine
My bicycle where I took
a break near Stika, KS
You can see the white spout of a Platypus water bladder sticking out of my rear pannier
North of Buffalo there are more hills but the wind - 10 mph from the south-east - was good and riding condition were, except for the temperature which was now about 90 F, almost ideal. It is 24 miles from Buffalo to Sitka, KS. There used to be a place to eat in Sitka, but now there is nothing there but a wheat elevator. I stopped at a clump of trees - shade is rare out here - to snack and rest a bit before riding on, about 9 miles further - to Ashland. My snack was McDs pancake syrup and a bag of Sun chips from Subway. That combination, along with water, worked pretty well. I started this day carrying 3 liters of water and got another liter and a half along the way. That, in addition to the drinks I had with my lunches, was just about enough water for this ride. I think I drank over six liters today.
The road through Ashland is 17 miles of hills, none of them really steep, but it adds up to about 1000 feet of climbing. Ashland is a neat little town that I always enjoy stopping in. It has a motel as well as other services, but, on Sunday afternoon, the restaurant was closed. I stopped at a convenience store and had a second lunch of fried chicken and breaded cauliflower, and a 44 oz drink. I'd ridden 65 miles at this point and had 50 miles to go with the first 30 of those miles being hilly. It was 2 PM when I stopped and 3 PM when I rode on. I enjoyed being in air conditioning and visiting with a 78 year old farmer from Ashland. I even, sort-of, enjoyed the next 11 miles of hill before 160 reaches 283.
This lone tree is at the top of the last
hill before I turn north on 283
It is a distinctive landmark which means the worst hills are over
(280 mm telephoto - the hills aren't really that bad!)
A 28 mm wide angle of the lone tree
I stopped again in Mineola, about 20 miles before Dodge. I considered stopping there - there is a motel - for the day, but just took a long break, with a big drink and honeybun, and had a nice visit with a fellow from Fowler. Then I cranked on down (wind) to Dodge. There are big problems with the wheat harvest here because of the rain that came at just the wrong time and delayed the harvest. On my way to Dodge I saw a few fields being harvested but, normally, by this time of year the harvest would have been over. I rode into Dodge about 7 PM.
Combines cutting wheat near Dodge City