Day 25, Tour 10 Woodward, OK to Dodge City, KS

Part of a small wind farm in northern Oklahoma
showing its interface to the power grid

I did the longest ride of this tour today - 110 miles with half a mile of climbing - but I did it with a good wind assist so it only took eight hours of actual riding to cover those miles. I started early because it was a long day and I wanted to take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the morning. In the afternoon, actual temps were around 100 F.

I started my riding day with a Big Breakfast at McDs. it was the biggest Big Breakfast I've ever eaten, with both eggs and biscuit about 50% bigger than normal. I also bought four hot apple pies as snacks for the ride. As I left McDs, I noticed that my front shifter cable was dying. several strands of the cable had broken and were poking out below the barcon lever. It is easy to replace that cable, if you are lucky, but it is better done in a room rather than beside a road - I have lots of experience with both ;-{ - so I decided to avoid using that shifter as much as I could. That meant that I rode in a three speed - 46-33-20 front rings as my main shifting mechanism - nost of the day.

Leaving Woodward on US 270, heading northwest

Coming into Fort Supply

Wind farm on a ridge just north of Fort supply

Turning north on US 183 after Fort supply

Fort Supply, the first town on 270 after Wooodward, is supported by a big prison. Tody, riding by the prison, I rode past a bunch of inmates, each with his own lawnmower, mowing the prison grounds in parallel. I'd guess there were at least 25 lawnmowers, each cutting grass next to, and behind another lawnmower. When you've got plenty of men and lawnmowers, this is very quick way to cut a lot of grass ;-}.

After Fort Supply, I turned north on US 183 which I would ride for the next 25 miles. 183 passes through the wind farm north of Fort Supply and another, newer and smaller, wind farm before reaching Buffalo, OK. Buffalo has the only services - motel, restaurant, grocery store - on 183. I stopped at the grocery store and bought apple, bananas, and quart of powerade. I started with 4.5 liters of water. I drank it all, the quart of powerade, and another 1.5 liters of water I got in Ford, before reaching Dodge.

183 heading north
Ashland is not on 183

My bicycle at my first rest stop

After Buffalo, 183 climbs to near the Kansas border, then comes down to a long, pretty flat section before Sitka, KS - a grain elevator and not much else - then, where another road goes west to Ashland and then US 283 - my normal route, 183 heads east and KS 34 continues north. This is where the longest climb of the day starts. Dodge is at 2500 feet and Bucklin is less than 100 feet lower. KS 34 starts at about 1750 feet and climbs, with a fair amount of rolling hills, to Bucklin. Today the winds were so strong that I was able to maintain my 14.5 mph average, even on this section. I have thought I would ride through Ashland, to get lunch, but the wind was soo good and I had plenty of food and water, so I went through Buklin - saving 10 miles - instead. KS 34 is also a much more peaceful ride than US 283, which is what I would have ridden if I had gone through Ashland.

Welcome to Buffalo - it's is that white grain elevator at the left edge of the image

Welcome to Kansas

Start of the climb to Bucklin

Looking back on KS 34
The wind was so strong I had to brace myself to take this shot

I did have to stop several times to cool down, but cooling down is pretty quick with 20+mph winds. The best stop was 10 miles or so before Bucklin where I was able to find a place to lean my bike and sit in shade while fully exposed to the wind and look out on some pretty country. Life doesn't get much better than that!

Riding was not as good after Bucklin. The route is now northwest, which meant strong side/tail winds with stronger gusts - the forecast was 26 mph with gusts to 35mph - and there was a lot more traffic. The shoulder wasn't very good - wide but bumpy or, later, covered with small gravel - and I was only able to do 12 mph or so. I stopped in Ford to get a cup of coffee and a big Snickers bar to give me the energy to make it to Dodge. That shoulder with small gravel was real pretty, but, riding in the strong side wind, it almost took me down when I hit a section where the gravel was piled up. It was close to the 100 mile mark, but my reflexes, and the fact that I wasn't clipped in, got my left foot down for a dab that pushed my bike upright as it slid out on the gravel.

Leaving Bucklin on KS 34
That is a cattle truck
they stink and have a bad wind blast ;-{

US 400 to Ford
that shoulder is not fun to ride

US 400 between Ford and Dodge
That is the pretty shoulder that almost caused me to crash
and a truck towing a combine and wheat trailer with the combine's cutters in the trailer

Harvest is in full swing up here

Now for a rest day or two...
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