Great day today, until I got a flat 5 miles from my destination.
I could not believe my luck when a detour caused me to stumble upon a *great* coffee shop Buhler, KS. Good cappuccino, excellent egg & avocado & sprout sandwich, freshly baked scone, and of course friendly staff. Wow! Just what I needed. I was absolutely astonished such a place could survive in a small town. Is there an enormous opportunity to bring quality food to KS, or was this an inexplicable exception? I also met a couple of friendly road workers, w/ whom I chatted, as a result of the detour.
I rode through the Quivira Nat'l Wildlife Reserve today. What a delight for the eyes, and spirit. No more seemingly endless rows of monocrop corn & soy. No more fenced in cattle disrupting the Plains ecology. Just lush, visually stunning vistas of grass and flowers and birds. Despite the intense heat and a long ride, Quivira was absolutely restorative.
I continue to see other TransAm riders, every day it seems. Four today. Rode w/ one guy, Dave, for a bit. He looked like Death as I approached from behind. Wearing all black, w/ a huge backpack, and looking eerie in the distance as the distortion from the road heat made it seem as though he was floating.
My flat: It took way too long to fix because: my pump and CO2 dispenser were not working properly and the tub required multiple patches. I finally tossed it...and my spare tube's valve was too short.
As I rode the few remaining miles into Larned, it started to stink. I immediately spotted the culprit: a feedlot. How poignant. The environmental impact of eating meat motivates me to steer clear of it nearly always. The environmental footprint of the livestock industry is enormous. Meat requires ten times more land per calorie than plant based foods (10:1). Energy input is up to 54:1 in favor of a plant based diet. Resource ratios for water are similarly outsized. I could go on... Anyway, I'd like to see more landscapes like Quivira, and fewer acres overgrazed by cattle.
It also seems many truck drivers hauling cattle hate bikers: was buzzed by at least six of them today. I have to fight the (smelly) draft of their huge vehicles to keep on the road, and they know it. Most of the drivers are very considerate, though, many moving clear over to the opposite side of the road when they pass.
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