The last time that I checked in I was in Hutchinson, KS which is roughly central in the state. From my readings, I learned that the Hutchinson area divides the state between the rolling Flint Hills from the true "plains". My position had been that while my next section of riding would be relatively featureless, there is beauty to be found in such a stark landscape. Right now I am reading Over the Hills by David Lamb and after travelling through a desolate section of Oklahoma, he writes:
The wind still blew and the land stayed empty, but now that it was nearly behind me, the Panhandle no longer seemed a hostile place. There is a beauty in its austerity and loneliness that sticks in your mind like a scrapbook photograph.
It's difficult to explain. Western Kansas and eastern Colorado are truly wide open and empty spaces. The towns dot the map every 20 miles or so. Not that a map is entirely necessary. One picks a road and rides it for nearly 400 miles. As you pass through a town, the grain elevators of the next one barely appear on the horizon. The towns' sizes vary from a handful of inhabitants to perhaps 1,500 and the amenities fluctuate along with the population. With these tremendous expanses travelling on a single road and passing through towns with a single gas station, I find simplicity and harmony. You can see where you're going and where you've been. You can ride around town in five minutes. Your choice of restaurant, motel or campsite are easy because it's either one or none. Likewise the landscape offers no distractions for the eye or mind. Some might find it boring or ugly. I find it a welcome and relaxing change from my otherwise visually and mentally cluttered lifestyle.
|I believe this was the ninth day out of about ten consecutive days of 100+ degree heat.|
|Auto? I beg to differ. Larned, KS|
|Many a mile of this scenery in western Kansas. Everyone was excited at the prospect of rain.|
|They don't call 'em "the Plains" for nothing.|
|IS THERE A RALPH'S AROUND HERE?!? Yes. There is. Ness City, KS|
|I was really tired one evening and stopped into a food store to grab something for dinner. A 3lb tub of macaroni salad was not one of my more intelligent choices ever I must say. Live and learn. Dighton, KS|
|Overcast skies and a stiff breeze made this the first cool day I experienced in about a month. Such a welcome change!|
|We said "Mountain Time Zone" not "mountain zone".|
|Goodbye, Kansas! Hello, Colorado!|
|Eastern Colorado is rather flat. There's also little traffic as evidenced by me laying down on the road to take this photo.|