I made an early morning trip to Baldwin City, Kansas, due South of Interzone mes amis. This was the route my next door neighbor Dave had told me about, then the boys at work said they like to do sometimes--mainly because there's a challenging climb right up into Baldwin.
Neighbor Dave told me that the local riders call this route the Palmyra Climb, which is the old township name for that area of the county. It was a great climb indeed Gentler Readers of This Blog! Being a bit out of shape didn't help me but I made it with no trouble--just reminded me of my old after-work-slog up Swan Ave back in Tucson--or The Boss and I making that steady march up Craycroft to Ina Rd, and then on to Sin Vacas--after a morning climbing Catalina Hwy...
Kansas is windy y'all. And muggy hot. I got The Mighty Trek and my stuff ready to go so first thing to do when I wake up is get my spandex-covered ass out the door. There's no traffic and the air is cool and still. Before you can say Bruce's Bike Blog, I'm well into the Wilds!
Early on a weekday morning there's little traffic. Kansas People have not even got out of bed and started driving their Kansas Selves to work. I have the day off, c'est bon! Actually, the radio has been saying there's a Heat Advisory for today--which means it will be 100 degrees, humid, and then possibly thunderstorms later! Don't you just love Kansas?
I'm out on roads I've never ridden which is pretty exciting. I know I could get lost but who cares? Thing is out here in the Wilds is that there are steady climbs and a good amount of hill-work to keep you moving--and the wind owns this place, mon cher! Do not forget it and just be glad the head wind is only 15 mph and not 35.
The church and airport at the village of Vinland are important landmarks on the course--they are right where the lads at work said they'd be. From here it will be a straight shot to Baldwin City. Traffic will be a bit heavier, but I'm going South into town whereas Kansas People are heading the other direction for Lawrence, Topeka, and Kansas City.
The county road I'm on that will climb into Baldwin cuts a thin slice through very thick trees all around this township, and signs advise warning of low-visabilty. I take that to mean be careful and don't drive too fast--but the locals ignore that I'm sure. Lucky for me the traffic is light and mostly coming the other way. I also have my tiny Messenger Mirror that Le Tigre got for me--it works great out here and I can see cars coming up from behind. It gives me peace of mind as the wind out here on the roads roar in your ears--it is very hard to hear cars coming up from behind you, Gentler Readers of This Blog. It also makes me feel a bit more comfortable wearing earphones from my iPod. The music and earphones actually muffle the wind noise.
I was gonna be looking for the McD's that people told me would be a place I could stop and get water. I was really hoping that someone could recommend a good diner or breakfast place to stop into. Anyway, it was 8 o'clock and the McDonalds was one of those combination McD's and a Chevron or something like that. Should I stay or should I go? by the Clash was on my iPod--so I decided to go, mes amis. I had one full water bottle, didn't have to pee, and had seen an interesting place I passed coming just into town. I turned around, went a pace or so, and then turned into the driveway/entrance of some Bishop's House. I didn't quite make out the sign, but it said Bishop Somebody's Retirement House--maybe a historical landmark? Anyway, the gate was open and it felt welcoming.
I enjoyed the pleasant surroundings and ate my Pop-Tarts and drank a bit of water. The air was cool and the trees swayed peacefully that surrounded the big place at the end of the drive--which didn't look like it got much use. I think the Old Place was happy to have a visitor. I left a few small pieces of Pop-Tart crust on the fence post for the birds--they had spied I had something and were clamoring above hoping to scavenge anything I might leave behind.
Kansas People in their cars were now streaming out of Baldwin City and I looked for a gap in the traffic so as to get back on the road. Pretty soon I was at the top of the Palmyra Hill and looking at a pretty fast descent! I let a few cars pass me at the top there, and seeing no one behind me in the mirror, I hammered down the hill! Maximum speed was 45 mph!
I had a very nice tailwind for my ride back, mes amis! I was flying home. Photos for you on the wing didn't turn out, and I didn't really want to slow down and take some shots on the account that my momentum was most excellent!
Tail wind for the trip home.
Back to Interzone with a tail wind meant that my average speed was 17 mph for the 15 and a half miles back to The Little House from where I left Bishop's Gate. I cut through Haskell Campus and the old Rail Trail instead of riding the busy streets of Interzone. That's a nice cool down and a safe and direct route back home.
Thanks for coming along on my day off--even as I write this post this afternoon, I can see the strong gusts of wind blowing every tree in the tops through town.