Kansas Sunset

Eureka

I did not cover nearly as much mileage as I expected today. Nonetheless, I woke up to a lizard crawling across the insect netting on my bivy sack.  I felt his body slither over my face.  I popped up and he scurried away.  The sunrise lit up the sky, shades of orange, yellow, hints of red and purple illuminated across the surface of the lake.  I knew it neared 7 AM without checking my phone so I bundled my gear and hit the road.

While leaving Toronto Lake I remembered the silo I saw from the previous day of riding.  There she sat, perched, upright, 150 foot vertical climb right at the intersection of the state park and Route 150. I propped my bicycle up behind the, “Welcome to Toronto Lake” sign and made a run for it, sprinting across the road with my backpack.  I hopped the barbed wire fence and crouched down behind the silo to remain out of sight, the weeds tickling the hairs on my legs.

Minutes passed and I waited patiently for a few cars to drive by before I clasped my hands  on the pipe, pushing my feet off the curved side of the silo.  I wiggled my way up about twenty feet, like a monkey climbing through the trees, until reaching for the ladder.  At this point I looked up and saw the long climb that lied ahead of me.  My heart raced, sweat accumulated on the tips of my fingers slowly running down my hands towards my palms and step by step I scaled up the ladder.  I began to breathe heavily, my arms weakened with each reach, but adrenaline kept me going.

Toronto Lake Silo Climbing
Toronto Lake, Kansas

I reached the top and a smile enveloped across my face.  I felt on top of the world similar to the day I climbed the radio tower.  I saw roadways, barren fields, and Toronto Lake all going on for miles beneath me.  I took a short video to record the moment and bolted down the ladder skipping three or four steps at a time until reaching the bottom.

I casually crossed the street and sat on my bicycle.  I pedaled down the road towards Eureka.  I did not encounter any people today; none that I spoke with anyway, other than a store clerk.

After much progress yesterday the weather turned against me today.  Ten to twenty mile per hour winds blew into my face and along the sides of my bicycle pushing me into the roadway and making it nearly impossible to move at all.  The constant gusts did not back down and made me alter my original plan.

After stopping in Eureka for a food and water break I endured ten long miles of pain until finding refuge under a bridge off Route 54. Rosalia is sixteen to twenty miles west of here, but the myriad of clouds above me and the wind made me change my plan.  I will continue on-wards tomorrow.  Hopefully the wind favors my direction.  I still managed to rack up forty miles today so I should be through Kansas in no time.  I caught up on reading while lounging under this bridge and finally finished, “Kite Runner.” Thanks Trevor!  I really enjoyed that book.  The author drew me in with each page making me want more.  I found myself reading with a headlamp on the past few nights and gazing at the stars when fighting insomnia.  The emotion in that book just dazzling.  How he can place words to truly affect my emotions.  At times I held back tears from the depressing and traumatizing events portrayed in this book.  I will find a nice owner for it in the next few days.

Eureka Kansas
Not my first time under a bridge!
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Brian Cray is not a cyclist. He’s not a hitchhiker. He’s not a train hopper or an adrenaline junkie. He’s just an ordinary man with gypsy blood in his veins, who can’t seem to settle down. Nothing defines him. He goes wherever this world takes him on this journey we call life, roaming the world, at will, by any means. He aspires for a life of indefinite travel, a tiny home in the woods for him and his wife, and any work that keeps him wanderin’. Brian Cray is a travel writer at heart, sharing his stories with the world one keystroke at a time.

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