Day 26: Emporia to Topeka, KS

68 miles, 2621 feet climbed

Today was better than expected. The roads were all rural, lightly traveled. The winds, while present as predicted and generally in our faces, were lighter than previous days. And the threatened rains stayed away until after we arrived in Topeka.

We’re now into the second half of our ride, by days, anyway. Today is day 26 of 50 total. It looks as if our reliance on Interstate and major US highways may be over. While today’s roads often had no shoulders to speak of, there was little traffic to share them with, making for a peaceful journey. Too many times I thought my drivetrain was making funny noises only to realize that I was hearing frogs croaking in the ditch at the side of the road. And there are more surface waters, a trend that began on the road into Emporia.

The terrain was “rolling,” a little up, then a little down, repeat. That’s how we accrued 2600 feet of climbing, gradually, incrementally. Anticipating rain, I left my pocket camera in my luggage. The photos from my cell phone don’t convey a proper sense of the ups and downs. Without the headwinds, we probably could’ve gathered enough momentum on the downs to easily crest the ups. Several times my bike computer said the slope was -4 percent yet my speed was under 20 mph. Credit those winds.

We had pie at a cafe in Dover recommended by staff.

Emporia neighborhood
Eskridge, pop 439, and site of our first and only SAG at 38 miles
Typical roadway
Corn just before Dover. I may have seen some on the way to Emporia two days ago but it was even less mature. The field identification of trees, flowers, and crops is not one of my core competencies.