|Riders begin to gather in front of the Grenada Theater|
One of us had their plot laid out plainly for them. The other would not know what the ride would be until it was over. Nothing wrong with doing it either way. Both ways have their merits and shortcomings. I was ready to find out what I could about riding into the land of the Kanza on my own, under my own power, relying on my own wits and provisions.
We got up, went to have some breakfast, and then got outfitted for our rides. Had I had a number plate, you wouldn't have known that I was not doing the Dirty Kanza 200. Maybe you might have thought my full frame bag was overkill, but other than that clue, I looked like any other guy or gal getting ready for the big 200. I rolled downtown with Tony and we looked for familiar faces. I saw Luke, the third place finisher from Trans Iowa this year, and I saw Warren. He finally bagged his Trans Iowa finish this year. I wished Tony all the best, and then I turned around, rode back up Commercial Street in the opposite direction from the way the 200 was leaving town, and a few minutes before 6am, I was on my way.
|A street jam-packed with riders waiting to set off for 200 miles of gravel. Note the thunderhead in the distance.|
|The Sun hadn't risen yet as I left town.|
|The roads immediately North of Emporia are flat, but beauty can be found easily.|
|Early morning riding can be quite spectacular.|
My route maps were taken straight off the Kansas Department of Transportation site. I enlarged the particular parts of each county I was interested in and printed them off on paper. Yes.....paper maps. You should all know how to use them. Anyway.....
Once you commit to using a map, you have to use your brain to find your way, and maybe that hurts too much for most folks. I don't know, but being prompted by a beep to look for your next turn is giving away something of your own power that I feel is not a good thing to make a practice of. It's kind of a "use it or lose it" deal. So, I was navigating by map, and I had to do it with a lot of thought and care. I didn't even have the road names, despite there being signs on every corner, just like we have in Iowa. I had to count miles and pay attention. My choice. Your choice may vary, and that's okay.
So it was that I was day dreaming or something and missed a corner which put me on a course to miss Americus. Dang it! Oh well, how about we just readjust our goals and try something different? That's the beauty of a ride with no hard parameters. You can adjust expectations on the fly.
|Following a route that ran along a nearby creek found me on tree canopied roads for much of the beginning miles.|
|More tree lined roads as I headed toward Council Grove.|
|I stopped to assist this tortoise to a safer warming spot off to the side of the road.|
So far, so good.
Next: To The Land Of The Dawn Of Day