|Going with the wind and eventually getting to flatter terrain sustained me to Americus|
My route descended Southward until I crossed Highway 56 again, and once I did, at a village called Bushong, I found that the hills immediately stopped and the terrain went very flat again. That was okay, as I was running low on supplies and big hills would have made stretching them to the next resupply rather difficult. It also reinforced my decision to not try and reach for Eskridge, but I really want to come back sometime with a better plan and do a ride there in that area.
|Small villages like Bushong have water towers that look more like weird missles than water towers.|
|Ruins, empty streets, and few buildings. This was nearly a ghost town.|
|This structure looked to be in great shape, but obviously it wasn't in use.|
|There were ten miles straight South of this after Bushong.|
|The water tower of Americus breaks the horizon line amongst a few trees.|
|Shade, a tall cool one, and a crate to sit on. Heavenly!|
|Flanked by corn fields Southeast of Americus.|
|The last several miles looked like this for the most part before I returned to Emporia.|
It was an outstanding ride, and I would really like to do more exploring around there, see more tiny villages, and discover more things rarely seen by anyone but a few locals. To my mind, this is gravel grinding, riding for the adventure and the fun of it. Not that placing yourself into a big challenge to see if you can figure out how to overcome it and stretch your limits isn't a good thing too. It is. Things like the Dirty Kanza 200 and Trans Iowa are the stuff that has changed lives and spurred folks on to bigger things that they maybe didn't ever think they could try. That goes for more than just cycling, by the way.
However; I think, and have always thought, that bicycle riding was about fun, adventure, and seeing what is over the next hill. Discovery, if you will, on a machine that is so efficient, simple, and capable, that not using a bicycle to explore the countryside with is just a damn foolish notion. Not only that, but the speed you end up going at is perfect. Not so slow that you don't cover a lot of ground, but not so fast that you miss 90% of what you are driving by either. I covered just shy of 75 miles, had most of the day left over to hang out at the DK200 finish line, and saw so much that I count it as the best day of the year so far.
So, did I find what I was missing during all those Dirty Kanza rides I tried? Yeah......I think I did. I found a different side to the Flint Hills area that is hard to soak in unless you slow down and take notice of it. Let it sink in, instead of racing it. Both things are good- the challenge and the adventure, the chasing after a goal and the discovery of new things. But after doing this little adventure, I want more of that too. I'll be back to this area again. Maybe to try another Dirty Kanza, but for sure to try another adventure.