Thursday, June 08, 2017

DK My Way: Route Modification

The historic courthouse in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas
The route goal for leg one was completed when I reached Cottonwood Falls. I used a portion of a DK Promotions route to get over there and devised the last 10 or so miles on my own on the fly. However; the route from Cottonwood Falls to Council Grove was mostly done ahead of time when I was back in Waterloo using a mapping program. I tried, using my best recollections, to recreate as much of the first DK200 route that I could, only I would be going backward on it. The mapping program generated cue sheets for me, so I printed those out and took them to Emporia with me.

If there is one thing I've learned over the years it is that you cannot trust on-line generated maps. They are rife with mistakes and misnamed roads. I should have dug deeper and checked in to a State DOT map or a County government map, (more reliable, but still not 100%), but I was pressed for time. Well, that bit me. Sort of......

The road I was looking for was a right turn near a lake off of, you guessed it.... Lake Road. I misjudged the geographic features on my map, (I use those as clues), and when I realized I had gone too far, I decided to finish out climbing a high hill and I stopped and took in the lay of the land against the maps that I had with me. It was apparent the road I had passed was the one I should have taken, but it was mismarked on my cues. I saw that I could come around the block, as it were, from the other direction and end up where I wanted to go anyway. It just was going to be all on pavement. Bummer......

At least there was little traffic to deal with!
I headed out and went down a long, steep downhill into a little hamlet called Elmdale. As I rode through the town I realized that something was familiar about it. In fact, I have to wonder if Elmdale was actually on the original route. I recall now that we went through a small hamlet on pavement and that the run in to Cottonwood Falls was on a fairly long stretch of pavement with a bugger of a climb. Yep..... I accidentally hit the same road. 

The bank building in Elmdale, Kansas,
 I still needed to hit Highway 50 to link up to Diamond Creek Road, which I recalled was also used on the first DK200 route. Fortunately, Highway 50 has a paved shoulder just about as wide as one of its lanes. It was great to be able to put a lot of room between me and semi-tractor trailers that were zooming by at 65 miles per hour.

A nice, wide paved shoulder for getting away from speeding traffic. It ain't gravel, but it sufficed.
Once I reached Diamond Creek Road, I was back on track with my cues, but I relied on my printed route map I also made instead. That way I could gauge the route against geographical features, like creeks and rivers which were plentiful. Plus the route plot had mileage markers, so that also helped me gauge my progress. It takes a lot of mental gymnastics for me to do it this way, but that keeps my mind off the work. It's weird, but it works well for me.

Big chunks of flint and cattle. Exactly how I remembered Diamond Creek Road 12 years ago.
Eventually Diamond Creek Road gains height and gets back into ranch land.
Diamond Creek Road brought back a lot of memories for me. I remembered so much of it, and I was amazed by that. I had not been here in a dozen years, but I remembered where the gravel turned to moon dust and where I found a jug of water on a table with a sign that said, "Free" and that water made it so I got to Cottonwood Falls without failing. The big, stony blocks of flint in the hills like old broken teeth in green gums were instantly familiar.

But then it all was behind me as I climbed up and Eastward to finally join Road Z and my way over toward Council Grove. I probably wasn't on any roads we used back twelve years ago, but I found some cool roads and MMR.

The road eventually ran straight East and I had about five miles until I was to turn Northward and up to the Flint Hills Nature Trail West of Council Grove. The road was rolling and the gravel was chunky. I promised myself I would stop only when I got to my left turn so I could turn cues and get the correct map out for the last push into Council Grove. I also planned on grabbing a bite to eat. What I did not plan on was another miscue on the maps I had consulted.

What showed as a public through road on every map I had seen.
My turn North turned out to be a private ranch road. Not going that way! So, I consulted the maps and ate some food. Meanwhile the herd of cattle there congregated around the gate and watched me with great interest. Cattle are a curious lot.....

With food ingested, I decided to carry on Eastward till Road Z ran out to Four Mile Road and then going North on that I would eventually come in to Council Grove from the South. No bike trail today!

Probably one of the most rustic cemeteries I've come across.

Just like last year, I saved another turtle from getting squished......for a while, anyway!
Almost there.....
I eventually gained my second goal. Shortly after 12 noon I rolled in to Council Grove, found a public bench, and plopped myself down after 68 miles of travel. Mostly gravel travel, but not all of it. Still, the roads I had found and retraced after 12 years away were spectacular and I had already had quite the adventure.

Now I needed to consult my map of Lyon County and decide what I wanted to try and knock off to get to my overall goal of 100 miles of Flint Hills goodness. First there would be a resupply and some eating, and a bit more resting. Then, finish this thing off!

Next: Unwelcome Stranger


Kevin Collings said...

I've had decent luck pulling up past DK rides from RideWithGPS and the DK Promotions routes to use as reference for building my own rides. That wouldn't help for DK's older than say 2008-2009 but that's still a lot of reference material.
I'll try to double-check with others' rides if i have time too.

Guitar Ted said...

@Kevin Collings- I was positive I had the original DK200 cues but I could not find them. So, I had to make do from memory.