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Day 20 – Ride into Dodge

Liberal, KS to Dodge City, KS.

83.3 miles

 

So today it was out of the hotel, ride US 54 E for 61 miles, turn left onto US 283 N for another 20 miles, turn left and the  hotel is about one mile on the right. The End.

 

Photo of me – thanks Robin

 

Well ok it was more like, head out of hotel and realize that we have a crosswind that is hurting more than helping, oh joy. Then look at the dew rising and the sweat dripping off your cap to know today is going to be hot. Finally look to your right and to your left to see miles and miles of flat farmlands that are not really going to occupy or entertain your mind for the next 6 hours or so. Oh well the road was good, Irma was running well and it was a beautiful morning again. Setting off between groups it was time to settle into a nice steady rhythm and ride a very similar ride to my training rides back in Florida. It was the first day of June, which made me think about how far we had come so far and how far further we have to travel. Today was day 6 of a 9 day stretch of riding which I am sure is going to leave us tired in Abilene, KS on Tuesday.

 

As I rode along the early morning sun did make for some great lighting but unfortunately there wasn’t much subject matter to photograph in this spectacular light. After 24 miles I did come across a sign that made me smile as I entered Plains, KS. ‘Plains – Widest Main Street USA’, who would have known there was even a measurement on this. Well Plains obviously finds this an important fact and has erected a grand sign to inform us.

 

 

Next stop was to be our one and only official SAG stop today at the ‘Dalton Gang Hideout and Museum’. As I turned down Pearlette street I could see quite a few of our riders outside a White House which turned out to be part of the Dalton Boys Hideout. I had a quick look around and couldn’t help thinking about being a kid and cowboys. Even in the UK in the 70’s, kids often played at being a cowboy. On Saturday mornings we would often watch “The Virginian’,’Bonanza’ or cowboy films, sometimes in black and white, speeded up when the horses were being ridden across the lands. So with my cowboy fix satisfied it was time to head back out into them there hills.

 

 

The next 22 miles were just as many have been before, long roads, big fields, the odd train or grain silo, rinse and repeat. Finally, finally I came to the junction of US 283 N. At the garage here I purchased a couple of cold, fizzy drinks which livened up my mouth and energy levels. After a few words with an amazed shop assistant who as many before her could not believe people were actually out riding a bicycle across the country especially in this heat. I persuaded her my Lycra number was actually worn for cycling and not something I would otherwise wear on or around the ranch, before wishing her well and departing for Dodge.

 

Now the payoff for a mornings work. US 283 N was a smooth, long road which also happened to be in the direction of both Dodge City and more importantly the way the wind was blowing. Yes my friends, that rare and elusive natural phenomenon we like to call ‘A Tailwind’. Twenty miles of turning your pedals smoothly with no great effort and seeing your speed sit around 20-25 mph, perfect. Irma sped past fields and wind farms with a satisfied purr and life was good again in my world. The miles flew bye and before I knew it I was ‘Riding into Dodge’.

 

 

About an hour after arriving at the hotel I did an interview with a reporter for the Dodge Globe, Vincent Marshall. I am hoping to spread the word as much as I can to both help raise money and awareness for WM and this was an ideal opportunity. Vincent and I talked a while even though I think he had some of the story already written from reading the blog posts. Anyway an hour or so later I saw my picture and the headline ‘Cancer won’t stop him’ on the electronic version of the Globe and the promise that it will be in print tomorrow.

 

 

Washed and revitalized with some drinks I met the Colonel and we went off to stake out Dodge. Barry and I wandered around for a while but couldn’t find Matt Dillon’s statue which Barry was looking to see. After asking a friendly woman in the chamber of commerce we headed back in the right direction and found Matt’s statue. After a couple of photographs we went into the Boot Hill information center just for a look around. Inside a really pleasant and friendly young lady chatted with us about our visit, ride, where we call home and other pleasantries. She offered us a bottle of ice cold water, a souvenir sheriff badge and wooden casino chip each all for free, bonus. After signing her visitors book and taking a couple more photographs we wished her well, thanked her for her hospitality and told her she was doing a great job.

 

 

Back to the hotel and a couple of phone calls, then off to dinner at a local restaurant. The day for me was one of those that started out looking like it might be tough but when all is said and done turned out to be another good day and another 80 miles behind us.

 

Tomorrow morning I can say ‘I’m getting the hell out of Dodge’, heading to Great Bend, KS.