The threat of bad weather has kept me in Larned an extra day. I intended to cycle to Ness City. It is 104 km away: 20 km west, then 31 km north to Rush Center, then 53 km west. The forecast at Rush Center was for a high of 34C with a south wind at 39 km/h and scattered strong thunderstorms, possibly severe in the afternoon with large hail and strong winds. Here in Larned the wind was gusting to 48 km/h this morning and 63 km/h this afternoon.
My recent experience has been that the wind gets up and the day starts to warm at about 10:30am. I thought of beating the weather by starting early and riding an hour or two in the dark. With that in mind, I got up at 4 o'clock this morning. When I went outside, however, instead of the flat calm I hoped for, the wind was blowing strongly. I went back to bed.
|Stone fence post used on the treeless plains|
The main challenge is the second half of the stage, between Rush Center and Ness City. A strong south wind battering me from the left would make it hard to maintain a straight line. That road has only a narrow shoulder and is used by many heavy goods vehicles, which create their own strong waves of air. Having read accounts of the difficulties experienced by previous cyclists traversing this sector, for example here and here, I decided it would be better to stay put for today and continue tomorrow, when conditions were forecast to be favourable. I can afford a day's delay.
Today might have been a bore but I probably needed a full day off the bike and I have been quite happy just reading, napping, and pottering about. The motel I am staying in is comfortable and inexpensive with a good internet connection. A laundry, a gas station with shop, and four chain restaurants (Pizza Hut, Sonic, Subway, Wendy's) are within two or three minutes' walk.