Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Nickerson, KS

A car slowed alongside to match my speed. The driver asked whether I was riding the TransAm. 'This is as good as Kansas gets in June,' she said, '… but the wind kills'. She was right. It was a perfect morning for cycling: quite cool (maybe 25C) and with a light south-east wind. The route had flattened out. I scooted along at 20 km/h instead of my usual 15 km/h, covering the 80 km to Nickerson in just four hours. I might have gone further but there are no services for the next 90 km. That would mean a 170 km day. Sitting around in the Sunshine Cafe at Nickerson, Miles, Andy and Alan decided to do just that. Taking advantage of favourable conditions makes sense. I might have gone with them but I had already booked a room in Nickerson and was reluctant to break the commitment. I decided to stay.

Evin, eastbound
I chatted to Evin, an eastbound cyclist who was eating in the cafe. He left Astoria, OR on 1 May and is riding long stages.

Hedrick's Inn, Nickerson
Then I headed a short distance out of town to Hedrick's Inn & Exotic Animal Farm, where I had arranged to stay the night. Kathy showed me to the Camel Suite. I loafed around all afternoon, in effect having another semi-rest day, like the one in Eminence. From the wrap-around balcony, I can see most of the animals – camels, giraffes, kangaroos, ostriches, zebras, and more. I am the only overnight guest. Across the corridor from my room on the upper floor, I can look down through a picture window to the kangaroos' sleeping quarters below.

June, trail angel of Nickerson
In the early evening, I walked the one km back to Nickerson to the Senior Center, where I had been invited for a meal. My host was June who, with her husband Jim, greeted us when we were in the cafe this morning. Miles actually recognised her from a photo he had seen in a friend's blog. Over dinner, June told me about the many exchange students from around the world who have spent a year living in her home while they attend high school in Nickerson and learn English. She and her husband also look out for TransAm cyclists, especially in stormy weather when they assist them to find shelter.

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