Destination: Mid-West America


It’s Catherine again, don’t worry, I’ve already had a three hour nap today so I’m ready to blog again! Since last writing we’ve left lovely New Mexico and cycled through a whole deal of shitty smelling practically barren land. Welcome to the mid-west people!

I now know why I haven’t chosen to travel to this part of America before, having previously only been to the coasts. The people are still lovely mind but it’s crazy windy and the museums we’ve been to don’t serve cake (as all British museums certainly would). I guess this area would be a pretty good place to come sailing, on no wait, there’s no water so scrap that idea. Basically come here but not on a push bike. So since New Mexico we’ve been through the pan handles of Texas and Oklahoma and up into Kansas where we are currently in the delightful ‘city’ of ‘Great Bend’.

I’ll just quickly run through each state as I remember it: Texas we were greeted with a sign with bullet holes in it but a lovely tail wind where we basically didn’t have to cycle all day. A few miles into the state heading towards Dalhart we reached XIT Feeders – a cattle farm with densely packed cattle in pens stretching further than the horizon. It was sad and stank really bad. Thankfully Ricky got his first puncture of the day after those farms so didn’t have so breathe in that air for too long. Dinner that night was ironically at a steakhouse – the only restaurant in town.

From Texas we gently rolled into Oklaholma into Guymon which was equally as smelly, perhaps worse as you pass the farms and abattoirs. Ther are regular trucks which pass-by holding cattle which suck you in win force as they pass you by and then spit you out leaving you with the smell of cattle and shit. Thus I noticed myself subconsciously breathing through only my mouth when hearing a truck behind me until they were far enough away.

From Oklahoma (no tornados for us yet) we cycled into Kansas which mean ‘people of the south wind’. I beg to differ. As we are traveling mostly north east we should be expecting a nice tail wind to push us through this state also dubbed as a ‘little hell hole’ in Google when you type in ‘Kansas means’. We’ve had a few days of crosswinds and headwinds which really slow you down and mess up your back as you find yourself leaning into the wind for 86miles to stay balanced. Last night we stayed in ‘Dodge City’ – no not where dodgy things come from – but it does turn out to be the windiest city in America, averaging 14mph winds on the Main Street throughout the year. It also turns out to be the fifth windiest city in the world so I’m not surprised Dorothy’s house flew away in The Wizard of Oz if she lived in Kansas.

So on observation of the Mid-West, the food is getting worse and the people are getting bigger but just as friendly. The land is flat (perfect for cycling you would’ve thought) and there is the constant threat of tornados as we are currently in Tornado Alley. Currently they’re in the Oklahoma area and also east of us. Fingers crossed they stay away from our bicycles!

As for us, I’m still battling through, dad is back on his bike again getting down the miles. The people we’re cycling with are top chat but we’re already two people down due to health problems but we’re almost half way there!! We actually passed a sign close to Larned claiming to be the half way point between New York and San Francisco – we have three more days of cycling until we reach our half way point. That’s exciting isn’t it?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to being a bit further east. The grass is starting to turn green (unaided by sprinklers) and the weather is cooling down to the point where we don’t have to pour water over ourselves to stay cool. But don’t worry the wind is doing that for us at the moment. Looks like we’ll be truck surfing for the next days and getting side blasted by the wind! Rest day in a few days in Abilene where dad has threatened to shave his beard off – all for the cause of WaterAid our charity we’re riding for. I’m sure he’s posted something about it online.

So that’s it for now. To sum up: don’t come to Kansas for your next holiday. Somewhere sunny like California would probably be a better option, I heard they have a Disney Word there and real food?




2 thoughts on “Destination: Mid-West America

  1. runningtothelight

    Hi Chris and Catherine. The week after next the big NHS Conference takes place in the SECC in Glasgow.Last year Andrew Murray and I did a double act exhorting increases in exercise across the population and the organisers wanted us to do a repeat performance this year. I can’t make it since I’m in the US for a conference. They asked me to record a video message for the delegates and were set up to film me talking about PA from a big, comfy sofa!. I declined and, in recognition of your efforts, I’ve recorded a message for the conference from my bike! I’ve given you a name check and suggested they all follow your journey on twitter. Hopefully you’ll see an effect after June 14th.
    Stay safe and keep blogging Harry Burns

    1. ollie9999 Post author

      Harry, that’s very kind. We are almost halfway! Its a great ride. i’ve never cried with emotion on a bike after doing my first big mountain pass and coming over the continental divide!
      I’m so glad I have done this adventure. The Mojave Desert was pretty tough because of the heat. I got significant altitude sickness going through the Rockies, bad headaches for over a day. I was a bit knackered really, Got some leg oedema which turned into mild cellulitis, however now firing on all cylinders. Today strongly rode 63 miles into McPherson, KS then went to the local Opera! Thanks for your input, let me know if I can help PA more in the future. I’ll come and see you after the ride. Best wishes. Chris Oliver

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