Day 2 - Tour of Beaver - CycleBlaze

June 3, 2021

Day 2

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Bill ShaneyfeltNot enough detail to be sure, but that looks like a ribbon snake.
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The sun was out, the temperatures were perfect, and the winch a lifesaver, as the motor home slid out wonderfully. A small SNAFU with the winch control left the wiring in shambles, but that occurred after we had successfully extracted the mother ship. We decided this was part of our punishment for camping in comfort.

We rolled out of Doby Springs, re-climbed the hill, rolled down to the county road, and started our trek northward. First it was county road type pavement, then smoother highway style road, then gravel and dirt. Before hitting the Kansas line, it turned back to pavement for a short distance. Once in Kansas, we faced the ultimate punishment for riding gravel-a road maintainer. He was rolling the wind-rowed gravel, from one side to the other, creating a surface that was about 1-1/2” of loose rock and sand across the entire road. From the state line to Ashland we slowed to a unstable cruising speed of less than 6 mph. 

Ashland is a friendly town full of folks that love to strike up a conversation. One ol’ boy said his nickname was “The Weatherman”, because he attended Pittsburg State in SE Kansas, where he wooed all the ladies by carrying an umbrella, and walking them from one class building to another during rainstorms.  To look at this gentleman, in blue jeans and a checkered cowboy shirt, wearing an International Harvester “Binder” hat, his story seemed slightly out of place. None the less, after his studies there, he returned to Ashland, and had farmed and raised cattle his entire life. 

Another local had previously owned a Litespeed titanium bike, and had ridden from the Rio Grand River, to the Canadian border, over twenty years ago. Unlike the 6’-3, 350 lbs Weatherman, this gentleman stood around 5’-4”, and probably weighed 110 lbs soaking wet. 

After visiting with half the town, we headed north for our last 20 miles on gravel and dirt, often times on open range. The cattle prided themselves with blocking the road, depositing pies across the surface, and generally playing a staring game with you. Fortunately for the three of us, Paul J has a resonant voice, and fairly obnoxious behaviors that finally got the cattle moving. The result of his resounding voice, was even more cow pies on the dirt. 

There are steep climbs in this part of the country, much of which is on loose gravel and sand that made climbing more demanding. The road de-graded down to only dirt, which had been deeply rutted by farm trucks and a lot of rain. Fortunately, the last 2 miles to Clark State Lake are on a quiet state highway, with a gigantic downhill at the end. Paul H managed to stay on gravel at this campsite, so he had time to ride out and escort us back to camp the last few miles.

Clark Lake offers pit toilets, no utilities, but the quiet and solitude that makes riding back roads so rewarding.

Today's ride: 47 miles (76 km)
Total: 111 miles (179 km)

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