Day 50, to Franklin, NEBRASKA: Impeccable pavement, unbearable sun - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

June 11, 2022

Day 50, to Franklin, NEBRASKA: Impeccable pavement, unbearable sun

Hi, Nebraska! I hold up a fingerless-gloved thumbs-up in this selfie in front of a big green sign that says, "NEBRASKA. The good life. Home of Arbor Day."
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Saturday stats

Start: Roadside Park, Smith Center, Kan.

End: Michael and Amy's house (Warmshowers hosts), Franklin, Neb.

The Daily Progress: 32.49

The Ascension: 1,106 feet

Ice cream flavors: N/A

Food expenses: $10

Lodging expenses: $0

Capital expenses: $61. I ordered a new tire and tube, to be on the safe side, because the tire is probably not going to last much longer and would be very difficult to replace once I get west of Denver and Fort Collins. I could probably ride it quite a while longer and have no trouble, but I don't want to be in the middle of Idaho wishing I'd replaced it, and Denver is probably my last chance to do it without a major inconvenience. (Side note: Speaking of replacing bike parts, I'll probably need to replace the chain in Denver too. The chain was almost brand new when I started the trip, but that's how long this trip is gonna be — long enough to cover the entire life span of a chain, if not two. This is a new experience for me. I'm also wearing out my bike shorts and at least one pair of socks. Suddenly it occurs to me that wearing down all this gear is probably a sign that something is wearing down on my body, too, and I just haven't felt it yet. Hold tight, body, a zero day is coming!)

Along with the tire, I also bought an insulated water bottle, an indulgence that was practically free when you consider that adding it to the tire order made me eligible for free shipping. I've been using a coffee thermos as one of my water bottles so that I have a way to keep water cold, but now that I see what a difference it makes, I want more of the water I'm carrying to be cold. It's amazing how much it helps in the heat. 

Saturday highlights

The pavement was perfect today. Eight miles into a stiff crosswind, and then, after days of loyally following U.S. 36, I turned north on Kansas State Route 8 till I reached Nebraska, with a sweet, sweet tailwind ushering me along. 

I learned something about tailwinds today. If you go the same speed and direction as the wind, you don't feel a breeze. That might sound obvious, but it felt strange to be rolling 17, 18, 19 miles per hour and feel no air movement. In fact, the sun felt hotter than if I just stood still. It's just backwards from every other experience I've had involving a breeze and when it feels cool.

The big takeaway from all that is the fact that the sun was blazing. I rescued Franklin with little drama — well, except for the dramatic views. Check this out:

This photo was shot in the middle of the road, which leads straight ahead as far as the eye can see, directly into the center of the image.
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Here's another view of State Route 10 as I head north toward Franklin. I can just make out a water tower in the distance. The horizon is so far that it's getting a little obscured by haze.
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I had been planning to stop in Franklin at least for lunch and possibly for the night, but I wanted to get over to Harlan County Lake. It was only 22 more miles ... but that "only" is highly relative. The wind was shifting and would be pushing me back. The sun was blazing. There had been no place to stop in the shade. Maybe I shouldn't push it. The wind and the temperature would be much better in the morning. 

I grabbed some food from a Casey's and took it back to the city park, where a boy named Zander was waiting for the pool to open. I was hoping to jump in the pool and was thrilled when he told me it would not be closed for long. Jumping in the pool sounded so refreshing — and it was, right off the high dive! I hung around at the pool for a bit but wanted to be in the shade pretty quickly.

While at the pool, I reached out to a Warmshowers host, Michael, about staying with him in Franklin tonight and he got back to me quickly in the affirmative. He and his family are not home yet but he had a friend unlock the house for me and drop off pizza! Is that incredibly generous or what? Suddenly, I'm cooled off, showered and fed, and I've washed my clothes. I look forward to meeting my hosts when they get home. In the meantime, here is one of their cats:

A black cat whose name I don't know yet sits, croissant-shaped, on the corner of a black leather sofa.
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But whew, I'm tired. The longer days have caught up to me. The heat is ramping up in the next few days, so I look forward to some real downtime at the lake starting tomorrow. In the meantime, stay cool out there.

Today's ride: 32 miles (51 km)
Total: 1,947 miles (3,133 km)

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