I slept so well in the hostel last night that I didn't wake until I got a text from George that he was already on the road...at 6:30! We laid around a bit longer, then packed and rode to the donut shop up the street. The locals were very friendly and the lady working at the shop offered to fill our bottles with ice water!
It was slightly overcast when we left town but the sun was peeking through. We turned east and immediately had a 15-20 mph headwind. Unless you've ridden a bicycle into a headwind, it's hard to explain how demoralizing it can be! I cranked down into my low gears and accepted the fact that it would be a long, tough day. The terrain was slightly rolling, as the locals have told us we're getting into the Flint Hills. With the wind, it felt like we were riding uphill the whole time. It changed direction slightly as the morning progressed, originating from the southeast and eventually from the south, where of course our route took us. The first 40 miles took us almost 5 hours and we stopped at the gas station in Cassoday for lunch.
I felt okay today in spite of the wind, but my legs were still tired even after a day of rest. I am still sore after 36 days on the road...I have not had a day yet where my legs have not been sore! It was hot again today but only reached the 90s, and the sun came out in full force.
We rode right into the wind for 18 miles to a small town with one restaurant. We walked in and were the only customers. The place was the definition of a small town mom and pop diner...Linda owned the place with her son and she was the only one working. We ordered burgers and chicken and fries, and she went into the back and made it all to order, slicing and frying the potatoes and the chicken herself. She said the beef was from her son's ranch and we devoured the delicious food while she talked about her grandson winning grand champion for his goat at the fair last year. It was a true small town America experience and I was grateful we had stopped! She filled our bottles with ice water and we had the fortune of turning east again to make the wind a crosswind. Going 10 mph felt like flying!
The terrain was noticeably more hilly during the last 18 miles, and it was gorgeous farm country, full of cattle and horses. We arrived in Eureka two hours after George and found him eating at Sonic, so we joined him for dinner. We are camping in the city park tonight which has showers (no hot water and no lights, but still appreciated) and restrooms. It is still hot tonight and Seth and I have not even unpacked our sleeping bags, and left the tent fly open to try to catch the breeze. Regardless, I am sure I will not have trouble sleeping!