The stress seems less this morning as the riders headed out on a mostly flat course of only 184 miles from Wichita, KS to Dodge City, KS. 67 riders got a later than usual start (9:00) which gave people a chance to eat breakfast, take showers and dry some of their clothes out. We only had 9 pages of instructions. We left on a 6 lane freeway which is always a bit interesting as the bikes mix with traffic. At mile marker 23 I found the first bike pulled over. Anthony Rutledge, #11 was just tightening his kickstand to avert potential disaster. He said he always looks and listens for anything that might come loose. We continued on.
The terrain was flat with vast fields. An occasional tree stood out of the earth like an invitation to seek shelter from the hot sun. I thought about one of my favorite TV shows, Little House on the Prairie and how each show taught a life lesson. I wondered why the TV shows we have now no longer do that? My day-dreaming was stopped abruptly by some serious dips in the road that caused me to stand up on my footboards to absorb some of the energy. I hoped the person behind me noticed me bounce! The long stretches of road gave me great opportunities to get pictures of riders. I leave after everyone else has gone out on the course and then I pass the riders to get ahead a little bit so I can stop to help and fall back again. I do that leap frogging all day. After lunch we found some great opportunities for pictures as a freight train with graffiti on it rolled by. I pulled over to wait for some riders to go by in Mullinsville and was pleasantly surprised to see a whole field of Road Art. Two of the riders, Scott Byrd #25 from AR and #99 John Neuman from TX on their 1916 Harley Davidson’s bounced off the highway and next to the fence for some fun pictures. It was so relaxing and fun to be able to do those kinds of things today.
I stopped a couple of times with Steve Alexander from Georgia on his 1913 Douglas. The engine was “getting tight” and running hot. He did an oil change and adjusted his belt. His sprocket was making some noise but we were able to get him push started so he continued, hope to be able to get another 60 miles to the end of today. I knew we were getting close to Dodge City when I saw street signs like Outlaw ridge and Wyatt Erp Parkway. Dodge City hosted a reception and Dinner at Boot Hill. Chicken Fried Steak, Mashed Potatoes and Beans. The town is excited about the Cannonball having their day of rest here and so are we. It was a fun relaxing day and we know that the 2nd ½ is harder than the 1st so we need to refresh and get some much needed rest before tackling Colorado and then the desert.
I went to my hotel to find that two of the Cannonballers were stuck in the Elevator, The Fire Dept was called to get them out. I set up “Spitfire’s Free Clinic in the lobby of the Hotel but ended up closing up to make house calls until 9pm. The sunset was beautiful and the night air perfect for standing around the parking lot talking about bikes and adventures. I love this gig.