The sun rose early Thursday, as it always does; only we didn't see it because our bedroom in the bike shop dish have any windows. We were awakened by the ring of the door as the owners came in around 8:30. We gathered up our stuff, with not too much haste and were ready by 10. We snapped a photo to commemorate and were off.
The goal for the day was to ride due east for about 40 miles and that's exactly what we did. A turn or two from the bike shop got us onto the "highway" and out of Newton and we followed it without a single turn or variation from dead-straight for the next 39 miles to our destination for the day of Cassoday, KS (population 129). The road was called a highway, but was more of a country road, well paved but a fairly small shoulder. That didn't actually matter because there was not much traffic on it anyway. It was a beautiful partly cloudy day which kept the sun off for most of the ride. I had been worried and convinced that I had packed too much stuff (still am), but it turned out to be a bit easier than I thought. It was great first day out.
There was one concerning moment midway through the day, when the following interaction took place:
Me: this countryside is quite lovely
Peter: yeah, isn't it great, this is how all of Kansas has been. Just fields of wheat like this forever.
Me: Um... Peter?
Me: That's not wheat, that's corn.
Peter: wait, what?
Me: That's corn, dude.
Peter: Is it? Hmmm, I guess you're right. But I promise you I've been riding through actual wheat fields.
Me: actual grain wheat fields, or fields of corn that you think is wheat?
Peter: Actual wheat. I know the difference between corn and wheat.
Me: Do you? You say that, but you didn't just now.
Peter: Shut up.
Needless to say, every plant we see now is being called out as wheat. Oh good times.
So we made it to Cassoday, and found the hub of town: a gas station/convenience store/cafe, which in a small town is one pump outside a small store that has a couple of racks of snacks and a table where you can eat food they make in the kitchen. The kitchen being a small room off the main room with a fridge and a hot plate griddle stove. That being said the burger we had, albeit small was quite delicious and the fries were excellent too. After lunch it was mid afternoon and we headed back around the corner to the park where we were going to camp for the night, because camping in public parks is legal in Kansas and in such a small town a park is basically anything with grass, trees, and a swing set. We set up our tents and found a gazebo with an outlet to plug in our phones to charge. It was still afternoon so we read for a while, and then walked back to the store to get some dinner stuff. A couple of bud lights later we were ready to eat, and had our vegetables, beef stew and triscuits and felt pretty satisfied.
The light was starting to fade so we headed across the street to the "Cassoday: Prairie chicken capital of the world" sign and took some awesome Arrested Development inspired photos.
As night fell we cleaned up and got ready for bed and hoped that the freight trains that kept passing about a quarter-mile wouldn't blow their horns all night as they had been all afternoon, but alas we weren't so lucky. I don't know what they were announcing to a town of 129 all night, but they were vigilant about it. Also it seemed to get really humid so it turned into a rather sweaty, noisy night.
Days totals- miles cycled: 39, rolling time: 3:06, prairie chickens seen: 0.