Saturday was forecast to be quite windy out of the south, so Barry planned out a bike route that would avoid riding too much in a southerly direction. Instead, we'd head to De Soto, Kansas, which is almost due west of Prairie Village. De Soto is a small town of approximately 6,000 people that lies along the Kansas River, and much to my surprise, is actually considered to be part of the Kansas City Metro area, although it is quite rural. There is even a branch of our Johnson County library there, again a surprise to me.
Here's a map so you can get an idea of our starting and ending points (Prairie Village to De Soto and back) and the route we took.
After a short ride up to the Overland Park farmer's market for some fresh greens, riding back and eating breakfast, we headed out. It would be a long ride, so we didn't want to dawdle.
I don't know why I've been having more blurry photos lately with my little digital camera, but it is ancient. Either it's starting to get flaky, or the photographer is!
Once we got into downtown, we saw a sign for the bridge over the Kansas River, so rode down to check it out. The views were great; unfortunately, there was not even a sign for the river. We were amazed by all the swallows flying around. Afterwards, I identified these as Cliff Swallows -- a new bird for our life lists! Seeing them definitely made our ride worthwhile.
Cliff Swallows build their nests in large colonies, and I am sure the underside of the bridge was just covered with them. Wish we could have seen that! Click here to see what the nests look like. Cool, huh?
Next, we headed into the small downtown area. It was very quiet on a Saturday. We stopped for a snack we'd brought along and to stretch our legs. I enjoyed half a baked sweet potato -- an excellent source of complex carbs when riding, and not too sweet. It matched my jersey too!
On the way back, it seemed that the wind had taken on more of a southeasterly direction than pure south, so we suffered since we were now heading east. Between that and a couple of long, tough climbs, it was a doozy of a ride back.
We stopped off to take a photo of this sign we saw going through Lenexa. We both worked at Perimeter Park in Morrisville, NC, for Nortel Networks for many years. We figured our old Nortel buddies would get a kick out of it.
Although most of our route was on the road, we took bike trails for a couple of short legs, when one was in the right place. The new Clear Creek Trail in Shawnee has an excellent water station where we filled up our bottles with filtered cold water. Ahhhhh! This is a rare luxury when out cycling.
What's more, there was even a drinking fountain for canine companions, and a bike tool and air station. Yay Shawnee! You're a rockin' community in our book!
The trail is very nice, and there was even a train going by. Look close in this photo to see it off in the distance, beyond where Barry is riding. It's the grayish thing that looks like a lake!
I tried to get a photo of Barry riding under the bridge with the train above, but I was too late...the train went by right before I could focus.
As you might imagine, it was absolutely necessary to go by Sheridan's Frozen Custard when we passed through Overland Park on the way back for a couple of "wowieccino" iced coffee drinks. The caffeine really helped perk us up for the last miles, and on a hot day, they were cold and refreshing. Ahhhhhh....
We did a few extra miles so I could hit my target of 60 miles for my longest ride of the year, and actually for many years. I have been plagued by right-side lower back pain since a cycling accident in 2005, but this year, thanks to a different road bike modified with a stem extension, I've been able to ride with much, much less pain, which means I can ride more like I did prior to my accident in 2005. I'm slower now since I'm ten years older, but still steady!
Of course, Barry being Barry, continued on and put in many extra miles so he'd get his longest ride of the year as well -- 101 miles! He's amazing!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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