Adding to the lack of sleep is a sore ankle, it's black and swollen as a result of the little accident in the creek last week, I'm only clad I'd upgraded to the heavier Crossfire boots when my Sidi Adventure's wore out, may have been a broken ankle before getting out of Oklahoma otherwise.
So I'm laying in my tent, I've found some free camping in the town Park of Greensburg, Kansas. I'm thinking about the roof on the toilet block right next to where I pitched. Thinking the concrete block walls are pretty solid but that roof sure did look a bit shabby. Before turning in for the night I'd run through my best tornado evacuation plan and the "brick shit house" was looking like the best option, might just have to bear hug that typically grotty public bowel if the roof goes though! Actually thinking about it now a toilet may not be a good place to be in a tornado, with 200mph winds that's got to produce some very low atmospheric pressures, bit like one rather big vacuum shit pump, could get messy.
Well of coarse I didn't have use the toilet as a make shift tornado shelter, but I just happen to be camped up in Tornado alley right in tornado season and it would have been a different story if I had of been in town on the night of May 4th 2007 when this little Kansas town was completely taken out by a massive EF5 twister that was 1.7 miles wide with winds over 200 miles per hour. During my stay in Oklahoma the town of Moore was hit by a nasty tornado resulting destruction and deaths.
Anyway, after the delayed start It's good to be on the road again. Lot's of little things have gone wrong so far on this trip which has had me a bit frustrated. Sometimes when things don't go quiet as planned you can start to question what you are doing. Sometimes I question this whole bike trip? It's costing a lot of money, most people tend to get themselves a house and a family around my age, sometimes I feel it's costing my health too, I'm not getting my usual level of exercise and of coarse managing diabetes is a little tougher when traveling.
It takes just one day though and I am no longer questioning what I'm doing. One day heading off into the unknown on my own, on my bike and I know exactly what the hell I'm doing. It's hard to explain the feeling as you travel across foreign landscapes on your own. One minute you are marveling at the surroundings, one minute you are lost in your own thoughts in your own little world far away from anybody, friends , family, and of coarse the usual working routines. Then, the next minute you run wide on a sandy turn and your heart misses a few beats as you regain control of the bike and your thoughts concentrate of the road ahead and the consequences of a crash out in the middle of no where.
|Fields of gold in Kansas|
|Never seen so much wheat or wind generators, must have been over a thousand generators|
|Big horizons in Kansas|
|Greenburg in Kansas was hit by one of the worst tornadoes in history|
|Greensburg is also famous for it's massive hand dug water well|
As I'm nearing the Rockies in Colorado the flat plains are beginning to take it's toll though, It's taken me a couple of days to blast across and most of the time on pavement at 70 mph but also finding some nice little dirt roads criss crossing through massive fields of wheat, wind farms and in some places sweat bugger all!. At times the contrast in dark clouds, intense blue light, and massive horizons is truly a beautiful sight, but the strong side winds and heat is wearing me down, I arrive in the town of Walsenburg with a hazy smoke cloud drifting to the north as a result of recent fires around Colorado Springs and also a nearby fire just erupting with huge column of smoke and red glow at it's base just like a volcano, very impressive sky's just on dusk.
My gps is guiding me to free forest lands camp but when it takes me right into the town centre and out side the tourist info I realise that the coordinates must have got mucked up. It's now late and I opt to set up camp with a whole bunch of truckies on the edge of a large truck stop area. I talk with a few and they just can't believe where I've been, they want to buy me dinner. One of the drivers helps me change my rear tire with the aid of his compressed air pump. He's been stuck at the stop for a few days waiting for parts. " What happened" I say. He says " one of my trailer wheels broke of and run across the road, I had to go retrieve it". I thanked him for the air and told him I has clad not to be passing him when that happened! I go over to the nearby diner and end up have dinner next to a big group of Amish who are also passing by. Truckies, Amish, wildfires and thunderstorm's, I've seen a lot today, you never do know who you're going meet and the sights that you see.
The following day is more pavement as I head for Durango and lucky just sneak through Wolfcreek pass before it is shut down by a nearby wildfire.
|"Time to get out of Dodge City" not much to see but beef plants|
|The plains are fill of dirt roads layed out in mile by mile grids so you can just hop off the main highways when they become to much, this is what it looks like on the gps and...|
|this is what it looks like for real|
|Storm chasing in Kansas, well more like trying to run away from them!|
|That's smoke from the far away Colorado fires|
|I wasn't the only one not enjoying the wind. These massive wind turbine blades in transit were parked up, waiting for the wind to drop I guess. Wouldn't take much to get them air bourne heading down the road!|
|These friendly truckies convinced me to stay with them the night|
|Time to replace that worn out rear at the "told you so service center"|
|Was lucky enough to sneak over Wolf creek pass in Colorado just before it was closed due to this fire|
|After several hours of pavement I'd had enough and managed to find some forest roads on the way into Durango|
|6 months later and I'm back at Omars in Durango|