Day 96 • June 5, 2012 • Beloit to Clay Center, KS • 58 miles
I got into trouble in Downs, KS a few days earlier when I suggested to a local woman that “there is a whole lotta nuthin’” between Beloit and Clay Center. It was more of a question, really, or a challenge– could she set me straight? I was already thinking about this stretch and was getting a little worried. After her initial indignant outrage she spent a long time stammering but coming up with nothing, conceding my point as far as I was concerned. I was only referring to a dearth of services like food, water, and camping, not scenic beauty, culture, or contributions to mankind, but after this exchange I was more worried than ever. She and her husband had spotted us at the snow cone stand in Downs and stopped to offer us a Kansas bicycling map and to talk up the area—all kidding aside, both very helpful and appreciated. She runs a local business in Downs called the Lazy Daisy that sells Kansas-inspired products so her sensitivity to my comment is understandable. She was also very enthusiastic about the Worlds Largest Ball of Twine and the Big Flush in Lucas.
So today we tested my comment and I stand by it. Not much between Beloit and Clay Center. So little in fact that we pedaled nearly sixty miles in mid-nineties heat and a strong headwind to get somewhere we could buy something to eat and get permission to pitch our tent. When we arrived in Clay Center we paid the police station a visit and were directed to the fairgrounds for another night of free camping. Unfortunately the bathrooms were closed but there were businesses close enough to serve that purpose. It was hot, muggy, and buggy too, with a lot of noise and commotion coming from some nearby 4-H activities. But that commotion turned into an opportunity when, after the 4-H’rs left, Shawn brought his horse Skip by and let Zoe ride him around the grounds.