We emerged from our motel like bears after hibernation. It had been nice to have a day off riding but with small windows and low ceilings the room did feel like a bit of a cave and perhaps we should have spent a little more time outside of it. The world outside our hotel room seemed a frightening place, full of evil winds and punishing hills.
Still, we packed up and left. Rode along I-70 for a little while, turned at hwy 86 and headed for our destination of Elizabeth. Despite being under 100 miles from a major city this was the longest stretch of the trip we had between services, we clocked up 70km before arriving in Kiowa for a pizza and pasta lunch.
The scenery then took a very welcome turn, trees appeared in clumps on the rolling hills. Tall, formidable pine trees, oh, how we have missed trees. It was then that we also realised that Kansas smelled of nothing at all, ammonia in some places but mostly nothing. We were both overcome with the wafting scent of pine, it was like being in a really clean hospital ward.
Elizabeth doesn’t have hotel / motel accommodations, but we were lucky to arrive on a clear, sunny day and once the wind died down in the early evening it was a perfect night for camping. Being able to camp in the shade was also something we hadn’t been able to do for the last little while.
One thing that I find baffling, in suburban and more car reliant areas banks have drive-thru ATMs, they don’t even have the option of a hole-in-the-wall. I feel maligned for not owning a motorised vehicle.
The sites were located next to the Elizabeth Stampeded, an annual rodeo of some regional interest, supposedly televised and an event that the entire community spoke to us about often. The stadium didn’t look like it would hold much more than 5,000 people but from all the signs and posters you’d think that half of Colorado was coming.
We ate some delicious chicken wings at Wingnuttz, just down the road from the camping sites. I haven’t had wings everywhere yet but these wings were definitely the best wings I’ve had on the trip. I could have and did drink the smokey sweet sauce they came swimming in. Delicious.
We saw very clearly the outline of the Rockies ahead, they don’t look so mean up close. Plus, I think I’ve found a way around to avoid the worst of them. We slept soundly in our little fabric cave knowing that the next day we would be in Denver, eating tacos and watching baseball games.