We woke up prepared to face more flat country and headwinds, but, fortunately, the going wasn’t as tough as the day before…at least when we started. Towns, especially with populations of over 500 people, began to get sparse. In the morning we met a British cyclist, David, that was heading east. We wish we had time to hear everyone’s story, but sometimes a brief conversation is all that is possible. A few minutes, and a quick photo, later and we were headed in opposite directions again. He is nearing the end of his journey, but we are really only just starting ours.
As we rode deeper into the Midwest, we began to get more and more weird looks from people. This only increased as a storm began to roll in over the plains. We watched the storm’s progress and the rain in the distance, a new experience for all of us, and wondered whether we could make it to camp before it hit. In the mid-afternoon, any extant headwind dropped away and we were left with flat, smooth roads headed towards ominous thunderheads. The proverbial ‘calm before the storm’ was upon us.
In a rush of adrenaline, we rode 20 straight miles to try to outrun the storm to camp, but, with less than 10 miles left, it hit us. We decided to keep chugging, and hit our campsite (a church-owned summer camp property a few miles outside of Payne) as the rain began to subside. We spread out our things to dry, thinking (hoping) that the rain was done. Unfortunately, later that evening it began again, in earnest, and we watched, and later listened, as the wind drove it into the side of our tent all night.
In the morning the rain still hadn’t finished; we woke up to the coldest, wettest morning of our trip so far.