My longest ride yet, this time I headed from Lawrence to find The Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States! It turns out if you include Alaska and Hawaii in the calculations things move up to South Dakota, so Kansas had to add a qualifier to keep this point of pride. I rode this route counter-clockwise, heading up north and west before returning the “lower” route.
This was my longest and hottest ride to date. It ended up taking over 9 hours, and while I drank a lot of water (camelbak really helps) this trip took a lot out of me. I felt ok on the ride, although temperatures hit 99, but the next day I felt hungover most of the day. I suspect a lack of electrolytes combined with just being on the bike for longer than I’m used to. Anyhow, this report will be brief; lots of riding but mostly across the beautiful Kansas countryside. As you head west it becomes less hilly and more flat, the stereotypical Kansas.
One of my first stops was this well marked picnic ground apparently owned by a motorcycle club. I didn’t see any motorcyclists around, this was well past Topeka and into rural Kansas. There is very little out this way. My scooter takes premium gas, and that become increasingly difficult to find.
A few miles from my destination there was a small cemetery with this sign in front. The Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States (good heavens, let’s just call that GCCUS) is apparently a big deal around here. The sign notes that both San Francisco and Boston are 1,630 miles away by “Transcontinental highway.”
I’ve arrived! You can tell it’s the center because, it’s basically the middle of nowhere, has a helpful sign and chapel but no bathroom.
Sitting by the flagpole was a ceramic … tongue? Ruby slipper? Carrot? I have no idea.
Scooter watching the road in. It’s lovely here, if a bit isolated.
Flagbole, odd arch, scooter. Also ceramic tongue if you look real close.
Inside the “Pray Chapel.”
Chapel from the outside.
Last shot before I headed off. The site seemed to have a good amount of visitors despite its location. There was a couple from Oklahoma there when I arrived, and another car from Utah pulling up and unloading a family as I left. I drove through the nearby town hoping for a souvenir sticker for the scooter, but no signs offering such things were in evidence.
I went through at least three different rain showers, each fairly strong but very brief. You can see some off in the distance here and below.
Cawker City has the World’s Largest Ball of Twine! I actually didn’t realize this was on my route until I saw it by the road and slammed on my brakes. Met a couple here about to check out GCCUS and then to see the other Center of the US on their way to Mount Rushmore. Travel the country and meet your fellow weirdos!
Across from the World’s Largest Ball of (Sinal) Twine is Cawker City’s attempt to cash in on their tourist trap. As with many things in Kansas it reflects some optimism, hard work, and mixed endings.
The trip took me over 9 hours and covered 470 miles.