Friday, June 8, 2012

Combines and wheat trucks and bikers, oh my!

Remembering Dad, who passed away seventeen years ago today. So hard to believe it's been that long. We miss you, Dad.

This morning I drove Mom to Healzer's to have her car serviced. She had made an appointment, but when she dropped it off she was told, "It's harvest-time so it may take us awhile to get to it."
Like the spring that preceded it, Harvest has started early this year, and downtown Ness City is a hive. Seems every other minute some big trailer is rolling through the four-way stop carrying combine blades, grain carts, etc..

Driving from Ness to Larned and back on Wednesday and Thursday, for mom's cataract business, I saw more Oversized Loads than I could count. On Wednesday we got stuck for ten miles behind a combine that was weaving all over the road. On Thursday we got stuck behind a crew of custom cutters, a convey of three combines and a semi. We passed fields where cutting was underway, and where ancient-looking wheat trucks sat waiting for another load.

As if the harvest traffic wasn't enough, the annual migration of the summer bikers has begun. We saw them struggling against the wind on eastbound 96, looking out of place on their flimsy bicycles next to the huge farm implements. The dude with the long, white hair and shiny red jersey I saw taking a break in Rush Center seemed perfectly at ease as he coasted into a vacant lot, but stood out like a wild animal that had strayed from its natural habitat. Most of the bikers we saw rode alone, miles separating him or her from the next biker. Scattered as they were, they each seemed an anomly on the rural landscape, pedaling to nowhere for no apparent reason.

I assumed that these were BAKers, and that their larger purpose was to complete the  Bike Across Kansas route, but as it turns out, the official BAK route doesn't follow highway 96 this year as it has in the past. This year BAKers are riding across the northernmost portion of the state. These bikers we have out here are rogue bikers.


  1. this post has me remembering. homesick for kansas today.

  2. Since BAK officially starts today, I first thought these yahoo's might be taking the long way to Sharon Springs. But you say they were eastbound? Possibly, an attempted "Rosie Ruiz" in the early stages?
    BTW-Struggling against an east wind in western KS? How often does that happen?

  3. Yes, the ones I saw that day were eastbound. Though I met two bikers a few days later on their way to Denver (Started from Jacksonville, FL!). Hmmm...maybe they are trying to pull a Rosie Ruiz, but it seems a crazy way to go about cheating. As for the wind - I don't think the wind out there sticks to one direction. It seems to blow every which way!

  4. I don't think the wind out there sticks to one direction. It seems to blow every which way!

    Those are generally referred to as "tornadoes".

  5. this is good, mony. and oh,how i used to curse those bikers under my breath! they can really be a road hazard