Wednesday, March 31, 2010

mount sunflower

Biking Across Kansas starts this year in Goodland, KS, 18 miles east of the Colorado border on Old Highway 24, just north of I-70. There is an "official" early start on Friday afternoon at the border, with the regular start in Goodland on Saturday morning. Or, one could just ride to the border on Saturday, snap some pictures, and turn around and ride to the first overnight spot in Colby. Even doubling back would only make 
the first day 72 miles.                                                                                                                                   
I've driven past this area a few times. A couple years ago I met Bruce in Colby, left my car at a motel, and we took his van to Gunnison for crmbt. Other than that, the towns were just markers that we were nearing Colorado. So now I'm going to get a chance to see more of Kansas up close, the right way: on a bike.
What's western KS like? For starters, Goodland is on the eastern side of the high plains, at 3638 feet in elevation. Twenty-eight miles to the southwest is Mount Sunflower, not really a mountain, but the highest point in KS at 4039'. Admittedly, Colorado's high point, Mt. Elbert, is a scant 10, 401 feet higher, but still. Mount Sunflower is on private land, but the owners welcome visitors to a spot with a sign, picnic table, sunflower sculpture made of railroad spikes, and a plaque that states "nothing happened here in 1897".
Starting near the high point should make most of the trip downhill, right? Now we'll just need to see what the wind is like in Kansas in June.   :)

Pics of Goodland Van Gogh, Mt Sunflower, and Mt Elbert borrowed from Wikipedia.

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