Hey! It’s HAY!

Packing went quickly, and we were out and pedaling long before checkout time, like a couple of seasoned pros. On the way out of town we stopped for snacks and Nick got into a conversation with a local resident. When she learned that we were traveling to Shattuck to explore our Russian German ancestry, she declared that she too had Russian German roots, and we were probably all related in some way.

Nick reported: “Apparently there is a parts shop on Main Street in Shattuck, where a guy who is from a family that has been there forever lives and he might be able to tell us if he knows any Birkels.”

That’s pretty cool. We start a conversation with exactly one person in the area, and she turns out to be a semi-distant relative.

Today would be a day of riding through flatness, and checking out the growing things on both sides of the long, straight highway.

When I say the roads were straight, I am not kidding.

Did I mention that these roads are long and straight?

They also provided no cover. Which makes it a bit weird when you have to pee. But we were effectively in a private space — not because there were walls around us, but because we were just so far from anyone else that even if they were looking straight at us, they wouldn’t be able to tell what we were doing. Unless they had a telescope. But then they would be the weirdos, not us.

Pee break on a long long road.

The weather was magnificent, and though the wind wasn’t being helpful, it did bring us all kinds of interesting smells.

Leftover cotton from the harvest.

Every now and then we’d pass through a cluster of buildings, usually next to a massive grain elevator. Out here there’s a strange mixture of structures in constant industrial use with other things that are clearly abandoned.

Yes, that's a boxcar integrated into the structure of a building.
These towns are so small and remote that even vandals don't bother visiting.
When a new grain elevator replaces and old one, the old one just hangs around.
Texas likes to put stars on everything.
Now that is a great name.
HEEEEY!!!!! It's hay.

The few people we did encounter were friendly. I like to think we were making their day a bit more interesting too.

Friendly farmers, doing the work of hundreds of men thanks to fancy machines.

On we went for big chunks of time, bracketed by pee breaks, grain elevators, and interesting plants.

Nick catching up.

Almost caught up!

In the tiny “town” of Waka, I came across this imposing structure:

Dangerous things happen in Waka.

Nick figured it out after just a few seconds of looking. It’s a pumping station, for a pipeline used by a nearby refinery, and it’s well protected because it can potentially spew hydrogen sulfide gas in lethal amounts. Don’t mess with it!!

Grain forever!

It's still intact, after days of riding! Drying out a bit more though.

The day wore on, and we were treated to the sight of massive flocks of birds making their way from horizon to horizon.

Lots of birds around here.

In the evening we arrived at the day’s goal: Perryton, the so-called “Wheatheart Of The Nation.”

First and only order of business: Procure lots of food. We threaded through town and located a sushi restaurant, the “Ninja Sushi Steakhouse.” Perfect! We hadn’t seen sushi in quite a while.

Much evening snackage ensued.

This is the internationally recognized I GOT SUSHI! face.

We’d made good time despite the headwind. One more day of riding before we get to Shattuck. Hopefully the sushi will propel us!

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