Ride Like the Wind

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Somewhere in a pasture deep in the Flint Hills of Kansas is a limestone rock standing upright placed there by early settlers. Upon that limestone rock are these words; “Man, the wind sure blows hard in Kansas, hang on to this here rock.” When you’re raised in Kansas it really doesn’t seem that noticeable, but I guess you could say that the wind can be a little stiff sometimes. I often think the barbed wire fences that crisscross Kansas were put there to keep your stuff from blowing more than a mile away. As a kid growing up I don’t remember the wind blowing like it does now, but of course then I was a little closer to the ground and usually preoccupied with kid stuff. At least now I don’t have to worry about the wind messing my hair up.

Riding into work this morning on my Road King it was obvious this was going to be one of those days the weatherman warns about, “wind from the South at 15-20 with gusts up to 30 today,” sounds like a warning to most, but here it’s just like any other day. Now if the weatherman said it was going to be dead-calm today, I would be alarmed as that is out of the ordinary.

As a motorcyclist we often hear the phrase “ride like the wind.” I will tell you that if I rode like the wind today, I would be arrested for assault as the ride in was brutal. Normally heading with the wind isn’t bad, but even that was a handful. Riding West was like my world had tilted to one side with the horizon angled sharply while my shirt collar was slapping my face faster than a hummingbird flaps it’s wings. Okay, so maybe that was an exaggeration, it was more like a meadowlark flapping it’s wings, after all that is our State Bird. But, what do you do? We ride motorcycles and that is just part of it. If it’s cold or hot, windy or raining, we ride – at least some of us do. I didn’t say it was fun all the time, and there can be those days when you just have to convince yourself that even if you would have driven the car, you would have hated yourself. I sure wouldn’t want to hate myself.

So next time you are driving through, or better yet, riding through Kansas, don’t let the wind bother you. It’s going to blow no matter what and there is usually a limestone fence post somewhere to hang on to, so just get used to it. As native Kansans are, we just lean into the wind when it blows; hence the earlier comment about being alarmed if the wind stops blowing. That’s how you determine a native Kansan like myself to someone just visiting – if the wind stops, us Kansas folks fall down.

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“The world’s largest…3 miles ahead”

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I know what you’re thinking, every state is known for something. The obvious – Grand Canyon, the Royal Gorge, the Sears Tower just to name a few. Riding along the byways of Kansas, you definitely have some interesting sights to see. There is no doubt the ride South of Council Grove through the Flint Hills is beautiful. The rolling hills when the fields are green is amazing. But the wind…

The wind blows mostly all day and only lets up when you put the motorcycle back in the garage. But its what we do here in Kansas. You ride in it or you don’t ride at all. I’m used to it but I do hear a lot of people complain that it takes the fun out of riding. Sure it does, just as the Northwest has its drizzle and the Southeast has it’s humidity. We just adapt to our surroundings. But back to the roadside attractions.

In Cawker City Kansas we have the World’s Largest Ball of Twine. It’s big. So big it has a roof over it! I’ve had lunch at the bar across the street and I will say it is impressive. That is true dedication and I will hand it to the folks of Cawker City – they have put the city of theirs on the map. Just think of the town that currently has the “Second Largest Ball of Twine”. How would that make you feel? You work so hard but it doesn’t help get your ball of twine in the “largest” category. There are no road side signs saying “turn here to see a medium size ball of twine”.

And then we have Greensburg Kansas with the “Worlds Largest Hand-dug Well“. Not to be confused with the “Second Largest Hand-dug Well.” It must really suck to work so hard at digging a well BY HAND only to come up short. At any point during the dig I hope his wife didn’t say “see, I told you”. At what point do you convince yourself there is no going back to a normal ball of twine or a regular well. As bikers, we usually have to have to the latest and greatest of everything. Whether it’s the biggest engine, or the fastest motorcycle or loudest pipes, some of us have to have it. But the field is very small when it comes to water wells or balls of twine.

You have to hand it to these folks. They have started something and finished it in grand fashion. To those that don’t care it matters little. But to the friends and families of these individuals it is something to talk about through-out the generations. It makes me feel like I need to get off the couch and do something! Wait a minute…I think I might have the “Largest Pile of Dirty Clothes“…

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