This morning we woke up in Garden City, Kan., with the goal of reaching Fort Smith, Ark. We got started around 7:30 a.m. and pulled over into a rest stop about 40 minutes into the trip to don the raingear because the clouds were looking ominous. Although we did see a few sprinkles, we managed to ride between a couple of showers. Kansas U.S. highways, although less hectic than the interstates, don’t offer much in the way of scenery, with cornfields, wheatfields and cattle feed lots being the high points!
The most interesting part of the trip was passing through Greensburg, Kan., which gained prominence on the Planet Green cable channel recently for its efforts to rebuild using “green” technology after essentially being wiped out by a tornado a few years ago. The convenience mart/Dillon’s grocery store where we had gassed up had used some green building techniques (skylights to improve natural light) on a newer half of the building. Most roofs on new homes and businesses were metal, and there was a good bit of brick being used to make things more tornado-proof.
The green building information center behind the gas station has been neglected and overgrown with weeds, and there are many empty lots where homes once stood.
We found it interesting to hear from the cashier at the gas stop that her electric bills now are more than twice what they were before the disaster. We don’t know why that might be. Perhaps adopting “green” building techniques is more expensive or perhaps the utilities are trying to recoup what they had to invest in rebuilding. It would be good to go back and see the entire television series (we only saw a few episodes) to see if there is more analysis on how the town is faring economically.
We were able to get 50 miles beyond Fort Smith this afternoon (561 miles total over 11 hours) and rolled into Clarksburg around 6:30 pm. After washing bug guts off the bikes and taking a refreshing dip in the Days Inn pool, we enjoyed a nice dinner at a sports bar/club behind the hotel. Tomorrow will be a shorter day to Tupelo, Miss., which will give us a full day on Wednesday to ride the Natchez Trace parkway. Of course, that schedule depends on the weather. Right now it’s raining pretty hard, and the forecast calls for more rain tomorrow.