Kansas wildflowers

Kansas wildflowers_StaatsWe just recently returned from the Biking across Kansas ride where we traversed from the Colorado border, across the wide state of Kansas, to the eastern border with Missouri.  As the state has had plenty of rain this spring, the landscape was lush and green.  Although I was focused on bicycling (as opposed to photographing), what jumped out to me were the beautiful wildflowers that were dotting the fields and roadsides.  The coneflowers, butterfly milkweed, daisies, spider-wort — all were bursting into bloom.  Last year at this time I spent over two weeks in Iowa and was fortunate to document the daily changes in a prairie area.   That experience gave me a new appreciation for the wildflowers that grace our landscapes with their burst of color and beauty.  So our mode of travel across the state of Kansas by bicycle gave us front-row seats to this amazing display of blooms.

Biking across Kansas 2009

BAK_Santa Fe marker_Staats553 miles, 8 days, heat, cold, sun, rain, wind — we had it all on the Biking Across Kansas ride that just finished last Saturday.  It was a great experience, and an adventure of the best kind.  800+ riders travelled from the Colorado border across southern Kansas to the Missouri border.  We stayed in small towns that rolled out the red carpet for this mass of hungry cyclists.  The wheat in western Kansas was golden and beautiful, and the Flint Hills of central Kansas were lush and green.  Wildflowers were in bloom throughout the state, benefiting from the abundance of rain in the past few months.  And I can attest to the fact that Kansas in NOT flat;  the rolling hills of the east side of the state gave us our toughest workout.  This was a perfect way to see and experience my home state.  Bicycling puts you directly into the landscape, and you meet the locals face-to-face.  Everyone (and I do mean everyone) was friendly, giving me a real taste of mid-western hospitality.  This was the 35th year for the BAK ride (www.bak.org), and I tip my helmet to the BAK committee.  The ride was wonderfully organized, the food was fabulous, and the entire experience was a great adventure!

Bicycling and photography

It’s a countdown this week for a big bicycling ride that’s coming up.  We’re planning to do the 35th annual Bike Across Kansas (www.bak.org).  For someone who grew up in Kansas, there are so many parts of the state I’ve never seen or been to.   It’s strange, but I’ve explored more of my new-home state of Minnesota than I have of Kansas.  To help remedy this situation, last January we signed up to ride from the western edge of Kansas to the eastern edge — a distance of over 500 miles.  Of course, it was subzero temps and a foot of snow on the ground in January, and June seemed a long time away.  So we dreamed of sunny summer Kansas weather for about 3 months.  Once the snow melted in Minnesota we began our training in earnest.  It’s been a long time planning, but now we’re in the home stretch.  The ride begins on Saturday, June 6th in the west Kansas town of Syracuse,  and concludes 8 days later in Louisburg, at the Missouri border.  It will be a trip of great scenery, new friends, lots of pedaling, and lots of miles.  This trip will, however, be about bicycling and not about photography.  While I will have a camera with me, my main goal is to enjoy the countryside and the experience, and to not obsess about the perfect photographic opportunity and/or scene.  Check back to my blog in a couple of weeks for a report on the ride!