I am spending the next two weeks at Kansas State in Manhattan. I will have the weekend to get away and explore a little. I thought someone might have some ideas of where to go and what to see and how to get out of this city. I have my Garmin Legend Cx and can add maps and routes fairly easily. I am staying in Goodnow Hall on the edge of campus.
My parameters - likely not more than 30 miles one way with relatively decent services. I have a tent, a cotton sleeping bag liner, but no cooking gear. I am taking my bicycle in tomorrow to get it professionally tuned and maybe overhauled, perhaps at http://www.bigpoppibikes.com/#/welcome - I have to call them in the morning and see if they can get me in this week.
I also have all 4 panniers, but no camp cooking gear - not that I can't whip up a popcan stove in a few minutes. Alternatively, with 4 relatively empty panniers, I could pack up quite a bit of no cook food.
I don't know Manhattan specifically, but if you are staying over 4th of July weekend then you might look at a nearby small town for their 4th of July celebration.
Some of my more interesting touring times have been getting to very small town USA (Peabody KS, Roundup MT and Delta UT are three particularly memorable 4th of July days off, but have done others as well). Something about taking in all the festivities from parades, kids parades, pancake breakfasts, fireworks or demolition derbys on a day off in these small towns...
2014 Pivot Mach 5.7 MTB, 2009 Chris Boedeker custom, 1988 Tommasini Prestige, 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper
Your blog link suggests you like riding dirt/gravel/packed sand roads?
Head southeast via these roads toward Lake Wabaunsee. I think there are stores around there (I think they are on the highway, right across from the lake); if not, you can re-supply in Alma. Head back the next day via different roads. That's a bit further than you were asking for. The back roads south of I70, on the way toward Alma are very nice. I'm less familiar w/the roads north of I-70.
Be aware that in Kansas the prevailing winds are (nearly always) from the south. Get a super-early start on the day you leave, should get you much of the way there before the winds pick up. On the way home you'll have the wind at your back.
Alternatively, make your way west to Milford Reservoir - pick one of the camping areas around there.
If you're more ambitious, make your way south to Council Grove - interesting town. But I think the roads around Alma toward Lake Wabaunsee are more interesting (look at a map -- the crooked ones are nice; the straight ones are, well, straight). But if you wanted to do a tour on pavement, just ride south to Council Grove, look around the town, spend the night at Lake Council Grove north of town, then let the wind blow you home the next day.
Thanks for the input. I think I have decided to go to Milford Reservoir. I can get out of town pretty quickly and go on the north side of Junction City and cruise over to the State Park. Tuttle Creek has some sort of big azz country music festival going on this entire weekend. I would only go to see the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, but don't feel like dropping the coin for it. Now my only question, for myself, is do I leave Friday at around 5 and deal with the wind or wait until Saturday morning to head off. If I go Friday, I will go to Milford on Friday and circumnavigate the lake and then go to the north side of Tuttle reservoir and camp at the horse area at South Randolph (away from the bad music) and then ride back to Manhattan on the east side of Tuttle Reservoir on Sunday. The total loop would be around 95-100 miles.
My bike is at Big Poppi for a tune-up and and chain/freewheel replacement. Bonus, the cool looking bearded and ear gauged mechanic dug around and found me a 6 speed freewheel with 12-34 - which will be much better than my 11-30 that was on it. I will be picking the bike up after class tomorrow evening! I always felt like I didn't really have a granny gear but now I do.
So I am set. Tomorrow, I head off for Milford Reservoir and points west of Manhattan. I will report back how my home brew GPS mapping works. I am working off of MapSource, so I am not sure if I can publish the map to somewhere. I stopped off at the Pathfinder outdoor store and purchased a 50 degree deuter sleeping bag and a new thermarest (left mine in Colorado) My, but that deuter bag packs down to the size of two rolls of toilet paper.
Despite getting lost crossing Fort Riley, I had a wonderful time, until the last 10 miles when the heat and humidity really kicked up. I was really helped out by the soldier at the west gate of Fort Riley who gave me a gatorade, after I had detoured about 10 miles on gravel roads and then found the road across the base. If it had not been for him, I might not have made it to Ogden, Kansas where I resupplied with ice cream and water. I finally cashed it in at Little Apple Toyota and begged a ride. Thanks to Matt. They let me fill my water bottles with ice water and cool off in the AC for a while before they hauled my butt back to the dorm.