So there’s this little coffee house/roadhouse in St. Francis Kansas called Fresh Seven and my daughter Jessica and I stumbled onto it quite by accident yesterday morning. I’m glad we did. It’s awesome. In fact, I’m going to crown it the best coffee house in America. I realize this is subjective but somebody has to be #1. This is the place.
First things first. You may not know of St. Francis Kansas. It’s nowhere near an interstate highway, so that means that 99.9% of America will never go there. It’s on lonely US 36. So why were we here? Well, for one thing, I am helping my daughter move back to Indianapolis. I keep hoping and praying she’ll settle in Utah for good, but she’s not ready for that yet. So being Dad, I help. That’s what we do.
Being me, we take the lonely two lanes instead of the interstates. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, I just like them better. They take you through towns that you’d never have an opportunity to see otherwise. If I was a cynic, I might be inclined to say that they all look alike but I would be wrong. They don’t. They’re all unique and full of wonderful people who have stories to tell. I love stories.
So after a harrowing day of navigating ground blizzards on the sagebrush flats of Wyoming, we cut down from Laramie to Ft. Collins and headed east from there on US 34. We stopped for the night at the Harvest Motel in Yuma Colorado. It’s also worth a trip, but I’ll save that story for another day. We were up before dawn and looking for real honest-to-goodness Great Plains coffee and wouldn’t you know we’d find it?
St. Francis is 60 miles downstream from Yuma. You cut into Nebraska and then down into Kansas where you catch US 36…advertised as the shortest route from Denver to Indianapolis. There’s a coffee house there called Fresh Seven and it’s as good as it gets. These are bike people. They have bikes all over the place and this funky ag-industrial vibe. This is bike country. Ever hear of Dirty Kanza? I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t want to ride it. Of course I want to ride it.
Speaking of riding, I can’t think of a better place to get on a bike and ride until you can’t go any further than this part of the world. I had the pleasure earlier this year of cycling the endless prairie that surrounds Julesburg Colorado and the Plains are a place I want to explore by bike. That was the other reason we were on US 36…recon…
But before we go riding, I could use another cup of coffee. If your travels take you across the Great Plains, get off of those ugly, boring freeways and take the scenic route. When you get to St. Francis, go north to Main Street and say “Howdy” at Fresh Seven. There’s a Bike 5 sticker on the wall now. Awesome.