Written by: Steph Dreessen

So, what do we do when we aren’t researching or collecting data? This question has been brought to our attention by many, and before the trip my most common answer was “I really don’t know.” Well now that we’re at our first cave site, have the first data collection under our belts, I can say that here in Kansas we go for killer bike rides, play with Kaipo, or sleep (so far).



As you can image, the grasslands of Kansas are either pretty flat, or pretty hilly. It doesn’t seem like there’s a good in-between. This morning, all three of us went for a bike ride, and the first road we came to out of our drive-way were hills, uphill both ways. The only bright side to this was that whichever direction we chose to go, it would be downhill on the way back. So we went up the bigger of the two hills, deciding that the ride back would be more enjoyable. I usually ride around my hometown and neighboring towns with my road bike, so transitioning to a mountain bike is difficult to say the least.



Out here, the weather is characterized as dry heat, and back home in Indiana it’s humid. Nevertheless, I still sweat just as much, but it evaporates more quickly while were doing activity compared to the same activity in Indiana. Our location is also composed of all dirt roads…with some pretty soft sands as well.

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Our guest house is located near a prairie dog colony, so every day we get to hear their alarm calls for vehicle/humans when we head out to the cave site. We also had the chance to hear their bike call (this is what we like to speculate) since prairie dogs also have a broad vocabulary in their own language. Near this colony, as we were heading back from our bike ride, gliding down the hill Dr. Kloepper yelled “STOP!!!!” So I turn around (I was beating her down the hill at this point HAHA!) and THERE WAS A SNAKE IN THE ROAD. No, it wasn’t a rattlesnake and it was technically roadkill. Although we’re not sure as to what species it is, so if you know feel free to inform us!

  The snake we saw on our bikeride…note that there’s some of its’ scales are gone from being run over by a vehicle!
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The same snake a few hours later!


One of the many prairie dogs we see every day!

As we travel to different sites, our daily morning activities will change depending on what activities we are able to do, or want to do. It’s always nice to wake up and attempt to work up an appetite for our lunches, since we decide on a day to day basis of what we feel like eating!

As Dr. Kloepper has told you all (or if you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest you do such), our meals are pretty ingenious. We (mostly Dr. Kloepper) throw food items together and hope for the best. So far, the meals taste great, and the meal isn’t fully a meal until Dr. Kloepper forgets that she’s boiling water while also being really intrigued by some data. Cassi and I help out with cooking, more with lunches than with the dinners. For lunch, whoever gets hungry first asks the other two if anything sounds good to them and will start the preparation.

Chili mac and cheese ❤