Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kansas!

Hallelujah We are OUT OF MISSOURI!
Kansas - Yay
Nice flat Kansas.

Today was a nice riding day. We skipped the last of Missouri’s hills. Ace and I started in the middle of nowhere at an intersection in the road. Roger went back for May and Jo and they all joined us in the little town of Golden for coffee, biscuits and gravy, and glorious pie at Cooky’s Cafe

Some locals warned us of some flooded roads up ahead. Have I yet mentioned how much more welcoming people seem to be to us cyclists now. The Ozarks simply felt hostile all the time. It’s left a sour taste in my mouth for that part of Missouri. The folks at Golden (and Everton) have been wonderful. May drove ahead and found that the flooding had receded enough that we could follow our route to Pittsburgh. 

Weather today is too much like Oregon. Grey, overcast skies and a mist falling at times. It’s unseasonably cold too, but once I’m warmed up it’s pretty comfortable to ride in. 

Flat roads. Glorious, wonderful flat, flat, roads! 

We are on the prairie now, it would seem. I’m enjoying the expansive views. I rode at a relaxed pace most of the day. Drivers weren’t hostile (excepting one), dogs were a non-issue. The few I saw were contained, and didn’t even bother to bark. 

We arrived in Pittsburg KS about 2:00 pm and found our way through quiet neighborhood streets to our motel for the evening. A nice day of riding and it’s good to be “home” for the night. 
48 miles
Cooky's Cafe 
Abandoned house
Roger 
Flooded river - fortunately the water had receded off of the road
Roger and Jo with a black cloud over their heads
Funky old place
Thiefs beware of mad owner
Glorious flat roads! 

Kari, Jo and Ace in Kansas

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Marshfield-Everton

Sick of Missouri hills. 
Up. Down. Repeat a kazillion times.
I have nothing more to say about Missouri. 

Hills today. Lots of 'em. Roger met a group of 4 riders traveling our route. I wasn't there at the time, but did get a chance to say hello when they caught and passed our group. They were all much younger - in their twenties probably, and riding together at the moment. They all started from different locales, and will finish in different locations. 

We stopped in Walnut Grove for lunch and a man there gave us directions for an easier, less hilly route. We're always skeptical of advice from non-riders. They mean well, but they just don't realize how to judge hills. It seemed like well detailed advice, so it was decided to give it a try. After lunch, and 37 miles of riding, I decided I was done for the day. Ace and I elected to ride in the car to our lodging for the night. Jo and Roger rallied on to finish the ride. 

We are staying the night at Running Spring Farm. It is/was a pheasant hunting lodge, but the owner has retired and now runs the lodge kind of like a hostel. We are the only ones here for tonight. Lot’s of room, a kitchen. One and a half miles out of Everton, but well worth it. 

Tomorrow we will be in Kansas … Thank Goodness!

Okay, maybe I’m being a little harsh on Missouri. :)
 38 miles
Missouri Hills
Ace and Roger
Finally some sweeping views
What's this? More hills?
Our home for the night
The lodge, non-descript on the outside...
...but pretty nice on the inside.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Houston to Marshfield

May 29

We are slowly getting past the worst of the Missouri hills. Weather has been iffy, overcast with threats of rain and thunderstorms. Today we ferried the bikes outside of Marshfield. Jo and Ace went first, then Roger and I. When Roger and I started we felt raindrops, but just as quickly they stopped. Other than a drop here and there we remained dry.

We still had a few big, steep grades to climb. One long one I had to get off and walk for a ways. My legs were jello. But I'm doing okay with long grades under 10%. The short ones are okay too.

We stopped for lunch in Hartville. Roger and I were looking for coffee when we found Jo and Ace at a Subway. We filed in and ordered lunch. By a stroke of luck this Subway had flavored coffee that was fresh and hot. Nice! This isn't the norm with Subways that I'm familiar with. While we were eating the skies opened up and dumped buckets, literally, of rain down on the little town of Hartville. May joined us soon after and she too had driven through some nasty rain storms. We idled away our lunch hour, knowing that sooner of later it would stop, and it did.

Jo and Ace had decided to load the bikes up and get a ride to Marshfield. Roger and I wanted to finish the ride. I've rode in the car for the last two days, for at least parts of the day, so I really wanted a full days ride, even though my legs are noodles.

We were concerned we would get caught in a downpour, but we had no more than one brief sprinkle that was more refreshing than anything else. The rest of the ride was on somewhat gentler hills, though still long and numerous. Traffic was light and courteous in passing. All and all a delightful bit of riding for the day.

We are in Marshfield tonight, amidst thunderstorms, and flood warnings, but we are snug in our rooms and it sounds like the worst of the rain will pass in the night.

50 miles
2828 elev. gain
11.5 average -  how the heck did that happen!
See that hill in the distance? The road goes there...with a big dip in between. 
Little stream we crossed.
There are some local Amish in this area.
We bought some strawberries from one woman and her daughter. 
Pretty little horses. 


One was brave enough to take a little treat from Roger.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Eminence to Houston MO

May 28

Yay, finally have reliable wifi and cell service. (You may have noted the mass posting.)

Yesterday was probably the toughest riding day so far. For me obviously not as I didn't ride most of it, but it was grueling. Today we still have hills to climb, but it looks like they might be mellowing out just a little.

Our start this morning we had rode only about 3 miles and had climbed three hills with 14% grades in that time. Delightful!

We stopped at a little place called Alley Springs. A lovely little historical spot where there is a spring, and an old flour mill (museum) that you can tour. It's a lovely setting and it's interesting to see the old equipment inside the mill. I didn't take many interior pics as it was quite dark inside.

We stopped in Summerville for lunch at their city park. While there we witnessed what may have been a trucker getting fired. There were two guys at an office across the street yelling and cussing at one another. Eventually one guy went to a truck parked nearby and began removing his personal belongings, which he gathered up and walked away. Later Roger would spot him sitting alone at an abandoned restaurant, perhaps awaiting a ride. Don't know much more than that, but it was a sad scene.

I had a worrisome moment when I dropped my camera today. Afterwords the lens wouldn't work. I removed and reattached it, got an error message, fussed with it a little more, then gave up and went to put the lens cap on when I felt something "give".  After that it worked fine! I'm very happy that it seems to be okay.

The hills have mellowed some, shorter and not quite so steep, but still plentiful. Traffic is bad. There are trucks and just general bad behavior by many drivers with speeding and passing too close. Jo and I eventually call it quits and ride the last 10 miles in the car. Roger and Ace rallied on.
Finally captured a Cardinal pic

Our backyard at our cabin last night. Jack's Fork River

Alley Springs and Mill
Mill machines


Trail around millpond/spring

Alley Springs Mill

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Johnsons Shut-ins to Eminence

May 27

Nice thunderstorm overnight. Roger and May slept out on the covered deck, but stayed dry. Jo's sleeping bag, on the other hand was wet from rain that blew in through the window. Go figure. Rain in the morning, but we delayed leaving until after it stopped. 

Highway N was hilly and had trucks. It's just not a good road for riding in it's current condition. Today we are really into the hills, and will be until we get to Kansas. 

A few miles before the town of Centerville I had a dog incident. A fully intact, male German shepherd (mix?) came after me and managed to get a bite out of my leg. It was just a graze, but the bigger worry was infection and/or rabies. The woman at the house called the dog in. We told her what had happened but she didn't want to take responsibility for her pet. She went in the house, but Ace knocked on the door until she came out again. Roger and I took photos of the address, car licenses that were in the driveway, the house and a business across the road for identification purposes. We added a little neosporin to my injuries, but I was well able to ride, so we continued on.

The county sheriff was in Centerville, so we stopped to file a report. An EMT  there directed me to the nearest ER where they could best clean the wound, so after the sheriff, and the woman from the health dept. took our report. May drove me to the nearest ER. Dr. Christmas was the ER doctor on duty. Interesting fellow. He was from New Zealand, had a military background, and was rather quiet, but didn't mince words. I rather liked him. I had a tetanus shot, as I don't recall my last one. He didn't recommend antibiotics unless I showed signs of infection and he promised to send a scrip forward, if I should need one down the road. He also quietly stated he's a cyclist and showed us his recommended dog deterrent, a military/police style telescoping night stick, and a squirt bottle with ammonia. I might have to look those up! 

I could have still rode, but was feeling pretty shaken by this time, so opted to ride in the car for the day. The woman from the health dept. contacted me to let me know they will be quarantining the dog to watch for rabies and will let us know the result. Fun times. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Johnson's Shut-ins

May 26

Today we took a rest day - time off of the bikes. We slept in. We wiled away the morning and in the afternoon we took a hike down to the Shut-ins.

Shut-ins is a term used to describe a river that is shut in by rock walls and cannot change it’s course. It makes a great place to go wading/swimming and just escape the heat of the day. It was a busy place today. The trail continued up over a ridge then back down to the river. About a 2.5 mile hike. Finished up the afternoon with ice cream.
Black River
Jo
More wildflowers
Wildflowers and rocks...gettin' artsy now

The "shut-ins"
Stairway that lead up and over a ridge above the river. 
Nice, deep pool 
Trail pic 
more  trail, more flowers. 
Butterfly. We see a lot of these.
Little mossy world
Luna moth. I guess these are a little unusual to see. 


Monday, May 25, 2015

Fredericktown to Johnson's Shut-ins

May 25
Due to weather concerns we decided to leave Fredericktown later in the morning. Roger, May, and I partook of the motel’s continental breakfast and were entertained by a nice older Indian man who told us he was a former owner of the motel. He was well-spoken and told us his life story of growing up in India which was later divided into Pakistan and Bangladesh. He was quite interesting. He came to America, went to school to become an engineer and worked at various jobs, but not engineering.

We left our motel around 10 am. The road was narrow and hilly, but traffic wasn’t too bad to begin with. It did pick up later on and became quite busy with holiday traffic heading home from the weekend.

We stopped for lunch at Baylee and Joes in Ironton. It was a crowded, cluttered restaurant that was difficult to maneuver in. The poor waitress dumped a coke on herself and her and Ace’s shoes. Fortunately no one was too wet from the incident.

Up to road just a short ways we joined with the official Trans-am route, the bicentennial bike route that was originally started in 1976. We turned onto the highway and immediately found our old friend, the rumble strip. Roger pondered what Missouri’s road department were thinking in adding rumble strips to a major bicycle route. Road departments seem very enamored to rumble strips these days.

There was a good stream of traffic today, with many holiday campers leaving the area. Most were going the opposite way, but we had the day trippers, and some kids that had less than stellar judgement in the driving choices. It was a pretty road, but between rumble strips and some drivers, it was quite stressful.

One dog incident with a group of loose dogs, but we survived that encounter unscathed.

We have a cute little cabin at Johnson’s Shut-ins State park. It has a living area and a bedroom, with showers and bathroom just a few steps away. Dinner was salad, Mac and cheese, and fresh fruit, veggies, and anything else we could lay our hands on. The evening was spent watching fireflies and listening to the frogs sing their evening songs. No rain until late at night when of course I had to make a bathroom run.
Rolling hills
Wildflowers 
Scenic river that we crossed
Really couldn't figure this one out. Rapunzel's place?
Ace, Kari, and jo next to the Trans-America bike route sign.
This is the original bike route that was started in 1976.
Our cabin for the next two nights

Evening view from the deck 
Pond directly behind our cabin. 
Ace on deck
Another pond view.