May 6 - 10: Missouri

5/10 - Everton (69 miles 1334 total)
you could tell a front had gone through. it was 44 degrees this morning at marshfield......clear-as-a-bell skies, bright sunshine. we had the motel's continental breakfast, which suffered quite a lot in comparison with patty's breakfasts. the very early birds wheeled out of the motel parking lot before 6. sari & i pedalled off right around 7....bringing up the rear.
there was quite a bit of traffic at people commuted to their jobs, i imagine. again all day the roads were very narrow & without any shoulder whatsoever. traffic was light. when vehicles did come by, however, & especially when they came from both sides, there was little choice but to get bikes off the road.
again we had lots of rollers; some upsides were so steep. those occasional steep hills, though, don't end up creating much of a daily climb these days. marcia reports that today's was only 2450. yesterday was 2800 & the day before 2200. we're enjoying these climb counts below 3000 after those days...& days & days...of 4000 & up.
this photo shows sari in the foreground & a rollercoaster road in the background. you can also see how lush the trees are.......covering the gently rolling hills in all directions.
here in the ozarks, towns are few & far between. the first town this morning big enough to have a restaurant for those who eat their breakfast on the road was walnut grove, 38 mi into today's ride. by the time sari & i got there everyone had left, so we didn't stop. instead we had one of our sandwiches in the yard of a very nice house in town; gerrie & darleene were picnicking there, too.
a mile out of walnut grove our route turned left/south. that was a mistake. the strong winds that had been pushing us along or at least posing a minor bother from the side were right in our faces for 6.5 miles to ash grove. but just as well; the whole day's ride would have been way too easy without that stretch.
turtle tally as of this evening is 16. today sari & i carried 6 more from mid-highway to the other side of the road. i wonder if this part of the country will soon be overrun by turtles. we may be upsetting the balance of nature.
people in our group who keep up better with the lore about the places we visit tell me that ash grove is well-known as a granite source. in fact, the empire state building is built from granite quarried at ash grove. the area's quarries also produce the raw materials for much of the nation's drywall, white paint, & lime for porta-potty maintenance. most of the heavy trucks we encounter must be hauling rock from the quarries.....tho' i think i've only noticed one quarry in the last few days. most must be further off the road.
debby, today's subaru driver, had alerted us to the locale of a little diner in ash grove. we got there when sarah, rose, & judy were leaving; darleene, gerrie, & debby joined us. 3 of us had blackberry cobbler; it was fresh & warm & delicious.
luckily our route turned west at ash grove & the winds pushed us quickly into our overnight town, everton, 9 miles away.
we're staying at the town's bed & breakfast (see photo). we're loving the big porches...& 1 or 2 of us even tried the hot tub spa in a downstairs room.
i'm sitting here on the porch writing this report. a mother wren is scolding us for being so close to the nest she's built in a birdhouse hanging at the porch's edge. with temps in the mid 70's, light breezes, & sunshine, it's idyllic.
everton boasts 250 people; you wouldn't expect to find a b&b here. but in 1994, jean & ron dinges renovated the railroad-era poindexter hotel, built in 1886. locals didn't expect it to succeed, but that's before anyone realized what a haven it would become for cross-country bicyclists needing a place to sleep. bikers can pitch their tents in the big yard or they can use one of the 5 bedrooms in the house. our group is taking over the whole place. the dingeses seldom meet their guests; for them the b&b is a part-time job. a hand-written note near the phone downstairs instructs guests to have a good time, use whatever they need, & leave payment for their lodging on the table before they leave.
the house is absolutely filled with everything from furniture loaned by local people to collections of dolls & teddy bears borrowed from growing grandchildren. there's a full bath up & one downstairs. several volunteers from our group have agreed to share the beds in the bedrooms & the rest of us are vying for floor space for our thermarests & sleeping bags. joan, lin & i are sleeping with the animals....several stuffed ones.
here's a photo of joan with her new wild friends. notice that the stuffed fox on the right has a stuffed quail in its mouth.
patty is using the kitchen in the house, but that means trip after trip back & forth to the galley in the trailer for supplies. she surprised us with appetizers this afternoon: rounds of greek flatbread spread with pesto, then a sprinkling of shredded cheddar & crumbled feta on top. after a few minutes in the oven, they're ready to slice & eat....& they're delectable. supper was stupendous--salmon filets baked in the oven with salt & pepper, dill, lime juice, & white wine. the cooked tortellini was seasoned with pesto & feta. veggies were cooked baby carrots & snow pea pods. patty now makes 2 huge bowlsful of green salad; we consume every bite. for dessert she baked berry/apple cobbler. anyone hoping to lose weight by biking from ocean-to-ocean has given up that goal.
tomorrow is 61 miles, the end of which will even out into flat kansas, our 5th state. it'll be nice to give up hills 'til colorado. tho' many of us are afraid we'll end up trading hills for headwinds.
Higher quality versions of the pictures from my trip are available here. If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, or if you would like text-only versions of these daily reports e-mailed to you, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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