May 6 - 10: Missouri

5/7 - Eminence (70 miles 1237 total)
forget whatever i said yesterday about today being a pleasant sunday spin. i must have misunderstood what phyllis told me her book said about today's route, because it was just plain tough much of the time.
actually, the first 30 miles or so weren't so bad. plenty of rollers, a few steep. breakfast was at a very early 5:30, then most were on the road by 6; sari & i cruised out of pilot knob around 6:20. it was an overcast morning with threat of rain. traffic on the roads was very slight in the morning, in fact most of the day. not too long into the ride i moved another transam turtle from the roadway to the roadside; this afternoon i moved another. that's 5 so far on this trip. again we saw the remains of several that cars found before we did.
sari & i got caught by a short downpour this morning, but soon it quit & the roads dried out. there were winds off & on all day, but usually light & seldom headwinds. i'd say temps were in the mid 60's. it seemed hotter than that most of the time because we were almost always climbing & sweating.
sari & i took a cue from most of the other riders (see photo) & stopped at the 21 diner in centerville, almost 30 miles into today's ride. even the parking lot smelled of bacon, eggs, & pancakes.
half the tiny restaurant was filled with riders.
most were having breakfast items, but when sari & i saw the lengthy list of homemade pies, we knew what we wanted. we both picked out the black walnut pie; i always like getting something i've never had before. it's like a pecan pie, but with black walnut flavor in the filling & toasted black walnuts covering the top. WOW was it good! i had a glass of chocolate milk with it. that seemed like a lot at the time, but the way the next few miles turned out, i'd burned all those calories in the following hour.
people are sneezing & their eyes are running. my bike bag is often coated with pollen. it's allergy season in missouri. it's insect season, too. every time we'd pause this afternoon at the top of a hill or to have a snack, we'd be besieged by gnats. as if this day wasn't frustrating enough!
at one of the subaru stops, half a dozen of us were standing around drinking & snacking when we noticed a large (maybe 4 foot) dark snake in the road about 15 feet ahead of us. despite the fact that 3-4 vehicles ran over the snake as we stood there, it still managed to crawl across the road & into the grass.
the hills of the last 20-25 miles were relentless. our total climb today was 4300 feet.
in the photo you'll see me sighing into the distance with the dreaded steep-hill sign on my right. (notice the new purple water bottles i picked up at that bike store in carbondale. that's my bike in the foreground; i'm standing with sari's bike, which doesn't (yet) have a kickstand.)
that hill happened to be sharply down, but there were plenty of others that rose sharply up, & quite a few that weren't as steep but went up forever & ever. quite a few riders walked up several of the hills; tonight my knees are telling me that i should've followed their lead.
earlier i had my eye on another scene that sari & i stopped to photograph. but no sooner had we brot our bikes to a halt than a german shepherd & another big dog came bounding & barking toward us. we quickly got back on our bikes & sped away. so much for that photo op. even tho' we aren't seeing dogs as often as we did in kentucky, most of us still report 2-3 dog 'incidents' per day.
sari & i pulled into town around 3:45. most riders were already here. everyone (except marcia) agreed that the day was exhausting. the office of our accommodations appears to be the town's laundromat, so many took advantage of that facility to catch up on their wash. we noticed during the last few miles out on the road & especially once we got into eminence that there are pickups pulling horse trailers absolutely everywhere. a fellow in a pickup pulled up to ask if we would run over his horse with our bikes. we told him we'd try not to. he then proceeded to tell about the big horse event in progress in eminence; horse folks from all over the country come here for 7 days of trail riding in the ozarks. i'm glad they'll be using different trails than we will.
shortly after arriving i heard about a soda fountain downtown, & despite the fact that i could hardly bear the idea of biking another inch, jumped onto my bike & headed back about 3/4 mile to find some ice cream. a very young fellow at the soda fountain fixed me a chocolate malt...with chocolate ice cream. i asked him if he would please add some chocolate syrup & he agreed but didn't know which spigot that was. striving to be accommodating, i told him that hot fudge would be just fine ;-> i haven't had a chocolate malt in decades, but that one sure hit the spot. the soda fountain did quite a brisk business with bikers most all afternoon.
lin (right) & phyllis are standing in front of one of the 'shady lane cabins' we're overnighting in at eminence today.
some of us have the 2-story ones that sleep five....very spaciously...& others have smaller, one-story cabins sleeping 2-3. the cabins are equipped with almost everything....except phone lines (so this report will be a day late). tonight's supper was some real comfort food...chicken & dumplings...on a day when we could use some real comfort. along with 2 big green salads, steamed broccoli, &, for dessert, a strawberry pie & pecan pie from a local sweet shop, it was another fantastic meal by patty.
tomorrow's ride will be shorter...42 miles. we hear that the first 17 miles are still very hilly, but after that, things even out. we'll sure appreciate a shorter, flatter day about now.
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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