May 6 - 10: Missouri

5/9 - Marshfield (69 miles 1279 total)
we fixed our sandwiches in the shadows this morning in the motel parking lot & had breakfast indoors in the motel's reception area. some bikers started off before 6 in hopes of beating the rains that were forecast for today. the sky was dark & the clouds were rolling all around. no one had any wild notions that she'd stay dry the whole ride.
we breezed along easily the first 20 miles. the roads were very narrow again, usually with no shoulders, but the traffic was minimal. a little later in the day traffic picked up in some places....pickups, lumber trucks, & quite a few garbage trucks, but most of the day wasn't too bad traffic-wise.
sari & i were daydreaming & missed the first turn. fortunately gerrie had also missed the turn & was heading back when we came upon her. if we hadn't seen gerrie i don't know how far down the wrong road we would've gone. we 3 got ourselves reoriented & headed down the right road.
near the end of those first 20 miles sari & i noticed that the western sky was looking very dark, with some lightning punctuating the clouds. we decided to stop & take shelter & were lucky enuf to spot a smallish machine shed not too far from the road. we put our bikes in there, then sari went to the house to check with the residents, but no one was home. 10 minutes later as the rains started to fall we saw gerrie stop on the road nearby to put on her rain jacket & we motioned her into the shed to join us. not long after that the sky opened up & the torrents fell. it was really pretty neat listening to the raindrops on the shed's metal roof.
there in the machine shed was a vehicle we never would have expected to find in a missouri farmyard.
you'll see in the photo that gerrie & i have found a much easier way to get to oregon.
2 or 3 more torrents fell before the shower let up & we ventured out onto the road again. not long after we left the shed, linda in the subaru came back to check on us. she brot us each a whole grain oatmeal scone. jessica morris had baked them fresh, then the morrises set up a little refreshment stand for the bikers along the route this morning....with lemonade & encouraging road signs. the morrises had left their stand by the time we 3 tail-enders pedalled by, but we sure enjoyed the scones. thanks again to the morrises--phyllis' family--for providing us such wonderful treats.
the next photo gives you a feel for some of the terrain around here.
that's sari nearing the top of another one of those killer ozark hills, tho' we didn't encounter many of them today. notice the lush trees & other greenery all over the countryside.
i saw quite a few dairy farms today, several with pastures-ful of holstein cows (my favorite bovines).
at 40 miles we came upon the ONLY town on today's 65-mi route.....hartville. the bikers had been by earlier & stopped at a local cafe, but were gone by the time we hit town. sari & i decided to visit the conoco convenience store instead...for the restrooms & some ice cream. the woman hand-dipped our ice cream & boy did she pile it on. it was hard to balance it on top of the cone part. sari & i couldn't even put down the cones to pay for them, so had to pay after we were done. those things were huge. gave us the energy to go out again & face the weather.
we had almost gotten out of town when the sprinkles got heavier. we stopped to put on more rain gear & before long the rain was steady & heavier, but it lasted less than 4 miles & less than 20 mins. after that the only time it rained it was sort of a heavy mist...not terrible by any means. from what we hear tonight, most bikers--the ones who rushed ahead today to beat the storm--got lots wetter than we did at the back of the pack.
oh, the transam turtle tally: it's up to 10. yesterday i moved just one turtle....a smaller one that was lying on its back near the center line. i never saw any sign of its legs, tail, or head, but at least it wasn't squished. today i moved 4....& saw lots more pieces of turtles that didn't get moved in time. i also saw a huge turtle walk across the road. his shell alone was a foot long & his legs were so big & strong that he moved himself across the road quite speedily with his shell a good 2 inches above the road surface. his meaty tail looked like a lizard's & was probably 5 inches long. i wanted to take his picture so followed him into the high grass on the side of the road, but he turned around & shot his snapping snout out at me. so much for that photo op. we saw 2 dead armadillos along the road today, too. i thot missouri was too far north for those creatures.
at about 20 mi out of marshfield we came upon the subaru. in it were 3 riders who were sagging in; their bikes were on top. sari & i stopped to snack & get some water, then kept riding. the rest of the way got a little wet once in a while but never soaking. the winds were pretty strong sometimes & sometimes right in our faces, but with biking like so many other worthwhile undertakings, the adversity only adds to the adventure. sari & i seem to enjoy making our way along the route no matter what. gerrie has accused us of having way too much fun on this bike tour; guess we can't deny that.
sari & i were the last riders into the motel, arriving around 3:15. we cleaned up our bikes, then found our rooms & cleaned up ourselves. patty took a well-earned break from cooking tonight, so we all walked down the road to a local restaurant for supper. on the way back some of us found the dairy queen for dessert.
in the photo from left are barbara, anne, sarah, deanna, patty the chef, debby, & marcia. this was marcia's first DQ blizzard ..... quite a momentous day in the life of any veteran biker.
our ride tomorrow is shorter---52 mi. gloria says it'll be relatively flat at first, with more hills later in the day. but it sounds as though the weather will be nice....70's & dry. tomorrow night we stay at a large house in a tiny town. there are 2 showers & a 50-gallon hot water tank. that setup will provide us another clean-up challenge.
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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