Archive for the ‘Missouri’ Category
The trip was a success! I completed over 4,263 miles from Yorktown, VA to Portland, OR and then down the coast to San Francisco, CA between May 26, 2009 and August 19, 2009 (86 days). I met many amazing people along the way, pedaled through 13 states, and saw a lot of spectacular scenery. I feel like I’ve now seen some of the United States, but there is still a lot remaining to explore.
The first few states were rather ‘familiar’ as far as scenery goes – I hadn’t been to Kentucky before, but western Kentucky was quite similar to Virginia with a lot of horse farms and open fields. Eastern Kentucky was a little more poverty-stricken and was cluttered with trash on the sides of the roads. The roads were in poor condition with potholes (we had to be very careful to pay attention and not hit one)! I picked up a staple from the road in eastern Kentucky and got my first flat tire. We only briefly saw Illinois (I think we spent 2 days biking through southern Illinois), but we met some really fun people, namely two motorcyclists who invited us to their home to camp outside, grill, and play in the lake. Also, we saw Superman in Metropolis, Illinois, which was off-route and not planned. As it happened, we had bike problems that day and had to hitch-hike 70 miles to a bike shop to get a new chain for George’s bike. Missouri was very humid and the Ozarks were filled with hills.
About 40 miles outside of Springfield, Missouri, my shifter cable broke and I wound up hitching a ride with to a bike shop. For the first time since we left on May 26th, I was in civilization again. Springfield was a large city (from what I could tell), and they had a Chipotle and Starbucks. That was exciting! We pedaled through Missouri in six days and then when we reached Kansas, we switched our sleeping and biking habits. Instead of riding during the day, we rode at night and slept indoors at fire stations, libraries, and churches during the day to avoid the 115-degree heat and humidity. It worked fairly well, except that I biked the entire state of Kansas carrying a viral infection, only to realize it when I entered Colorado.
Just 70 miles east of Pueblo, Colorado in the hamlet of Arlington, I found myself extremely sick and unable to continue pedaling. I stopped and told the guys I couldn’t go any further. This was my last opportunity to find someone who could help me – there were approximately three houses and a few shady trees. I stopped, rested, and when I wasn’t feeling any better, I walked to a house to see if anyone was home who could drive me to a doctor. A nice man, by the name of C.D. Anderson said he’d give me a ride to Ordway, CO (25 miles west). We rode there and the clinic said I needed to get to a hospital, but the next closest one was in Pueblo. He gave me a ride all the way to Pueblo, another 45 miles down the road. There, I admitted myself to the Emergency Room and spent the next five and a half hours receiving saline and anti-nausea medicine. I slept on and off until 6:30 that evening when I was released. Lucky to have distant relatives in the area, they came and picked me up and they took me to their home in Westcliffe, Colorado.
A few days later, thanks to the generosity of a complete stranger, Cindi from Westcliffe, I had a car to borrow and was on my way to visit a friend from college. Unfortunately, I got sick again and at this point was very frustrated, as I didn’t know what was wrong with me. This was the only point in my trip where I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to continue if the virus didn’t get out of my system. I slept and rested for another day or two and then went whitewater rafting (already had reservations made) and then drove to Estes Park to see the beautiful Rocky Mountains and take photos.
I finally got on my bike again almost two weeks after getting sick and was now solo pedaling to meet Chase, my new riding companion, who was a few days ahead of me now. Unexpectedly, I spent a few nights in Salida, Colorado when I met Mike. He showed me around town and then guided me up my first 14er, Mt. Elbert. It was an incredible experience to be on the highest mountain in Colorado and one of the highest in the lower 48 states! After a day of recuperation, I climbed 26 miles up and over the Continental Divide at Monarch Pass at 11,312 feet! There, at the top of the pass, Chase found me and I rode down the other side of the mountain and then hitched a ride back to Pitkin where he and his family had rented a cabin for a few days. We spent a couple days in Pitkin and Ohio City with Chase’s family before we hit the road again on July 14th.
The adventures really picked up once Chase and I met and started riding together – we found ourselves first taking a short-cut from Telluride, CO to Moab, UT in two days and meeting a really nice woman by the name of Lauren. As it turns out, she invited us to have dinner with her (grilled steak and peppers along with pickled asparagus) and sleep in her camper van just outside of Paradox, CO. Then we met Wayne, who gave us a lift from La Sal Junction to Moab and then into Arches National Park, where we toured the park in the afternoon together. It was a great time and nice since Wayne hadn’t had an opportunity to see the park before! After Moab, we rode down to Monticello (I had to pick up mail) and then onward to Hite, UT (Lake Powell). This was one of the worst days (from Blanding to Hite) as the heat was cranked up and the 88-mile stretch without services was brutal. We each carried 1.5 gallons of water and pedaled all day to get to Hite campground.
What would have been a long journey across the deserts of Utah and Nevada turned into a spontaneous adventure where we found ourselves 700 miles north getting dropped off in Yellowstone National Park. We caught a ride with Jack and his 7-year old who were on their family vacation. We were like family for 3 days and it was amazing. We had such a great time! Once we parted from Jack and David, we left to go to West Yellowstone where we ran into five cyclists that Chase last saw and rode with in Missouri! Who knew we’d end up back on the Transamerican Route in Montana weeks later and run into them!
A few more mile of pedaling as we rode through Montana to Missoula where I bumped into my best friend’s ex-husband in a bike shop, saw my last chiropractor of the trip (6th one), got my second (and last) flat tire, and did my last long uphill climb (before reaching the coast) of 46 miles over Lolo Pass into Idaho! Just into Idaho, we met a great family from Frederick, Maryland who invited us to eat dinner and camp with them. Thanks again to nice people, we camped with a couple from British Columbia at a campground in Washington, camped on someone’s front porch in Walla Walla, Washington, and found ourselves chased out of a campground after we spotted three large snakes within five minutes. Needless to say, we camped on the side of the road that night only six miles from the campground, as we were exhausted from riding 106 miles in the blazing heat with headwinds!
Finally into Oregon, we were excited to reach Portland. However, it wasn’t over yet! We hit horrible headwinds in Columbia River Gorge (apparently the windsurfing capital of the world), yet no one gave us a heads up about this! We battled the headwinds for about 100 miles or so (on and off with the intensity), but once we were within 150 miles of Portland, the winds picked up even more! Chase wasn’t enjoying it. Nor was I. We agreed to hitch a ride the last 90 miles into Portland so we wouldn’t pedal away for two more days to get there. Instead, we wanted to enjoy seeing Portland before having to continue down the coast (or in Chase’s case, before he had to fly home).
On August 9th, we reached the Pacific Coast at Cannon Beach, Oregon. I had 3,570 miles at this point. Our last evening of the ride (coast to coast), we camped in a city park as all the campgrounds were full and the motels/hotels were all booked. To make our story more fun, we camped illegally (in a city park, as there was nowhere else to go) and the next morning the police came at 5:55am asking us to leave.
The last leg of the trip, I rode solo down the coast from Nescowin, OR to San Francisco, CA. I met a lot of really nice people along the way and rode with several groups of riders as well. I met four motorcyclists from Victoria, British Columbia in Bandon, OR and then we reunited again in Brookings, OR the next day, 100 miles later. It was fun to see the same faces again on several occasions and we really had a great time exchanging stories and hanging out at the campsites together.
At last, I reached San Francisco on August 19th at six o’clock in the evening after riding my final 72 miles. From August 19th until August 25th, I spent the time in San Francisco sampling some of the most delicious ethnic food while hanging out with one of my best friends — Iman, who flew from the east coast to meet me! On August 25th, we departed on a train back across the country. Again we met many interesting people, including Thane and Brenda of Sioux Falls and the friendly Amtrak staff. My arrival into DC was mixed – the trip was officially over and I would have to re-acclimate to life back home and return to my full-time desk job.
Sunday, June 21st: Ash Grove, MO to Pittsburg, Kansas
Today we woke up around 6:15 to a nice morning – with a nice breeze, cooler air and the sun starting to peek over the trees into the city park. I slept well, just not enough. I need to get to bed earlier and stop trying to keep up with the website and blog – it’s so time consuming.
Anyway, I woke up, started packing things and then made hot water for oatmeal for all of us. We put bananas in the oatmeal and I had some chocolate covered raisinets that I bought yesterday, but that melted. So I chopped up the raisinets and we put those in the oatmeal too with the bananas. It tasted a lot like a banana boat you can do in a camp fire. It was yummy. Chris then went to Roberts Supermarket and bought some chocolate donuts and chocolate milk. I wasn’t planning to eat any, but they both couldn’t finish their 3rd donut for each of them, so I had to take care of that and eat 2 donuts (in addition to the banana + oatmeal with banana and chocolate + finishing my 1/2 gallon of OJ). We met a nice lady (Marilyn) who was out with her dog this morning and she stopped to chat and told us she lived in California for 17 years and loved it and would love to go back, but she lost everything in an earthquake years ago and moved back to the Missouri area. She had heard of couchsurfing.com and was very interesting in hearing about our trip and everything, so we talked for a little bit and then finished packing up and getting ready for the day.
We rolled out just after 9am and started on towards Everton, where we thought we could replenish water. Apparently nothing was actually in Everton, but we were still fine on water. We had a good number of smallish up and downs in the terrain. And about 20 miles or so from Golden Ciity things started to flatten out and the wind really picked up. We had a southwest wind coming at us as we were heading west, so it was difficult riding, not to mention the really rough pavement in some areas.
We arrived to Golden City, where I’d read online about a pie shop (from Greg’s blog). Sure enough, it was there – and we stopped and had lunch. I got a ham sandwich which was really good with some scalloped potatoes and of course pie for dessert. I started out with strawberry pie and still wasn’t full so split a piece of coconut cream pie with Chris.
That satisfied me and then we headed out for Pittsburg shortly after 3pm. We had a bit over 33 miles to go and the wind was really strong and a headwind/sidewind still. It was slow going and monotonous to the point where your eyes would start to feel tired and sleepy and you had to make sure to stay awake and not go off the road. Luckily we rotated a bit (more the guys than me) – I was really not enjoying the wind and knew if I was leading, we’d be going even slower… so they rotated a bit leading and kept the pace up around 13-17mph into headwinds which was really good. We stopped at the last gas station in Missouri hoping to find ice cream to celebrate leaving Missouri, but were disappointed as they didn’t have any. We then stopped and took more mandatory “Welcome to Kansas” photos, but their sign was a bit puny and not very exciting.
A little while later, about 3-4 miles and we were in Pittsburg. We first went in search of a park where we could camp and came across Lincoln Park, but were greeted by friendly people in the sports complex who offered up free hamburgs and hot dogs along with a gatorade. They were just finishing shutting down from the weekend’s events of a softball tournament and had left over food. So Chris and I went for a hamburg and hot dog each as well as a gatorade.
I then called over to the Fire Department to ask if they knew of any place where we might be able to store our belongings on our rest day and had mentioned that we’d stayed at fire houses before. The chief, Scott, was really friendly and said for us to come on down and he’d figure something out. Needless to say, he figured it out really fast and hooked us up. He was waiting for us and welcomed us as we rode in.
He showed us where we’d sleep, do laundry, eat, that we had wi-fi and computer access if we wanted. He really showed us everything and we really have no reason to leave tomorrow except to go see a movie, pick up mail, and restock things from Walmart! HAHA. It is great here. We all had spaghetti and salad for dinner (yes, on top of a hamburg and hot dog)… and then a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream. And more orange juice – love it! It’s been great and the firemen and chief are all really cool and friendly, but they’ll be switching out with a different crew around 6-7am in the morning, so we won’t see them again.
Anyway, so today wasn’t too bad – aside from all the wind which was frustrating. That, and I think my lips are finally burned – I had to use chapstick for the first time today during the entire trip, but I think it was too late and they were already burned from either sun or wind. I’m not sure yet. I also got a bit of sun on my face, but not burned or anything. I’ve been using sunscreen two or three times a day to keep from getting burned – instead I just have lovely tan lines … haha!
So tomorrow’s a rest day for us here in Pittsburg which is going to be very nice!
06:23 moving time
11.2 avg speed
33.5 max speed
06:21:19 moving time
11.4 avg speed
34.0 max speed
Snake count: 2
Dog chases: 0, but met two really friendly labs when we stopped at a house to refill water bottles (no one was home except for the labs). George uploaded vidoes of the dogs to his youtube.
Posted by Kiki | Missouri | Posted on June 20th, 2009
Saturday, June 20th: Hartville, MO to Ash Grove, MO
Today was a bit different – again. We got up and headed out after breakfast (the guys went down to this little restaurant and had eggs and cheese and I cooked oatmeal). We headed out around 8:50 in the morning and started the climbing slowly. It wasn’t fun exactly. I think we were all dreading riding this morning – we all felt pretty slow. Only 15 miles in and things took a bit of a turn for me. I had just finished pedaling up a hill when my right shifter cable (rear derailleur) snapped. It broke completely and I was stuck in the highest gear in the back. I pulled over and looked at the bike trying to see what I might be able to do. A man from across the street saw us stop and came out to see what was up and all. We talked for a bit and contemplated what to do. I could either attempt to ride with only three gears to shift between (the front crank) and leave it in the highest in the back. I called a bike shop in Springfield, Missouri (about 40-45 miles from where my cable broke) and got a hold of a bike shop that was open till 6pm. I was about to continue biking and then Glen’s wife (the man who came out and talked to us) came home from grocery shopping. She offered to give me a ride to Springfield which was really nice. So she got the pickup truck out and I loaded my bike and gear up and then we headed for Springfield.
We chatted a bit and she told me all about the Amish people in the area and the differences between Amish and Mennonites. Apparently Mennonites can drive (but it must be a dark-colored vehicle, like black) and they can use electricity (by means of a generator). However, the Amish don’t use cars or generators and only use a car in extreme emergencies. They will ask others for rides though, but will not have their own cars. Also, the Amish have weddings on Thursdays and the wife (Robyn) who drove me said she’d been invited to a few pre-wedding events, but hasn’t been able to make any weddings since they’re always on Thursdays when she’d normally have to work.
We got to the Springfield Bicycle Company shop just around noon and she dropped me off and I headed on in with my sad little bike. They were really friendly at the shop and they fixed it all up and made it work great. I got a new chain, they fixed the shifter and put on a new cable and all, cleaned the cassette a little and adjusted brakes a bit to make them a little tighter and not squeak too horribly. It seems to be running great now and I hope it’ll stay that way for a while! While the bike was being worked on I went to grab lunch at Chipotle and then walked over to Walmart to pick up some gatorade and a little sweet stuff (sour gummi worms and raisinets to snack on later). I then walked back to the bike shop and picked up my bike and rolled out shortly after 3pm as I had 25 miles to go. I figured the guys might be close to reaching Ash Grove (they couldn’t get a ride with me to Springfield – not enough room), so they biked the full 75 miles today. Apparently, it was the worst day – the hilliest day and just plain ole awful, so I’m glad I missed it and had bike problems instead! My bike must have known I didn’t want to deal with more hills today, so that was a relief for me. I still did a good 40 miles today though, so that counts for something!
Once leaving Springfield, it was flat almost all the way to Ash Grove. Just a couple miles out and I started hitting some rolling hills and was happy to see Ash Grove when I arrived a little bit later. I pulled in around 5:45 and stopped at the gas station and saw Michael and Collin there (they had just gotten there as well). A nice man at the gas station was happy to see us and chat and then asked us if we’d ever seen rope be made before. I had seen it before, but neither of the guys had. So he pulled out his rolls of twine and started showing us how he makes rope which was neat. Then I bought some Heet (for my alcohol stove) and headed over to the Ash Grove City Park to set up camp. I set up my tent and everything and started unpacking and then went to shower (they have some cold showers here at the park which is nice). They also have a swimming pool, track, and some playground stuff here. So it’s not a bad park – and electricity and water right next to our little pavilion where we have camped out.
I went to Robert’s Grocery store and picked up some stir fry and bananas. I heated up my stir fry for dinner and am going to have bananas in the morning in my oatmeal. So dinner was pretty yummy and hopefully lunch will be as well.
For now, I’m going to have to call it a night – we’ll be in Kansas tomorrow night – woohoo!
GPS Stats: (includes the time/distance I was driven to Springfield, Missouri)
04:22 moving time
82.0 max speed
19.4 avg speed
03:23:13 moving time
37.5 max speed
11.9 avg speed
Snake count: 2
Dog chases: 0
Dead Armadillo: 8
Aches/Pains: not too bad – just the slight achy pain in my back, but probably sore muscles around the area that’s having to be adjusted by chiropractors.
Just a few random thoughts… I keep forgetting to actually mention or write down. I always think of stuff when I’m riding and forget later on in the day.
- lots of rolling hills
- nice scenery and houses
- lots of horses and cows
- friendly people, however, the drivers aren’t as respectful of cyclists as elsewhere
- cowtails are easy to find in southern / southwestern VA (a candy called Cowtails)
- the Appalachian Mountains are pretty significant when you cross them on a bike. I think we have done the hardest climbs possibly for this entire trip. We’ll see though:)
- lots of dead snakes
- there are lots of dogs in eastern Kentucky
- the poverty level in eastern Kentucky is incredible
- the roads are in bad shape – in particular in the eastern part. There are lots of huge gaping holes in the sides of roads and no guard rails
- they use ripple strips on the sides of all the roads in Kentucky. You know, like on the side of I-66, those ripple things are on all the roads in Kentucky. It’s useful, I guess, but sucks if you’re a cyclist and the road is really busy and you want to ride on the shoulder and there’s no “ripple-free” space.
- it’s also very similar to Virginia and scenic in the western part of Kentucky. More horses and cows in that part and fewer dogs.
- it seems in the eastern part of Kentucky, people have dogs as “guard animals” whereas in the western part, dogs are more like family members and pets.
- motorists seem to be a little more patient with cyclists and slow down more than those in Virginia.
- there are some rolling hills here, also straight roads. We drafted for 18 miles on a straight road – it had a few curves and a few bumps in the road, but otherwise it was pretty straight.
- the people seem friendly (from what we saw) – we had great people welcome us to camp at their place, and another great experience was staying at Rachel’s (who Ben from Warm Showers contacted, even though she wasn’t a member). We only spent 2 or so days in Illinois so it’s hard to say what the rest of Illinois might be like, but my opinion and impression was good. I would go back.
- lots of corn fields
- the drivers aren’t as courteous with cyclists on the road. They sometimes honk at you if you’re biking slowly up a hill.
- one day, I think I smelled stinky skunks on 5 different occasions.
- people seem friendly, but I have yet to have an amazing experience with anyone in particular from Missouri. I think one of the most friendly people thus far was Chuck (from Indiana) who I met the other night. Otherwise, I haven’t had much contact with the folk from Missouri. Although my latest chiropractor seemed really cool and friendly along with his staff in the office. They were all interested in my bike trip and asking lots of questions.
- there are a few dogs here, but not nearly as many as in Kentucky.
- the heat is the worst part of Missouri.
- it’s a scenic state with rolling hills, lots of farmland and horses and cows out in the pastures.
- in Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri I’ve noticed there are lots of what appear to be wild orange lilies growing on the side of the roads. I see them everywhere.
- lots of dead turtles here, fewer dead snakes, and fewer dog chases!
I have never in my life seen so much road kill until this trip. I should have tried to keep track, but then again, I think I would have gone insane… there is so much!
I saw a dead armadillo today on the side of the road – I think the first armadillo I’ve seen in real life outside of a zoo, and it had to be dead :/
Animals spotted on this trip thus far:
- Squirrels (duh!)
- Birds everywhere (duh!)
- Deer (almost ran into one at night when biking back from the library)
- Dogs (everywhere)
- Cats (several houses with multiple cats hanging out – like 14+)
- and more that I’m probably forgetting
Speaking of which, there’s a cat just on the paved path in front of the courthouse right now. Looks like he’s grooming himself. I’d go pet him, but then again, I don’t want him becoming attached and coming and curling up inside my tent all night. He’s curious and cute looking – black and white
Posted by Kiki | Missouri | Posted on June 19th, 2009
Friday, June 19th – Eminence, MO to Hartville, MO
I got up at 5:30 this morning, left camp at 6:45-7:00 and started biking to Houston. The guys were going to leave whenever they usually do and then meet me in Houston most likely. I was trying to get here to see a chiropractor as my back’s killing me already again… I have an appointment at 2pm here in Houston and hopefully that’ll help. I am trying to see if 2 visits in one week will help with getting my back in alignment and fix things better. I may try for another appointment in Pittsburg, Kansas on Monday.
The ride here was tiresome – especially the portion from Eminence to Summersville, seemed like a couple good sized hills and I was dripping wet with sweat! I thought I’d end up being slower riding by myself, but my average thus far has been around 10.9 mph, which is better than our average yesterday. So I guess I didn’t do too horrible for riding by myself. I got a voicemail from the doctor saying he had a 10:15 appointment, but I couldtimen’t get here in time. It was 43 miles from Eminence to Houston, and I seemed to have headwinds the entire way and the road sucked…lots of truck traffic. Everytime an oncoming truck came, I felt like I was going to blow off the road and my solar panel would flip up and catch the wind from the truck. It wasn’t fun. I did stop a few times when I felt like taking photos which was nice – I actually used my SLR too, woohoo! I washed a couple things this morning with cold water and hung them on the back of my bike to dry while biking – and they’re dry:) If I had time now, I’d wash my jersey but I doubt I’ll have time… it’s blazing hot again today.. probably 90 or so.
Anyway, gotta pack up (sitting here at the public library) – I just wanted to get some updates online as well as the GPS tracks uploaded… they’re up to date to this very second and will be out of date as soon as I’m done with my chiropractor visit:)
Additional edit as of 10pm:
So we arrived to Hartville tonight which was nice – today was our second longest day of our journey. Our first day was 88 miles, today was 83 miles. We also had a fair number of hills and a few steep climbs this morning.
Anyway, in Houston I saw Dr. Womack, a chiropractor. He was very friendly and cool and I am hoping his adjustments will help me and I’m hoping to be able to go to another chiropractor in Pittsburg, Kansas on Monday and hope that by making more frequent adjustments, I may be better off. We’ll see. It’s definitely not cheap and adding up relatively fast, but I’d rather get the chiropractor visits and the relief of pain for a little while than not. The pain is pretty excrutiating and really affects my riding … the 4-5 days I didn’t have any pain were great. I rode so much better and enjoyed it a lot more. Now I just have to make it another 2/3rds of the way across the country hopefully with less pain. So far my best chiropractor visit with good post-chiropractor results has been the one from Berea, Kentucky.
I am hoping the adjustment I had today will help, but I’ll only know in a day or two when I see how my back feels. After I finished up at the chiropractor’s, I went and found Chris and George at KFCs and then I ran to Walmart to get cash back and gatorade and an ice cream sandwich. Met back up with the guys and we headed out for our last 38 miles around 3:30 today. It wasn’t too bad of terrain – just rolling hills, nothing too hard or anything. But it was near the end of the day and nonetheless a little tiresome, I guess. We stopped in Bendavis to refill water (the convenience store was closed since 5pm had passed), but luckily a hose was out front, so we refilled with that. We then had 23 miles to go until we reached Hartville. Somehow, today (even though it wasn’t quite as hot or humid as the past two days), I put away 8 water bottles (24 ounces each), plus 48 ounces of additional liquid (gatorade and more water)… and barely had to pee today. DAMN is all I have to say. How can I drink so much and sweat out so much? Maybe that’ll give you an idea of what kind of weather we’re dealing with… it’s really hot, but at least this afternoon anyway (not really this morning) had more dry heat than humidity.
So we arrived around 7:30pm or shortly after to Hartville, set up camp in front of the Courthouse (allowed camping here), cleaned off a bit in the bathrooms…and went to dinner at this restaurant down the hill. I had pork BBQ and a massive thing of salad (various types of salads) and then we went to Subway and each got a chocolate chip cookie.. Mine was the best though because I always have them microwave it slightly:) I sat inside Subway until they closed at 10pm typing up the rest of this stuff, transferring photos, and all of that good stuff.
Now I’m inside the tent typing the rest and using the wireless from the public library (also inside the same building as the courthouse and police department). How convenient is that?
Another long day ahead for tomorrow – 79 miles… so guess I better get a little shut eye.
07:36 moving time
42.6 max speed
10.8 avg speed
07:30:52 moving time
11.1 avg speed
44.0 max speed
Snake count: 2
Dog chases: 1 (yeah, I stopped to drink water and I think the people didn’t like that, so they let out their three dogs to chase me)… I luckily escaped. Just as I stopped carrying my Dog Pepper Spray in my handlebar bag (since we’re out of Kentucky, less dogs), but there are still a few…
Posted by Kiki | Missouri | Posted on June 18th, 2009
Thursday, June 18th – Kyle’s Campground, MO to Eminence, MO
Another blazing day… lots of ups and downs today – worst day in the Ozarks, I think. The next three days will be hilly, but not as much in the way of huge hills up and down. We got up earlier this morning – I woke up at 5:45, the guys started getting up shortly after 6am. We left camp at 8:30 and were a bit faster this morning in getting going and were about 32 miles into the day’s ride when we stopped for lunch. We ate at Spooner’s, a family owned restaurant… fast-food though. It was decent… I had a BLT on wheat bread which was good and stuffed my face with marshmallow pinwheel things from the Dollar general. Just had a craving for those for some reason. We went back to Dollar General afterwards to use their bathroom and stretch, reapply sunscreen, etc.
We got rolling on the bikes again around 1:45 or so and had a really slow 27 miles of rolling hills and some steep climbs (about 4-5, I think). We didn’t have any gas stations for 27 miles and knew we’d have to replenish water. Luckily half way to Eminence there was The Current River, so we stopped there and Chris brought his water filter with him and we pumped water from the river and refilled water bottles, cooled off in river, and about an hour later continued on the trek towards Summersville. We had hoped to reach Summersville for the night, but got to Eminence just after 6pm and decided it’d be better to call it a day and try to reach Hartville tomorrow (85 miles or so). We camped at Arrowhead campground for $5/person plus $0.50/shower and the guys went off to eat and I cooked beans and rice for dinner and then went and got ice cream.
At the ice cream (dairy bar), there was a huge church group from Indianapolis. A couple of the leaders were curious as to where I was biking and started chatting with me. One guy, Chuck, was very interested in our trip and says it’s his dream to bike across the country. I gave him my website address and he says he’ll follow our journey. Meanwhile, I had a cookie dough avalance and then went back to the camp, called it a night and crashed at 10pm… granted, it was still very hot and humid and made falling asleep nearly impossible. I haven’t sleep in my sleeping bag for nights now… always on top or not near me at all. I can’t wait for cooler weather in Colorado!
05:36 moving time
10.5 avg speed
46.5 mav speed
05:32:53 moving time
10.8 avg speed
47.0 max speed
Snake count: 1
Dog chases: 0
Posted by Kiki | Missouri | Posted on June 17th, 2009
Wednesday, June 17th – St. Mary, MO to Kyle’s Campground, MO
Today would fall into the worst day of the trip thus far. I got up at 7:30, packed up and the guys went to get breakfast. I decided to cook oatmeal and add some fresh dates to it which was yummy. We finally departed about 10:30 after stocking up on gatorade/powerade at the gas station. It was blazing hot already – probably 90-95 by 10:30 in the morning and it was only going to be like that ALL day long. It was miserable and we had lots of hills (which normally probably wouldn’t be so bad), but since the heat they were even worse. We biked SLOWLY the entire day and the day dragged on and on with the heat. We were drinking like fish and having to replenish often. We stopped at someone’s house to see about getting water – they weren’t home. So we helped ourselves and filled up our bottles and they had a sprinkler out in the yard, so we all cooled off with that for a little bit. It was refreshing for about 0.3 seconds and then we were hot again and sweating like crazy.
It’s bad when you sweat all day long and you still don’t have to pee – no matter how much you’re drinking. I felt like I sweat every ounce of liquid out of my body – it was awful. I felt drained from the heat… this was our worst day of heat and hills (hills not nearly as bad as previous ones, but the heat combined made me crawl up them). We’re in the Ozarks now and tomorrow will be even worse as far as the hills are concerned – more ups and downs and some steep(ish) climbs.
About 23 miles into the day, we stopped at this brewery along the road/route and the guys (Michael and Colllin – the JMU guys) were there. They were sampling beer. We just went in for some cool air and to find some food but they didn’t have much. Chris had a sandwich, George had a salad. I had a cold sunkist and a bag of Mama Zuma’s red hot firey chips (by Route 11)…they were firey alright. We then rolled out about an hour or more later… finally got to Farmington, around 10-12 miles further down the road. We stopped at Hunt’s Dairy bar and got milkshakes. I had a raspberry milkshake (really good), George had peanut butter cup, and Chris had a strawberry shake. That may been the highlight of the day. We called the campgrounds and found out Johnson Shut-ins wasn’t open for camping (renovations or something going on), and so we were going to Kyle’s campground about 5 miles before Johnson Shut-ins.
We kept on going in the heat and finally arrived to the campground after lots of climbing but ending the day with about 5 miles of downhill, which was nice… we got there just about 8pm, I think… set up camp, showered with cold-outdoor showers (but they were nice and refreshing!) and a frog joined me in my side of the shower… he couldn’t find his way out. LOL. We went into the bar (nice and smoky…yuck) and ordered food. I just got a 12″ pizza (the kind you buy at the grocery store frozen) … they just throw them in the oven and charge you $7… haha. Whatever, it was tasty and I ate all but one piece, that’s how hungry I was. Finally went to sleep around 10:30, because they had to heat each of our meals individually because they only have one oven apparently.
Tomorrow’s going to be another super hot day!
06:23 moving time
10.9 avg speed
37.7 mav speed
11.2 avg speed
38.5 max speed
Snake count: 6
Dog chases: 0
Tuesday, June 16th: Carbondale, IL to St. Mary’s, MO
Woke up rather late this morning compared to normal – got up about 7:30 and slowly the guys started waking up. Last night Rachel met two more cyclists who ventured into the Long Branch cafe where she works. She offered to let them stay at her house as well and they showed up around midnight and then everyone was talking, hanging out, listening to music and such. I was pretty tired and just wanted to sleep especially knowing we’d be back on the bikes in the morning. Finally, sometime around 1:30 I fell asleep. I then woke up again around 3, I think and saw Rachel and Colin were still up out on the porch. I luckily fell back to sleep again. Woke up again probably sometime between 4-6am to see/hear the thunderstorm/lightening going on outside – looked like a pretty big thunderstorm. No one else woke up during the night to the storm…
But anyway, the two other cyclists were Michael and Colin, two music students who just graduated from JMU (one from undergrad, the other from graduate). Michael just finished his graduate degree and plays the piano and says he’s planning to stick around Harrisonburg for another year. Colin did his undergraduate in classical guitar, I believe. They’re biking to Oregon and seem to be enjoying their trip thus far and doing some detours and such when they feel like it.
Anyway, so a late start was had. George made us omelettes this morning which were good; I went to the co-op to go online and find a post office further down the route so Mom can mail my insurance card to me. So I found a post office in Pittsburg, Kansas where she’ll mail me my card. We’re aiming to be there no later than Sunday evening and I think we should be able to make it by then with a few good days of biking. We’ll probably take a half-rest day then and do laundry and such again, I imagine.
We rolled out from Rachel’s about 10:30 this morning and the clouds were rolling in and thunder was making its presence known. We were probably riding no more than 10 minutes before the rain set in and it rained the entire way to Murphysboro (about 6-7 miles from Carbondale). We rolled in and I stopped to put away my solar panel in one of my bags since it was useless at this point, so I was just going to use the battery from the panel. No more than a minute or two later and it started to really storm – really dark skies, torrential downpour of rain and loud thunder and lightening. We had taken cover under an overhang at a Citgo gas station and probably stayed there for 30 minutes or so. During this time I was beginning to feel the pain in my back again and it was very painful and uncomfortable. Any movement hurt – stretching and bending, etc. I went into the gas station and asked if there was a chiropractor in the town – the lady knew of one, so I went in search once the rain let up and the storm had passed. The guys went to the library while I went to a chiropractor and luckily was able to be seen within 30 minutes and on a walk-in basis. The doctor readjusted my back and did a small neck adjustment and I am already feeling better thank goodness. It looks like I’ll have to go to a chiropractor at least once a week to make it thru this trip without going insane with all the lower back pain. It’s really frustrating because I think it’d get better if I could go regularly two or three times a week and get the adjustments, but the major towns/cities are so far apart that I really don’t/won’t get the opportunity to even do that. Anyway, for now, I’m feeling much better and am going to continue the stretching and exercises I’ve learned from the past three chiropractors thus far.
I guess my new goal can be to see a chiropractor in every state along the course of route and just see how they are all different and what not. Each experience has been quite different. Today’s visit was more like the chiropractor visits I have had back home with Dr. Anna – just adjust and move on. I kinda want a deep tissue massage though – I think that’d definitely feel good on my back. Anyway, the chiropractor today said that most likely my pain is resulting from an imbalance of muscles and my hips are rotating in different directions and it’s causing some sort of pull in the back muscles, which causes the horrible pain.
Anyway, the day was a bit slow to begin – I left the chiropractor’s at 12:30 and went to meet the guys at the library. We then went to Diary Queen for lunch and then left Murphysboro at 1:30 (only 7.5 miles into the day’s mileage). We had to try and ride 55-60 miles after lunch. The day went pretty well, but for some reason right after lunch I felt really sleepy – my eyes kept wanting to close, but I had to stay awake while biking. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one that felt sleepy – George did too. It was weird, but we stopped about 23 miles into the day at a gas station in Ava and got ice cream and refilled water bottles. We continued on biking and the roads were slightly rolling and had a few bends/turns to them. In the last town in Illinois before crossing the Mississippi River, Chester, we saw Popeye the Sailor Man’s statue. We stopped there and took a few photos as well as faked our “Welcome to Illionois” photos since we couldn’t get any when we entered Illinois the other day (we were driven across the border because the bridge was not good for cyclists to ride on).
I played around and took some video as we crossed the bridge to Missouri and then we stopped again for the mandatory “Welcome to…” signs that we reach at each state. We also had to get ice cream again. It was then where we stopped that we met another cyclist, Lawrence. He was biking from Manhattan, Kanasas to his hometown somewhere in Kentucky. He’s doing the transamerican trail in sections since he can’t get all the time off from work at once, so he does 2 weeks each year. At this point, we were 19 miles from Ozora, where we were planning to overnight (camp). We had a good pace going, about 17-18mph and were covering ground quite well. The roads were extremely straight and you could see for miles – it was weird. Also, the roads here are named using the alphabet, like “Hwy H” or “Hwy K” which I find a bit odd, but kind fo cool since it’s different.
We rolled into St. Mary’s (8 miles from Ozora) and decided to look for a place to camp here. There wasn’t much of anything here – one little bar/restaurant open and that was it. We went up to this church and were lucky enough to have talked to a member of the church across the street (asking if we could camp in his yard). He said he could do better than that and said we could sleep in a hall in the church, so he grabbed a key and unlocked it for us and is letting us stay here. It’s definitely nice to not have to worry about setting up the tent and just being able to stay dry and such. Once we got settled in, George and I walked down the bar/restaurant to order some burgers/fries to bring back to the church. Chris waited here since we didn’t have a key to get back in. We ate, cleaned up, and are now all about to hit the sack for the night.
04:50 moving time
11.9 avg speed
40.6 max speed
04:50:03 moving time
12.2 avg speed
42.0 max speed
Snake count: 1 dead
Dog chases: 0, but saw the cutest yellow lab puppy tonight – the cutest!