We rolled out of Pittsburgh, Kansas on September 25th. Despite the photo of Rog at the Missouri border sign with a rather flat, boring landscape in the background, the terrain would quickly become more interesting, hills would erupt out of the plains and the fall season began to tap our shoulders.
When I have been involved in the Race Across America (a bicycle race from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland) I am always amazed as the route zigzags through the flat-as-the-eye-can-see cornfield dense terrain of Kansas and we cross the border into Fort Scott, Missouri the hills greet you with a smile. Almost exactly at the border the climbing begins.
Missouri was a changing point:
* change in topography
* change in scenery
* change in attitude (at least that is what my journal is revealing)
The journey finds us in a city park that I have failed to identify. I did tag Jim, Greg1, Greg2, Chris, Kathleen, Polleen, and Susie who are also pedaling through the Show Me State. Five of the group are cycling and two are supporting them via a sag wagon. They are riding for the homeless and are getting a lot of press. We do some chatting and occasional pedaling with the group in the Fairgrove, Missouri region. Noted in said journal was that this may have been the toughest day. Our new friends showed little mercy in regards to carrying no packs/bags and we had our gear buckled in for the whole ride, weighing too much, especially as we pedaled like demons to keep up.
Hills are now frequent and in mass numbers. They are short, thank goodness, but are steep. Would rather have a long, heinous Colorado pass right now. The Ozarks are calling our name. Or are at least laughing at us. It is beautiful and we are stoked. Emminence, MO would offer a wonderful setting and the Rayfield hotel would knock us back, only $13.
My back, for the first time, was beginning to hurt, at times. As shared from the beginning of this adventure I had severely injured my back two weeks before the trip. I could not even ride my bike as the days counted down to the circled day on the calendar (August 31). I would straddle the bike and head east, until Missouri, I had not had a hint of pain or discomfort. No horror stories of intense agony and suffering will greet the reader on this blog. i had serious concern but it would be a non-issue. The pain and physical therapist would surprisingly say hello after the trip. More on that later.
Roger’s journal shares another strong glimpse of life on the back roads of America and the generosity of humans. We had arrived in Fairfield and Roger states that we were wondering about two things. Where do we stay, and what do we eat? An older woman begins to speak to him and eventually she connects us with Dan & Betty who take two travelers into their stead.
Rog also makes a special note on our $13 hotel deal. He reveals that it is a ‘nice hotel’.
My blood sugar has taken a turn for the better.
People are finally turning around their opening comments from the mention that we have a long ways to go to the updated version that we have come a long ways.
A night at Johnson’s State Park and more fog has surrounded or cycling world. We are now leaving the Ozarks and are leaving a tremendous time in Missouri. On to Illinois.