Charleston Already… Missouri

Day 24, April 24

Charleston Already?
Shortly after leaving Sikeston, MO, I arrived in Charleston… oops… Missouri (NOT South Carolina).  Rats!  Oh well.  Onward!

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Oops… Charleston, Missouri

Better Route
I have decided to follow the Google (Bike) Map instead of the Adventure Cycle route.  This seems to put me on a more direct (and less hilly) SE route.  At the intersection of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, I crossed into the corner of Illinois near a town called Cairo.

Another Traffic Stop

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Officer Damon Ray in Illinois

Near Cairo IL, I was stopped (AGAIN) by a policeman.  Officer Damon Ray was amazing!  We discussed my “mission” and he proceeded to set up a photo with his squard car (lights on) and my bike.  He also took a selfie of us and posted it to Facebook as we talked.  He posted some nice things as he shared the photo with our daughter Melissa.  I was deeply touched by Officer Ray’s post, but particularly by Melissa’s response.

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Very touching!

Goodbye Illinois, Hello Kentucky!
I crossed over the Ohio River on a very long bridge into Kentucky.  And the hills began to roll once again!

Mayfield, KY
I made it to Mayfield KY where a policeman informed me that there was no camping there, as everyone goes to “the lake.”  (He was referring to Kentucky Lake, which is quite a bit east of here.)  I wound up at the Super 8.

Statistics: 67.5 miles, Max 32.0 mph, Time 6:02, Average 10.9 mph

MO Better

Day 23, April 23

This turned out to be a day of rest for me.  I hung out with my host family from last night (Randy, Sandy and kids), and enjoyed my day with them very much!

Randy is very familiar with the highways in the area, and helped me to determine a better route for the trip.  The Adventure Cycle route across Missouri is riddled with “monster climbs.” Randy suggested that I switch my route to Hwy 60, which would flatten out my ride quite a bit.

The family took me on a road trip through the Ozarks.  We wound up in Sikeston for dinner, afterwhich they delivered me to the Town and Country RV Park to set up camp for tonight.  It was a delightful day!

Many thanks to Randy and Sandy and their family for providing me with a much needed day of rest and fellowship.  To borrow from my son Eric’s quip: I feel “MO better!”

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A fun day with Randy, Sandy & Lily!

Missouri Misery

Day 22, April 22

I started today’s ride early, about 6:40 am.  It was nice for about 10 miles, and then I met up with the Ozark Mountains. Oh my goodness!  Missouri needs to implement “cut and fill” roadwork!

I rode through what I call 4/40’s… 4 mph uphill and 40 mph downhill! I was forced to walk the bike and buggy up some of the hills.

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Missouri’s 4/40 hills

Our son, Eric, commented on “Misery in Missouri,” so I thought I would borrow from his clever comment for today’s title.  Those hills really took it out of me!!  I am told that I will see a lot of this same terrain across Missouri and Kentucky.

Random act of kindness:  I met a couple (Randy and Sandy) in Fair Grove who were interested in my ride.  They have a daughter with Down Syndrome, and have fostered many others.   They offered to have me stay at their home tonight, a few miles out of town.  Honestly, that sounds heavenly right now!  What nice people!!! 

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Randy & Sandy

Statitstics: 68 miles, Max 42 mph, Time 6:50, Average 9.9 mph

 

Hello Missouri!

Day 21, April 21

I woke to rain this morning (4-6 am).  I departed around 6:30 am and arrived in Girard KS 51-miles later with the sun shining and a light NW breeze.  I spent about an hour there drying out the tent and some of my gear.  Then, I rode onward to Pittsburg KS and a stop at a bike shop on the route in order pump up the tires, lube the chain, etc.

I crossed into Missouri about 5 miles out of Pittsburg… so “Goodbye, Kansas!” and “Hello, Missouri!”  I was feeling pretty strong and the weather/wind conditions were favorable, so I decided to go for the 94-mile day that would take me to Golden City, MO.

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Hello, Missouri!

The oil fields have gradually disappeared and toward the end the rigs were so small… only 5′ height in some cases. Cute!

I had a couple of more dog chases, but luckily outrode them again.  I am told that my upcoming 400-mile route across Missouri will be pretty hilly.

Today’s random act of kindness: an elderly couple bought my dinner tonight in support of Special Olympics Nebraska!! 

Golden City offers a nice park structure for camping with facilities closeby.

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Golden City camp site

Statistics: 94 miles, Max 33 mph, Time: 7:00 hrs; Average 13.4 mph

Postlude: At the Goldne City park, a kid started talking to me about the trip.  He asked me how old I thought he was.  I said, “about 15,” which turned out to be right.  Then, I asked the dangerous question, “How old do you think I am?”  He said 42.  Yay!  Ha! Ha!