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Missouri Loves Company

Hank – I woke up around six and waited patiently for Kathy to wake. We had a breakfast of peanut butter sandwiches and bananas. I finished off some yogurt covered pretzels, too. We packed up our bags and carried them up to the church parking lot. I also hauled the bikes up there, too. The idea was that we wouldn’t set our bags in the high grass and get more ticks latching on to them. Then we carried the tent up and vigorously shook it out.

We hit the road and the steep climbing immediately began. In five miles we reached the Missouri border and a gas station/tobacco/liquor/convenience store. We grabbed something else to eat and filled up our water bottles. This shop had a ton of tobacco and liquor. They also had glass bongs. I asked if cannabis was legal in Missouri now. They told me it’s not, except for medical purposes and that the glass pipes are for smoking (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) tobacco. Well, okay then.

We were following two-lane state roads today. The first 23 miles were very hilly. Hills aren’t that big of a deal by themselves but when they’re steep as these were they can take a lot out of you. We’d be grinding along in our lowest gear and finally the road would “level out” to a point where we would still be in our lowest gear but not dying in the process. The heat and humidity made it that much tougher. I was sweating up a storm. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a day like this.

The last few miles on state highway 37 gave us a nice shoulder and more gradual climbs. But my legs were burned up so even these few climbs were trying. I was happy to get to the hotel and take a hot shower. Later on we walked to a nearby restaurant, The Farmer’s Daughter. The clerk at the hotel said he couldn’t talk us out of going there nor could he recommend the place. That was strange. The restaurant was good.

Tomorrow we ride 60+ miles to Springfield, MO. We’ll have climbs but they won’t be like the ones we had today.

Kathy – We rested well in the tent last night and managed to get out of the campsite this morning without taking any ticks with us. A good start to our day! 😊 Today we rode 34 miles in mid 70 degree temps. It was a sunny day with lots of humidity. With the heat index our temps were in the mid 80’s. 😅 We rode in to Missouri, our 43rd state! It’s hard to believe that we only have seven to go!

Today was a very challenging ride. Even though the daily miles were small, the number of hills were large. We also had many steep inclines which were extremely difficult. It’s one thing to ride up steep inclines, but add the heavy bike and pannier bags and it makes for some tough climbing. I have been gradually reducing the weight in my bags, so my bike and bags are probably the lightest they have ever been. I kept a positive attitude throughout the day (warning: this post may not always reflect that though).

I knew could get up each hill with perseverance and my stubborn determination. That said, I was really pushing myself. My heart rate was in the 165 range, I was trying to keep my breathing under control, and my legs felt like jello at times. I feel like we are in pretty good overall shape, but today both Hank and I felt wimpy. We might just be tired after climbing 1,000 – 2,000 feet every day this past week. Our climb today was over 2,000 feet and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was closer to 3,000 feet.

It hard to gauge Google maps for cycling because they are wrong so often. It seems they average the lowest and highest elevation points and don’t account for all the up and down climbing in between those two points. I don’t often turn my Fitbit watch on during riding to see the actual elevation because it runs my battery down too fast. When I have turned it on, it seems to be 600 – 800 feet more than what Google maps for cycling states.

I know those guys and gals at Google are smart people, you would think they would have accurate elevations for us cyclists out here. I wrote to Google twice about this issue and received no response from them. Our son Geoff is a computer geek and lives in the San Francisco area. He also knows people at Google. Maybe I need to see if Geoff can make some connections for me? I’m not asking for much. The way I see it students get As for their hard work, employees get incentives for their hard work, athletes get awards for their hard work. I’m just asking for accurate elevation totals for all my hard work on climbing those hills! I don’t think that’s too much to ask for. 😊

So today it took us 4.5 hours to ride 26 miles (a few small breaks at the top of inclines included). This is extremely slow for us which we can relate to the rides difficulty. The last eight miles Google maps for cycling said we only had 20 feet of climbing, otherwise it was downhill all the way. Well you know me, I’m gonna monitor if they are correct. They were wrong again. I counted nine hills in that last eight miles where we had to shift way down and pedal hard to get up them. It looked more like ‘rolling hills’ than ‘downhill’ to us. So much for Google maps. 🙄 I will say when we had some downhill moments, it was pure joy to my legs. 🤗🤗🤗

So happy to have the days ride done. We got a hotel as a treat. A nice shower and a good meal is just what we needed. Resting up now because tomorrow is more climbing. 😊

A couple of notes…

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