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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…

If you would like to view older blog entries please click on the months below:

  • May 2018
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  • August 2018
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  • October 2018
  • November 2018
  • December 2018
  • January 2019
  • February 2019
  • March 2019
  • If you would like to comment on a blog post, please click on the post title (or header), scroll to the bottom and you will then see the comments section where you can add your thoughts. We look forward to your comment and encouraging words. Thank you!
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  • To see all the photos related to a blog post, simply click on one of the photos and it will move over (either to the left or right) to the next photo.
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Best Trail System Yet

Hank – We left our hotel a little after 9:00 and soon got into a paved bike trail that’s part of a trail system called the Razorback Greenway. Today’s destination was the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas. The route called for 41 miles. We ended up with 43 when we reached the chapel. We went from the south end of Fayetteville to the chapel, and all but four miles of that was on dedicated paved bike/pedestrian trail. It was awesome.

Since it was Sunday, and Easter Sunday at that, there weren’t many shops open. But there were connectors to a couple of malls. There were also connectors to neighborhoods and schools. The trail is in great shape. There are public bathrooms, water fountains, and bike maintenance stations, too. The Razorback Greenway is something to be jealous of.

We met Andre and Lilly of Fayetteville this morning. They are just getting into cycling and our adventure caught their interest. We wish them the best and we told them we’d love to host them if they ever tour through Spokane.

We stopped at the Phat Tire Bike Shop, conveniently located on the Greenway, and asked about nearby restaurants. We decided on AQ Chicken, which turned out to be a good choice. The food was great–although Kathy’s meal was okay–and there’s some history there. The Clintons went there quite often in their younger days. (By the way, we missed going to the Clinton House Museum in south Fayetteville because it didn’t open until 1:00.)

We saw lots of cyclists, runners, and walkers on the trails today. I was envious of the parents riding with their children. Our kids are grown but I hope one day to take a grandchild or two out for rides.

We had a short steep climb to the chapel but it was worth it. The chapel is a work of art. You can read more about it here.

While at the chapel we met Tim. Tim hails from Norman, Oklahoma. He’s here doing some mountain biking of which there seems to be plenty of here. In 2016 Tim rode the Great Divide Route. He said it took him four months because he would hang out in places he thought were cool. And he wasn’t in a rush anyway. Tim thought our adventure sounded exciting. We shared stories of the kindness and generosity you receive from people when you travel by bicycle. We wished each other well when we left. He’s also invited to the Greer house should he ever come that way.

We had three options to choose from to end our day. We could backtrack four miles against the wind to a campground. We could ride 5-1/2 miles with the wind to a primitive campground. Or we could follow our projected route and stealth camp somewhere along the way. We chose option three. That took us up a very steep climb that pretty much said it was time to call it a day. There was a church up ahead so we went there to ask if we could pitch the tent on the lawn. Since Easter Sunday was over there was nobody at the church. We went around back and found a playground that would work for us. We set up the tent and threw our stuff inside.

Then Kathy said she found a spider inside that she couldn’t kill. It was a tick. So we started looking real close over everything. We found a few more ticks and ejected them from the premises. Plus, some are crawling on the outside of the netting, no doubt remarking at how juicy we look. We’re sleeping safe and sound in the tent tonight–maybe. Dehydrated meals for Easter dinner tonight. We’re living the dream!

Tomorrow we ride into Missouri, state #43.

Kathy – Happy Easter!!! 🐣✝️🌸

We rode a total of 44 miles today with about 1,800 feet of elevation. As Hank said the majority of it was on amazing bike trails. We had gradual hills for the most part with a few steep climbs just to get the heart rate really pumping. It was sunny and the temps quickly rose in to the high 70’s. It was a gorgeous day, a beautiful trail (with lots of people using it), and we met some great people. Absolutely loved the ride today.

Ok, I didn’t like that last super steep climb and decided 44 miles was enough for the day. 😊

The Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel was just spectacular. Totally amazing! The chapel was on our list of things to see in Arkansas and I’m so happy we rode to this beautiful place. I planted my Arkansas flowers near the entrance to the chapel. We didn’t go to an Easter service today or have a yummy Easter dinner with family and/or friends, but we did get to spend a little time in this stunning chapel situated in a very peaceful natural area. It had a spiritual presence. We are thankful. 🌸 ⛪️ 🌼

At the end of our day we thought we found the perfect place to camp out. Nice quiet wooded area behind a large church. We really wanted to ask if we could camp on the church grounds but no one was at the church. Hopefully they won’t mind. We will probably be gone early in the morning before anyone arrives at the church anyway.

I say we thought we had the perfect place, until after we set the tent up and climbed in. That’s when I started noticing tiny little bugs crawling around inside the tent. Hank quickly realized they were ticks. Yes, we are camped in a tick infested wooded area. I suggested we move everything but Hank said we were all set up now so to just leave it as it is for the night. We removed about 15 ticks out of the tent so far, and we are hoping we got them all out. We also checked ourselves to ensure no ticks matched on to us. Such a great way to end our day. 🙄

The ticks are crawling up along the outside of the tent. It’s hard to tell if they are on the inside or the outside of the tent so your constantly monitoring them. It’s pretty gross looking. I don’t even want to leave the tent now, much less have to take the tent down in the morning. I’m gonna be on high tick alert 🚨 all night and tomorrow morning until we get the heck out of this place. 😳Every time my skin itches I look to see if it’s a tick crawling on me. It gonna be a long night…

The adventures never end on this trip. Happy Easter to us! 🐣✝️🌸

A couple of notes…

If you would like to view older blog entries please click on the months below:

  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018
  • September 2018
  • October 2018
  • November 2018
  • December 2018
  • January 2019
  • February 2019
  • March 2019
  • If you would like to comment on a blog post, please click on the post title (or header), scroll to the bottom and you will then see the comments section where you can add your thoughts. We look forward to your comment and encouraging words. Thank you!
  • If you would like to see our current location click here: Current Location where you can see our daily travels.
  • To see all the photos related to a blog post, simply click on one of the photos and it will move over (either to the left or right) to the next photo.
  • If you would like to “follow” our blog, please click here: Home Page and look in the bottom right corner on your computer where you will see a “+Follow” link (If you are viewing our blog on your cell phone, the location may vary depending on cell phones. Please look around to find this area). Once you click on the “+Follow” link, just enter your email address there (only we can see it) and then go to your personal email to accept the ‘follow request email’ that you will receive. Once this is done, anytime we write a new blog post you will automatically get an email letting you know so you can read it at your leisure. Another option is to bookmark our site and view when you like: www.HankandKathyGreer.com