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Missouri!

Friday June 10: Pittsburg, KS to Everton, MO

Today's ride alternated between hot sun, cloudy, and a downpour with hail. So we did the whole range. We crossed the border into Missouri early in the day and started seeing farms with dogs that like to chase bicycles. The land stayed with the gentle rolling hills we experienced in eastern Kansas, until after lunch when things started to really roll more, and we were doing short steep climbs and then zipping down the other side. In the early afternoon it clouded up heavily, then started to rain, and we could see lighting around us. We rang the doorbell at a local farmhouse, and asked if we could sit out the rain in the barn. We were directed around to an equipment shed, and were soon joined by the farmer, who I am sure wanted to insure we were not causing any trouble. Shortly it started to hail pea sized hail (up to about 1/2 inch in diameter), and it made a very loud noise on the tin roof. The farmer gave us a few stories of his experiences with rain and hail, and soon we were on our way again.

Our B&B for the evening turns out to be a pheasant and chukars hunting preserve. They have fields, birds, dogs, guns, and a clubhouse which we rented. Pictures below show that it is quite comfortable, and came with a kitchen, which is good because the resturant options here abouts are few and far between. Annie decided to shoot some clay pigeons, and got about 45 minutes of instruction and help in blasting chunks of dirt out of the sky. John cooked a dinner similar to the one he cooked in Telluride, Eric selected a wine from the available list, and a fine dining experience was had by all.

Entering Missouri, the show-me state
Ecenacia? beside the road
This is the ivy league of silos
This western Missouri farmer shared his barn with us during the thunderstorm and hail
View outside the barn as the rain thundered on the tin roof
Cemetary further along the road, the sky still dark with clouds
Annie checks out a shotgun for use on clay pigeons
Annie taking a few shots before dinner
Inside the club house where we had dinner and are spending the night

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Saturday June 11: Everton to Marshfield, MO

Today we left Running Spring Farm in fair weather, passed through Everton and then Ash Grove, and turned north. After about a mile we came across a big farm equipment auction, and stopped in to see what was going on. The first few pieces sold were big pieces of farm equipment, and soon we moved on.

Starting yesterday about 20 miles before we finished, the land has definately started to roll up and down to let us know we are no longer in Kansas. The hills are much steeper than any hills we have experienced yet on this trip, however they are short climbs followed by short downhill runs. It is fun to ride this terrain, but by the end of the day the next uphill is looking steeper than the last. The last picture down below gives you a sense of that up and down terrain.

Just before noon we had been watching dark clouds behind us, and just as we crested one of those hills we were hit by a very cold blast of wind, and the wind started howling. It became clear that a thunderstorm was nearly upon us. We stopped at a house that had a big open shed, all roof and no walls, although the back wall was covered with a tarp. We knocked on the house door, and were easily given permission to stay in the shed while the thunderstorm passed over. A young man (19?) came out to see us and chatted with us for perhaps 20 minutes, before he had to go off somewhere. We had lunch and waited out most of the storm.

We met a group of about 8 headed west sometime after lunch. A larger group of 8 to 10 was supposed to be camping in Ash Grove last night, but we did not see them. We also did not see Russel & Phil, who we thought were spending the night in Everton or Ash Grove, but it turns out they are at this same hotel where we are tonight in Marshfield, so we may see them again on the road tomorrow.

Bill Cook, the proprietor of Running Spring Farm, with the bikers
We found this farm equipment auction beside the road. The trailer went for $4,600, the baler for $10,200. To hear the auctioneer, click HERE
When the clouds burst, we holed up in this barn or shed
The rain pouring off the barn roof while we ate lunch
Missouri roads look like this. We are remembering how to climb!

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Sunday June 12: Marshfield to Houston, MO

We have been watching the weather to see if we will feel the effects of tropical storm Arlene, but so far we have not. Today's forecast was like many we have seen through Kansas and Missouri, hot, humid, chance of thundershowers later in the day. The thundershowers always bring with them the possibilities of significant rain, flash floods, hail and tornados. So far we have experienced the rain, small hail (2 days back), but nothing more serious.

Today we had a full dose of the hot and humid, as we rode across rolling southern Missouri countryside. The roads today were not as steeply up and down as they have been the last couple of days, but we still plenty of climbing. We met a number of west-bound cyclists, some of whom appear below. And we continue to parallel with Russell and Phil, eating lunch today with them in Hartville.

We passed through a section of the state where a number of Amish people live, and saw one family on their way to church in a horse-drawn wagon. The pictures below show the warning sign, and also the hoof marks on the road from their regular passage.

Tonight we are in the Houston Motel, in Houston, MO. This county is Texas county, named after the state when it was a republic, and this town is named after Texas' first govener. We ate dinner at Pizza Express, which had a nice salad bar, taco bar, dessert bar and tall cold lemonades!

Recent hay harvests in the fields along our road
This sign warning about slow moving horse-drawn carriages
Hoof marks on the road show frequent use by the Amish
We met Paul & Annemieke from Holland on their tandem. Their web site is HERE
Lunch with Phil and Russell
Sid is doing the TransAmerica solo, taking his time headed west

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Monday June 13: Houston to Ellington, MO

Today was long and hot. Some of the story is in the stats, which show our mileage was a bit longer than usual (70) but that we did alot of climbing. We don't often feel like we are in the mountains here, because you don't get classic mountain scenery, but the road goes up and down and up and down. Much of our climbing is in these short hills, followed by short downs, and then right back up again. We had sun all day, and the temperature was in the high 80s.

Alley spring is one of three large springs in this part of Missouri. Apparently water seeps down through the earth and collects in underground aquifers, and then pops out of the mountain in one of these springs. The water is aqua colored due to the minerals dissolved during its trip through the earth. Eighty million gallons a day flow out of the spring and into the Jacks Fork river.

This old volkswagen seems to have taken a bad turn
Old barn and pond in Sommersville
Alley Spring flows 81 Millon gallons of water a day
This old mill uses some of the water from Alley Spring to drive its machines
Break at the top of one of many hills. The Ozarks go up and down and up and down!
Lunch on the green in Eminence
Moth lying beside the road where we stopped for a break
The first tippy truck we have seen since Colorado!

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Tuesday June 14: Ellington to Farmington, MO

We had a beautiful ride through gently rolling countryside today. This part of Missouri looks alot like New England, with heavy forests on either side of the road, and then houses or farms. The hills were not as steep or as plentiful today, although Eric says we did 80% of the climbing we did yesterday. The temperature was also a bit cooler, and the humidity lower, and this contributed greatly to our having a good day.

Just as we were ending our lunch beside the road, Jennifer, Meg, Erin and Fred came along the road. We met them 2 weeks ago in Kansas. We thought they were well ahead of us, but heard yesterday that they were only slightly ahead of us. They got a late start, and so we had passed them before they got going. As we were chatting, Russel & Phil caught up to us again, and then rode with us into Farmington. The others are hoping to press on further today, since they have had a short day so far, but Annie is doing some repair work on Jennifer's gears at the present time.

Tomorrow we have a day off. John will drive Nana to the St. Louis airport for her flight home (Thanks Nana!), and pick up Jennifer, who is doing the next piece of the SAG-wagon driving.

Cathy and Chip are a retired couple from Winchester, MA, headed for California
Eric saved this little guy, who was trying to cross the road in a very busy spot.
We were having lunch when Jennifer, Meg, Erin and Fred caught up to us. We met them 2 weeks ago back in Kansas.
Near the end of the day we rode through St. Joe State Park on a bike path
This brand new, not yet open bridge was in just the right place to get us across the interstate.

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Wednesday June 15: Day off in Farmington, MO

Today Nana headed home and Jennifer arrived as our new SAG wagon driver. John drove Nana to the St. Louis airport (about 2 hours), and we met Jennifer as she arrived. We had lunch together, and then put Nana on the plane home. John & Jen went to see the Black Madonna Grottos west of St. Louis, and then headed back to Farmington.

Eric & Annie did bike maintainence, including changing some tires, cleaning chains and lubricating. Some local bike club members found Eric & Annie, and had questions and conversation for them for much of the morning, and then took them to lunch. Eric was able with their help to figure out an alternate route for tomorrow, to get us across the Mississippi to Chester IL.

On to Illinois

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