Day 28: To Mountain View - Steel City to Cow Town 2014 - CycleBlaze

October 6, 2014

Day 28: To Mountain View

This morning I decided to make the detour to see Big Spring before breakfast. Up at 7:15, on the road at 7:40. It's only 4 miles to Big Spring, but most of that distance is 10-15% grades. The 8.4 mile round trip excursion took 1.5 hours, and I was exhausted afterwards. I can pedal up those steep grades, but a few minutes of 15% grades gets me as tired as hours of pedaling on gentle grades.

I paid a heavy price to get here.
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The Big Spring area was deserted when I arrived. It's probably packed on a summer weekend. But not early in the morning in October.

Excellent interpretive sign.
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Judging from the size of the parking area, Big Spring is a popular tourist attraction. It is by far the largest of the many springs in the Ozark region, and one of the world's biggest springs. The average flow is 450 cubic feet per second. Basically, a small river appears out of nowhere at the bottom of a limestone cliff. The water temperature is 58F (14C) year-round, so it would be a delightfully cool place to visit on a hot summer day. A bit cold for swimming, though.

Big Spring flows an average of 450 cubic feet per second. 58F year round.
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The water comes out of the fissure at such high speed that it makes a wave.
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Charmaine RuppoltBig Spring looks very cool. :)
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1 month ago
Wide view of Big Spring. Fall foliage is getting started.
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The 1/2 mile long river formed by Big Spring is 3rd largest tributary of the Current river.
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Back in Van Buren I went into town for breakfast, and finally got on the road at 10:05 AM heading west on US 60. US 60 is well graded, never more than 6%, but it still goes over many big hills. I gradually climbed from 570 feet elevation in Van Buren to 1140 feet elevation in Mountain View.

Steep forested hills in and out of Big Spring.
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I also had a pretty stiff headwind while going west on US 60 in the afternoon. My goal was to get to Willow Springs, but I just don't have the energy after the steep excursion to Big Spring. I will have to stop 16 miles short in Mountain View instead.

I'm starting to see places called ranches. A sure sign I'm no longer in the east.
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Today's towns are small and impoverished. Lunch was at a Subway in Winona. US 60 has moderate traffic and a very wide paved shoulder. Safe, but loud and boring.

US 60 is a 4 lane divided highway across southern Missouri.
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Clouds were building in the afternoon but it didn't rain. High of 70F.

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I went into the very depressed town of Mountain View to find a motel. I passed a fancy place outside of town that was far from services. Then I went into downtown and got a $37 room at Malone's Motel. Small room, reeked of Pine Sol. The motel proprietor also sells Kettle Corn at local events. He gave me a big bag for free. The motel is for homeless people, not business travelers. Downtown is mostly empty storefronts. It looks like the town has been depressed for at least 50 years. Dinner was at a Mexican restaurant a block away.

The scenery, weather, and economy are similar, but I'm liking Missouri much better than Kentucky. People in Missouri are more friendly and inquisitive, noticeably less suspicious of strangers. People actually ask me about my trip now. A welcome change compared to Kentucky where women didn't talk to me at all and men only started conversations to invite me to their church.

Distance: 53 mi. (85 km)
Climbing: 3410 ft. (1033 m)
Average Speed: 8.4 mph (13.4 km/h)

Today's ride: 53 miles (85 km)
Total: 1,454 miles (2,340 km)

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