Day 25 - Farmington, MO (Al's Place Cyclist Hostel) to Sullivan, MO (Comfort Inn) - Seeking A Bicycle Warrior's Death, Part II: The Great Rivers South - CycleBlaze

October 16, 2022

Day 25 - Farmington, MO (Al's Place Cyclist Hostel) to Sullivan, MO (Comfort Inn)

Missouri Roller Coaster; Good Roads, Bad Roads, and Rednecks

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Statistics, Useful & Otherwise;

Elevation Gained Today;   4,971 ft                        Cumulative;  51,410 ft

Roadkill Seen Today;   Squirrel (3), Raccoon (1), Skunk (2), Possum (2), Snake (2), Unknown (3)                                                                                      Cumulative; Hawk (3), Raccoon(6), Possum (19),  Mouse (1), Squirrel (12),   Armadillo (6), Bird (2), Coyote (1), Deer (4), Snake (4), skunk (5), rabbit (1), turtle (1), unknown (10)

Found Money Today;   $0.33 (yesterday & today) Cumulative; $0.90

Lodging Cost Today;    $ 127.49               Cumulative; $1,775.81

Bad Drivers Today;    1                                      Cumulative; 13

Dog Chases Today;       0                                Cumulative; 19

Confederate Flags Today;    0                    Cumulative; 6 (plus 30 little flags decorating confederate soldiers graves on the Natchez Trace)

Average Speed Today; 9.0 mph                 Cumulative;  9.85 mph

Summary of Today's Ride; Constant up and down, about half good roads and half bad, with a few Rednecks* thrown into the mix.  A challenging ride, I'm tired.

* from Wikipedia; "Redneck is a derogatory term chiefly, but not exclusively, applied to white Americans perceived to be crass and unsophisticated, closely associated with rural whites of the Southern United States."  For more detail--> Redneck

Found Money Update. I found 31 cents yesterday at Al's Place in a little holder that had playing cards and other miscellaneous things in it.  Someone had probably used the coins as tokens for a card game.  So that's a big boost to the "Found Money" game I play on bicycle tours.  The rules are simple; any money I find while on tour or going about my business during the tour is fair game and counts.  I found $.02 on the pavement during today's ride. That should have made my total $0.91, but I seem to have a lost a penny somewhere, so it now stands at $0.90 total.   I saw a dime in the middle of an intersection in Sullivan as I was nearing the end of today's ride, but there was too much traffic for me to go back and retrieve it.  Maybe there won't be as much traffic in the morning when I'm leaving.

I left Farmington at 07:10 this morning.  I had no breakfast, but I knew there was a Huddle House restaurant 6 miles down the road.  The early mornings are a bit chilly now.  Not cold enough for leg warmers yet, but I wore the leather gloves over the tight-fitting cotton gloves I had bought and that worked to keep my fingers from feeling the wind chill.  I really like Farmington, it's another one of those places that gets my "I could live here" seal of approval.

Leaving Farmington
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Near Leadington
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I had never eaten at a Huddle House restaurant and didn't know what to expect.  Turns out they are pretty similar to a Waffle House restaurant.   Tanked up, I rolled off anxious to get underway on what I knew would be a long and hard day.

Driveway Decoration
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Geese Are Heading South
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The Roadside Colors Are Much More Vivid Than The Photograph Shows
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The log below looks like a dragon, or so I thought when I photographed it.

Dragon Log
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Big River
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Limestone Bluffs
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The first half of today's ride was wonderful, hardly no traffic on easily traveled roads.  The second half was hard because it involved riding on very narrow shoulders on roads with higher traffic.  State Roads 21 and 47 carried moderate amounts of traffic that tended to come in groups of half a dozen at a time.  The edge was rumble-stripped and the remaining part of the shoulder was often only a foot or less wide.  State Road A was about the same, and State Road 185 was the same but had a lot more traffic.   It took a lot of concentration to ride on the small strip of shoulder.  There really wasn't much option but to do so, as traffic would approach from in front and behind at the same time.

A Photo For The Wife. I'm Heading For That Junction
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I only added 1 bad driver to the list today, but there were several who misbehaved.  I only count it as a "bad driver" if they do something that needlessly endangers me or others.  The one I added today was a car who didn't move over any when he passed - the road ahead was clearly visible for a long way, no one was coming toward us in the opposite lane, and yet he passed by me at high speed without so much as even moving towards the center.

And there were 3 incidents involving pickup trucks.  The first occurred as I was working my way up a small hill on a road with hardly no traffic and no shoulder.  The driver came up behind me and laid on the horn for a long blast as if to say "Get off my road!" and then went around me, which he could just as easily have done without the horn blast.  The second occurred when I first entered onto State Road 47.  At that point there was a wide shoulder and I was riding on it.  A pickup truck passed me and the passenger yelled out the window something like "Get the hell into the ditch!" as they sped away.  The third occurred on a curvy section of road when a pickup came up behind me and was mad that he had to slow down for a few seconds before he could pass - he laid on the horn for several long blasts and then went around me shortly afterwards.  None of these trucks did anything that endangered me, they just all wanted to be bullies and "show me" that they were mad that I was on their road. 

Bicyclists are vulnerable road users.  One mark of the advancement of a civilization is how it treats the most vulnerable folks.  Civilization isn't very advanced here in this part of Missouri, or at least there seem to be quite a few backwards folks.  Of course, each of these incidents made me mad and I would have liked to talk to the drivers, but these guys are cowards and they weren't going to stick around.  After each incident I reminded myself that I was riding through the underbelly of America and I needed to exercise a lot of control.

Purebred Plywood Cow
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This is a route that follows along and crosses many of the great rivers of the south.  But with the drought the country is experiencing, one has to wonder about the future of our great rivers --> Mississippi River Is Low.  I certainly wasn't worried about this sign today.

Not In A While
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Today was Day 1 of my final run, a 7-day run.  It was expected to be hard, and it was. 

Lunch Break On The Ground Under A Tree - I'm Already Pretty Tired
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The following table lists where I will end each day, and includes the average climbing in feet per mile for the day's ride, as well as the maximum grade I will experience along the way.  You can note a few things from this table; 1.) the first 4 days are more climbing-intensive than the last 3 days, 2.) today was the most climbing-intensive day, and 3.) days 2 and 4 each have a steeper maximum grade than I experienced today. So really, what does all that mean?  It means the hardest days of this 7-day run are the first 4 days, then it should be much easier.  Of course, that doesn't include the effect of wind or the actual distance I will ride each day or the traffic conditions or the astrological considerations of planetary movements, etc.  But it's a pretty good way to get an overview of how I'm finishing up.  Three more hard days, then three easy days.  What could possibly go wrong?

  1. Sullivan, MO            75.3 ft/mile      11.9% max grade
  2. Wright City, MO     46.7 ft/mile      12.6% max grade
  3. Louisiana, MO          59.7 ft/mile      8.8% max grade
  4. Quincy, IL                   51.8 ft/mile      13.8% max grade
  5. Nauvoo, IL                   29.6 ft/mile     6.4% max grade
  6. Wapello, IA                   18.2 ft/mile      4.9% max grade
  7. Muscatine, IA              18.6 ft/mile       4.0% max grade

Today's route was tough, but the beauty of the Ozarks can only be truly appreciated when you experience it firsthand.  The Ozark Mountain Daredevils went through several band names before settling on their moniker.  The one I liked most was “Cosmic Corn Cob & His Amazing Ozark Mountain Daredevils."  Here's a bit of background should you care --> Ozark Mountain Daredevils.  The group was formed in 1972 (haven't I told you that all the good music came from the 70's or thereabouts?) in Springfield, Missouri.  I'm in Missouri, so how about a bit of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils to finish up the day?

Jackie Blue was one of their 2 most popular songs.  It's about the insecurities of a young girl that keep her from experiencing life.  Today was expected to be the hardest day of this tour, and I was apprehensive about it - it was a hard day but I got through it despite the traffic and rednecks.   We are all afraid of failure, and many of us are afraid to take any risk because that could lead to failure.  I hope you take a little risk in your life now and then - life is worth taking some small risks, and even if you occasionally get dog bit or some idiot Sapiens throws a soft drink on you the ride is still what you make of it.  I hope you all had a good ride today - we can never ever repeat even one day, so enjoy each of them.  Today's ride has left me tired and tomorrow's ride in the Ozarks is also expected to be challenging, so good night all...

Today's ride: 66 miles (106 km)
Total: 1,171 miles (1,885 km)

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Bill ShaneyfeltHad to chuckle... Saw a dime at an intersection but too much traffic... Yeah, done that so many times bike commuting and touring. With my cycling now being almost all on cycle paths, I rarely see money. My found money can from before I retired (08) has over $50 in it. Most of the bulk is pennies, some almost unrecognizable due to being ground off by tires. Best find ever was $5 bill!
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1 year ago
Mark HarrisI have an old OMD poster that I am going to frame one of these days. I will text you a picture of it. I like Chicken Train.
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1 year ago
George HallThumbs up on Chicken Train!
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1 year ago