Really limited Internet access out here…hopefully this will post soon

Day 28: Chester, IL to Farmington, MO
June 13, 2011

Our first stop this morning was the post office to send some unnecessary stuff home. We thought we were traveling pretty light already but decided we could shed some more weight (silk sleep sacks, some clothes, a book-yes, we are officially illiterate), and actually got rid of enough stuff we could ship home two of the small panniers as well. About 2 minutes into our ride we crossed the mighty Mississippi into Missouri, our eighth state! We spent the morning attempting and failing to outrun thunderstorms, we ran into some guys heading east (with a SAG and just flying at ~100 miles / day), and we passed a tiger sanctuary (we thought “tiger sanctuary” was Missouran for something else but you could actually hear tiger roars from the road). We had lots of climbing today into the foothills of the Ozarks but nothing too bad. Also, the temperature stayed in the 70s and 80s all day, which was delightful. We stopped for the night in Farmington because we heard about a nice, new bike hostel started by the Farmington city council. Al’s Place is a really nice spot located on the second floor of the old county jail. Nice warm showers, human-sized bunk beds, washer, dryer..lovely! Ned and Kristin, a couple on their honeymoon we’ve been leapfrogging for over a week also spent the night there and we had a small, belated celebration for Collin’s 21st birthday. Also at Al’s Place we met 2 guys, Bill and John, heading east who gave us some tips about the days ahead.

  • Starting point: Chester, IL
  • Ending point: Farmington, MO
  • Slept: biker hostel –al’s place
  • Miles: 49
  • Average speed: 10.4

Day 29: Farmington, MO to Ellington, MO
June 14, 2011

It was downright chilly when we left this morning, which was a refreshing change. We had rain showers for most of the morning and part of the afternoon. Today we entered the Ozarks in earnest. The elevation profile on our maps made it look a little scary but it was not bad at all. We had a long, gradual climb in the late morning and then a great, long flat section before we stopped for lunch at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park. As the name would suggest, the park was pretty empty. After lunch we had 4 more gradual climbs, which were only bad because of the horrible roads and drivers in Missouri. These are some of the worst roads we’ve seen yet–no shoulder, pot holes, really really fast drivers. We also had some big gusty winds. FUN. We spent the night in Ellington with Herman the German, another warmshowers person that some cyclists from yesterday told us about. Herman is a retired metal worker who has some of his amazing wrought iron work around the house. He prepared us an enormous dinner and talked with us about other cyclists, his own cycling adventures, his move to the US, and his life around the country.

  • Starting point: Farmington, MO
  • Ending point: Ellington, MO
  • Slept: at Herman the German’s house (warmshowers)
  • Miles: 68.5
  • Average speed: 10.7

Day 30: Ellington, MO to Summersville, MO
June 15, 2011

We had a slow start this morning due to the difficulty of extricating ourselves from conversation with Herman. On the way out of Ellington, a stupid dog followed us for about 4 miles. We tried everything to get rid of him but it took a juicy, dead raccoon for him to roll in to distract him long enough for us to get away. Turns out, the Ozarks are quite beautiful. Nice rolling hills, dense woods on either side of the road, pretty wildflowers and butterflies, and lots of clear rivers. A bicyclist in Farmington warned us that the Ozarks were the kind of place where you round a corner and think “that is a fucking wall.” It definitely hasn’t been that bad. The hills are slow, but mostly a gentle grade that tires you out but doesn’t make you hope for a pack of wild dogs to put you out of your misery. We stopped for lunch in Eminence, which is a rafting / tubing destination. We had a picnic lunch and stopped by a B & B for some of their homemade baked goods (see details below). The rest of the afternoon was uneventful, just more rolling hills and a bit of a headwind. Collin got further ahead of us today and pushed on to the next town. We are staying in a cute little rental cabin with a bathroom, mini fridge, microwave, and couch. The people we have met and stayed with along the way have absolutely been the highlight of the trip. But, it is nice to have a night to ourselves once in a while where we don’t feel bad about falling asleep immediately after dinner. On a separate note, some of you have asked about our eating habits. By way of explanation, our maps have little icons indicating various services: gas station, groceries, restaurant, camping, etc. We quickly discovered that in many towns, one establishment encompasses all of the icons. The gas station has a mini mart (groceries), the proprietor allows cyclists to camp out back, and the “restaurant” refers to the hot dogs on a rotating spit next to the cash register. Sadly, the Dollar General store often has the best selection of groceries, and you can forget about fresh produce of any kind in most towns. Maybe bananas. We make do with a lot of oatmeal, nuts, canned chili, tuna, beans, and bread with peanut butter.

  • Starting point: Ellington, MO
  • Ending point: Summersville, MO
  • Slept: rental cabin at the Youth Center
  • Miles: 47.5
  • Average speed: 8.6

For those of you familiar with Andrew’s appetite, chew on this; Andrew’s food intake for June 15th:

  • Breakfast: 3 fried eggs, 2 slices of bread, 5 slices of processed “cheese”, 1 cup yogurt (prepared by Herman)
  • Snack: 1/2 Clif Bar
  • Lunch: 1 slice apple pie; 1/2 can each of refried beans, corn, green beans; 5 slices bread with peanut butter; handful of trail mix; 1 gooey cookie bar; 2nd slice apple pie; snow cone
  • Dinner: 1/2 can each beans, corn, carrots; 1/2 package tuna with faux triscuits; 4 slices bread with peanut butter; banana; trail mix

Photos: what? It’s the show me state, Collin’s birthday, Missouran food, Current River in the Ozarks, roller coaster hills