Hard, but good day today! We got woken up in the middle of the night by people yelling on the street near the park, so it wasn’t the best night of sleep. Regardless, we woke up at 6 because we had a long day planned, an 80 mile ride to Eminence, a tourist town on some rivers in the Ozarks. We got rolling around 7 then got some convenience store breakfast (Casey’s donuts are the shit). It was around 7:30 by the time we left. We crossed a bridge and got back onto USBR 76
It was my prettiest morning in a while. The rain from the night before was still covering everything, and keeping the temperatures down. The birds and bugs were out in full effect and the cars were nowhere to be seen. It was a great change of pace from the heat waves, even in the morning, from the last few days. I took lots of pictures.
Soon after we came to a convenience store that had the sweetest family working there. They had a son who loved his bike and showed it off. They also had a swing bike that let you rotate the rear wheel with the seat. It was wild, and they let me ride it. The little boy wanted to race. He won :D
We were getting ready to go and the boy asked if we could stay and hang out. I felt bad telling him that we had to leave. I got a drink and he taught me how to play his version of mancala before we actually had to leave. We’d gone 20 miles in a bit over 2 hours, so not the fastest progress, and we still had a lot to go. We got riding and had a few more hills before emerging at the top of some kind of high (for Missouri) plains
Then turned right onto SR 17 for a decently steep descent followed by a long climb into Houston. This section had a shoulder, thank God because the traffic was heavy. Truck traffic was particularly bad; at one point a fully loaded logging truck came within a foot or two of us at 50+ miles per hour. The wind blast was almost enough to send us into the gutter. Truckers need to be aware of how dangerous the vehicle they’re driving is. It’s one of the first really bad incidents in Missouri
We pulled into Houston without further incident and went to a Casey’s. We got slushiis again and various sandwiches and pizza along with snacks and sat there for a while cooling off. We tried to plan our sleeping arrangements for the night. We were both ready to pay for a motel, but no one would take our money, they were all full or ridiculously overpriced. We looked into campgrounds and found a nice one just a few miles short of Eminence, right in the middle of Alley Spring National Park, on the Jacks Fork river. It was cheap and seemed viable so we decided to try it, and head into Eminence if it didn’t work out or was full. We had 35 or so miles to the campground so set off, around 1.
Today was much cooler than yesterday and we both felt good, if a little tired. We made fairly good time through the countryside into Summerville. We had a bit of a headwind but it wasn’t too bad. In Summerville we stopped at a small convenience store and tried a few new cold drinks: I’m trying to find something with calories that isn’t insanely sugary, like a protein shake or something. My search continues. We were both ready for the riding to end, bit we had 15 miles to do. We got started.
It was slow hilly going, at one point a straight road had 4 hills that we could see, one behind the other, each taller than the last. We made it up and over and had some nice flat going for a while. As we approached our destination Missouri threw all it could at us: steep hills, honking angry drivers, windy roads, and headwinds. We persevered and crossed into a scenic riverway
We also got this stunning view dow into the valleys, it looks like a rainforest.
It wasn’t all good, it looked like rain
We made it to the campground, tired and ready for cold drinks. We found out that there was a convenience store just up the road. Nick went and grabbed snacks as I got set up. He got back and we dug into some drinks and potato chips + dip, a serious treat.
We headed over to a swimming hole the camp host had told us about. The water temperature was perfect, cooler than the air but still warm, and there was a rock to jump off. I jumped off a few times and just swam around enjoyed the water. There were guys there doing backflips and gainers into the water which was cool to watch. A few people asked us about the ride, but mostly we just got to relax. After 45 minutes or so we went back to make some dinner. This is my first camp dinner in a while, so I was actually kind of excited. I made potato’s, Nick made some Mac and cheese he got from the store. We peppered in a bunch of snacks.
We sat around camp doing small chores like route planning and getting ready for bed but we were in no hurry, and it was mostly just relaxing. We had a rain scare of a few drops, but it seems like we may get lucky Nick headed back to the store and I’m sitting here writing this around 9:45. A raccoon just came up to the picnic table and tried to steal our lantern, not seeing me sitting in the dark on the far side of the table. I scared him off. The fireflies are out, and there’s distant lightening, but no thunder. I’m gonna close this out and get some sleep. Night!
- Chobani drink
- Bear claw
- Zero ice
- Ham and cheese sandwich
- Body armor drink
- Chips and dip
- Ice cream sandwich
- Mashed potatoes
- Beef jerky