Golden City, MO
Fair Grove, MO
Old Mill Historical Society Building
H:88, L:50, sunny, slight wind
It was great to wake up this morning and know that we could pack up a dry tent, dry sleeping pads, and dry sleeping bags. We ate a quick breakfast of oatmeal and bananas, changed clothes, and loaded up. We were actually ready to go at about 9:00 for once!
But then we got to talking with Pastor David about biking, church, and the 2009 apple pies his church had just made and sold for a fund raiser. By the time we left he had jokingly offered us a job as youth pastors at the church. Or maybe he wasn't really joking...
So we ended up getting our usual late start. Then we started heading the wrong way. I told April we could keep going down the road and cut over in a little bit to get back on the route, or we could just backtrack and follow the route. She said she would prefer to follow the route.
On our way back to the route we ran into Pastor David again. He told us we probably didn't really want to backtrack and that we should just go ahead and take the road we were on and cut over in a little bit...the exact same route I had proposed minutes before. April said "Cool, sounds great! Let's go that way!" Ha Ha!
The falls colors are really starting to show and it was a beautiful morning after last night's rain.
We had a few hills to get us warmed up and then about 15 miles into our ride the hills really started. These weren't the nice long mountain passes we'd done in the Rockies. These were down and up, one right after the other. And they were steep. Like, if-I-lean-backwards-too-far-while-I-pedal-I'll-probably-flip-over steep. We would've taken a picture of the really steep ones, but we didn't really want to stop, or more specifically, start again from a stop.
Now one of the things that we opted not to do in order to save money while we were preparing for the trip was to upgrade our front chainring from a double to a triple. For those of you not familiar with the biking lingo, that means we only have two front gears instead of three. This is almost unheard of in today's touring community. When we made it through the Rockies with our doubles, we thought we were home free. Today, we were thinking again!
These hills just went on and on, up and down, for what seemed like forever. It was by far, the most trying and difficult riding we've had yet, both mentally and physically! To top it off, we only made it 65 miles! We'd been doing between 70 and 80 for most of Kansas and had planned to continue that for a while longer. After today though, we're pretty sure that has come to an abrupt end!
In addition to being really hilly and winding, the road hasn't had a shoulder since we got to Missouri. It makes it really difficult to share the road with cars because they can't see us very far in advance, and once they get to us, we can't really get over for them to go around us. This usually means the car has to follow us while we struggle up the really steep hills, or they squeeze by us blind to what's coming their way. April had two cars lock up their brakes behind her because they came around the corner too fast. Thankfully there isn't much traffic out here.
When we finally arrived in Fair Grove, we were wiped out. We were excited to arrive in Fair Grove because this was our first 'general delivery' mail stop. We'd originally intended to only pass through Fair Grove on our way to Marshfield. However, because of the hills, we got there after the post office closed so we'll have to stay here until tomorrow to see what we got. We were probably going to stay anyway, but that just sealed the deal!
The cool thing about Fair Grove is that they have an active bike community and have a really nice bathroom and shower facility that is available for use. The instructions on our map said to stop by the gas station and ask to use the bike camping. So that's what we did.
The gas station attendant went over to a sheet and got a phone number and made a call. "Gary will be by in a bit to unlock the building, it's just down the street."
We went down to the building to wait. While we waited, we looked around at the old historic mill.
When Gary and his wife arrived to open the bathrooms and showers, we talked to them for a bit about biking in the Ozarks. They told us the hills around here are up to 14% grade!! That's crazy! In the Rockies, the steepest grade we had to climb was only 7%! Wow, no wonder it was so hard riding. We decided the Rockies had been a nice warm-up for the Ozarks.
They opened the bathrooms and showers for us and even the kitchen area, which they said they'd never done before. Sweet! A kitchen! This called for as special trip to the grocery store.
After they left, we headed to Subway for dinner. Then April went back to camp to work on the blog and I wend to get some sausage and eggs and cheese and tortillas for breakfast burritos the next morning. Yum!
Since we were pretty sure we were going to be the only ones around for the night, we decided to sleep in the bathrooms because there was plenty of floor space and they were heated. Woo-hoo! I think there's probably a joke in there somewhere about being on the road too long if you're exited to sleep in a bathroom, but I'm too tired to think of it.
Thanks for reading and goodnight!