Monday, July 15, 2013

Day 33 - July 6, 2013 - Centerville, MO to Eminence, MO

Mileage - 48

Oh boy...the elevation map for today's ride looked positively horrifying!  It got chilly overnight, and the super high humidity doesn't help, and when I'm cold (Erica), the last thing I'm ready to do in the morning is crawl out of my warm sleep sack and pack up camp!  So I drug my feet, then we grabbed breakfast, and finally got on the road.

We had a long climb out of Centerville, but we took it in stride and made it to the top of the first big hill.  My route mapping app showed a different (and more level route), so we turned off route to give the alternative a shot and try to make our day  a little more bearable.

Well...I need to learn my lesson with that app.  We rode at least a couple of miles down this alternate path, and found the county road the app suggested we turn down next. was gravel...again.  We can handle a little bit of a gravel road, but the app wanted us to stay on it for over 30 miles.  In the middle of nowhere.  With no cell service.

So the first bummer of the day was that  we had to backtrack to the original route.  We had wasted some time, but were still in high spirits, since it was early in the day.  We stayed on a fairly major state road for a while, with a shoulder, and even though it was hilly, it was manageable.

We got to the town of Ellington around noon, and it had been a tough day already.  We were tempted to cut the day short and tackle the really tough part the next day, but we needed to keep on schedule to make it to where we needed to be in order to get ourselves to the Brandi Carlile concert at Red Rocks Ampitheater on July13th.  So we ate a lunch of pizza in a really great little place called Saso's.  The food was great, and we chatted with the lady who owned the place about our trip.  She had lived in Oregon, not far from where we will end our journey, and in California, not far from where I grew up.

After Mel finally pulled me away from the quarter-pushing machine (whatever those thing are with the arms that push quarters off the ledge - in Missouri they actually return the quarters to you if you win.  Super addicting, and a waste of money!), we headed off into the great unknown...

The first few miles weren't bad, and we started to let our guard down a bit.  Then Missouri struck back...

The hills got very, very steep.  With little downhill involved.  And they just kept coming.  I think we decided that Virginia and Kentucky had a love-child and named it Missouri.  The hills has the incline of the mountains in Virginia, but with the rolling qualities of the Kentucky hills that don't give you any momentum on the downhill to get up the next hill!

We walked up a zillion hills.  And it was hot.  At one point, I had a bit of an emotional breakdown and actually cried. And I don't cry about anything!  If I could have quit and teleported home in that moment, I would have done so without hesitation.  

We wanted the comfort of a real bed after a day like this, and when we got within 7 miles of Eminence, we finally got cell service back.  We called every place on the map, but only found one room available.  The combination of the holiday weekend, a horse event called "Trail Days" in town for the weekend, and Eminence's main industry of river-floating tourism meant everything was packed!

To make matters worse, the lady at the place we were staying told us that we would have another half mile uphill to pedal once we got to town to make it to the hotel.  If the drivers in Missouri hadn't been so generally rude, we would have thumbed a ride!

We finally made it, and ordered some calzones from the one place in town that delivered food, and crashed.  This day had put us through the ringer - emotionally, mentally, and physically!

I only managed to take the two pictures today, both because the day was awful, and because my phone was low on battery because it spent all day searching for service.  I wish I had pictures of the following things we spotted though:

1.  There was a horse crossing sign in the Ozark Scenic Riverways park.  It was just the usual yellow sign, with a silhouette of a horse on it, but someone had added a horn to the horse so it looked like a unicorn.  To this creative person - thank you for the laugh on a craptastic day!

2.  We saw a ton of pickups with lift kits, loud mufflers, and crappy vinyl pictures/lettering on them in Missouri.  Today, one hillbilly who happened to pass us a couple of times had the following on his rear window (exact spelling):  "If my truck's too loud, your too old".  Wonder how much that genius paid for that one!

3.  A man, wearing only camouflage shorts, complete with suspenders, but no shirt or shoes, wandering down a back country road.  He sees us coming, and takes off running through gravel toward what I hope was his house.  Classic...

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