Today I would have to declare my first great day after a pretty awful night. Don’t get ahead of me all will be explained shortly.
If you declare a day “great” you should be prepared to define what great means. To me it includes:
- Getting an early start
- Having weather that is neither too hot or too cold.
- Having the West Wind on vacation
- Getting on you bike first thing in the morning and not saying ouch.
- Finding a bike and sporting goods store easily.
- Having a “goof off, errand day” and still turning in a good total of miles.
- Achieve some milestones
- Crossed from Illinois to Missouri
- Saw the Arch in St. Louis
- Road on Route 66 three days prior to expecting the same (lost it though)
- Have Miracle Go checked out and she is good
So let me give you a summary and add some stories to complete today’s post. Today I traveled 84 miles with a 12.4 MPH. That doesn’t seem like much but remember I stopped by a bike store (had to wait 20 minutes for him to open) and the sporting goods store. If I hadn’t stopped at these locations there is a chance that I would have broken 14 MPH. The sun was out (not always good given sun burn) and the sky was blue and life was good. Today was great.
Story #1: Weather: I meant to comment on the great weather I’ve experienced since I’ve left Columbus. The days have been cloudy but the temperature has been great. Should have thanked Mother Nature and kept forgetting. She paid me back in spades last night. I was fortunate enough to be able to set up my tent outside the Belleville Fire Station. I set the tent up early so I could figure out the next day’s route. While I would working with the Battalion Chief, he said, do you hear rain? I didn’t and didn’t give it a moment’s thought. Two hours later I went outside. It had rained and the wind must have blown pretty hard. My tent was over on its side. Since I hadn’t closed the door the screen was face up to the rain. My sleeping bag, clothes and shoes were also wet. So last night’s sleeping was in a wet tent, sitting on a wet ground cloth, in a wet sleeping bag. Through the night I was able to dry the upper part of the tent with my body heat but hated to put my feet more than halfway down in the sleeping bag due to the dampness. Remember to thank mother nature!
Story #2: Friends: I am a firm believer that the friends you’ve had for years are your “best” friends. This is because they’ve known some of your struggles, helped with some of them and remained your friends in spite of them. What I didn’t realize until I undertook my bike journey is that new friends are very special as well. I wanted to cut today’s ride off early so I could dry tent, sleeping bag, et. al. and happened upon New Haven. I had to get off my route to go a couple of miles to the Historic part of the city. There I found Kathleen Trentmann, City Administrator. A more than slightly scruffy bike rider pulls up and asks if it is possible to get a camp site, shower, and dinner. Without a second’s thought she gave me the information I needed. An hour later everything is being dried and I am working on my post. This is not unusual. Last night the Battalion Chief spent about 2 hours working with me on a route. The Belleville firemen shared their evening meal with me. I have been blessed with meeting these types of people everywhere I’ve traveled. While these may never be “best” friends they certainly are “blessed” friends. They will be in my prayers every night. Not to be redundant but America is filled with spectacular people that rise to the occasion on many occasions.
Story #3: Bad Jokes: I have a friend named Dave Wagoner who sat next to me at Scotts Miracle Gro. Not sure where he got his jokes but they were real groans. This story is dedicated to him! First the set up. Question: How do you know a motorcycle rider is happy? Answer: You can tell by the bugs on his teeth. Now I can tell you that yesterday I was a happy bike rider. However the bug missed my teeth and went straight down my throat and I gained a little protein that I wasn’t expecting. Recommendation? Neither bike or motorcycle riders should every be happy.
Story #4: Miracle Go: Told you that Miracle Go was slipping some gears. Had her checked out and the bike repairman said whatever the problem was in now fixed (that makes me nervous). He did say that she lost 30 pounds in her back wheel which was expected since she has been working so hard. She wasn’t happy when I re-added the weight. It was for her own good!
Story #5: I am still losing roads. We spend a lot of time figuring out a route to route 66 and Springfield, MO. We agreed that Route 100 W was the road to be on. The problem occurred when I needed to decide whether to go on the old or new 100 W. I choose the new Route 100 and yes we all know that I should have gone on the old route. I think I will have back track less than 5 miles to get on 185 South to resync’d with my intended route. Let me guess, you are not surprised?
Pictures (Left to Right):
- New Haven Sign: Always like seeing a sign that means I am going to soon be off the bike.
- Train Car: This was in a park close to where I will be sleeping tonight. Wouldn’t have included it but as I am sitting in the City Administrator’s Office typing out my post, a train went by literally (my grand son’s favorite word) 40 feet from the front door.
- Missouri River: While I was doing my post, the owner of the local pizza place introduced himself (closed today and tomorrow and I so wanted a pizza). He and a buddy took kayaks down most of the Missouri some years back. He had to carry all food and water that would be needed for 5 weeks on his kayak. There are people called River Angels that help events like this. He always gives them pizza. People do neat things.
- St. Louis Arch: Think this is a great picture in that you have the Arch, a tree, and the moon in the middle of the arch legs. I thought it was cool.