Long ride, but good: made it to Hartville, MO

Saturday June 13, 2009, 64 miles (103 km) – Total so far: 1,526 miles (2,456 km)

We got a reasonably early start out of Summersville.  There was some lingering mist, but it was gone inside a mile.  Clear, cool riding for a while, until the fog re-appeared as we got close to Eunice.  I had to stop to clear my glasses, as I could hardly see through them.

Me, lumbering through the mists

The ride out of Summersville was pleasant, with wide, well-tended fields on both sides.  There must have been some sort of horse show in Houston, as we were passed by mini-convoys of horse trailers every few minutes up until 9:00.  I think we saw three horse trailers in the next five hours.

Some moderate hills going into Yukon (which was at least recognizable as a town), then more rollers into Houston (seat of Texas County — I couldn’t make this stuff up!), where we had a second breakfast.

Downtown Houston, Texas (County) on a busy Saturday morning

Some new roadkill — armadillo (or as a coworker calls it, “possum on the half shell”); also some rabbits and one red fox.  The scavengers here clean up the armadillo better than they do back home, probably have had more practice.

We climbed up to Ben Davis (or Bendavis, it seems to be spelled both ways).  We had planned to evaluate whether to go any further after lunch there.  The evaluation was, unfortunately, simple.  The store (and diner) closed at noon, and we didn’t get there until 12:30.  A gentleman from one of the three houses and one church refilled our water bottles, and we rolled on.

the long road through Missouri

This was reminiscent of central Kentucky, sort of an inverted normal ride.  You ride along the ridges, with an occasional drop down to cross a creek or river.  This means you have to climb back up from the creek, getting all hot and sweaty, before riding on.  It’d be great to stop a relax at the bottom, but you hate to waste all that great momentum!

There was an entire field full of some kind of small, white flower.  There were quite a few of these purple flowers, which I am now informed are purple coneflowers.

Field of flowers

Ozark farm, with purple coneflowers in the foreground

We really only had one or two steep climbs all day, despite reaching our highest altitudes west of the Mississippi so far.  The grades are pretty moderate, so we made fairly good time — although Weight Watchers would call it moderate exercise based on the average speed.  I think the Weight Watchers should try riding a loaded touring bike through the Ozarks!

Yes, we had to climb the other side, and yes, this view psyched me out!

Finally made it to Hartville, and had a great dinner at LJD’s Diner.  It filled both of us up.  They have a bike rack out front, and gave us free drinks “because you’re bikers.”  Nice people, good food.

ACA lists camping on the courthouse lawn.  I checked in with the sheriff’s office, and there are no toilet facilities or water, except for the convenience stores or the sheriff’s office until midnight.  I guess that’s the “adventure” part.  He did recommend a city park a mile south of town, with flush toilets but no potable water.  It’s also further from the intersection of two highways, so maybe we’ll be able to sleep better without the traffic.

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