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Part 9
Map Courtesy of Adventure Cycling Association -  www.adventurecycling.com

Girard, KS to Ste. Genevieve, MO

I was on the bus 24 hours through Kansas, down to Amarillo,
TX and Oklahoma until arriving in Springfield, Missouri this
morning at 2 AM. I slept on and off, but it wasn’t good
sleep, you know how that is.  It was hard to avoid talking
to people- there were some pretty colorful characters. (Note
from Winnie: I asked if he was wearing his Spiderman shirt,
because that would have ranked him as one of the most
colorful characters on the bus by any standard. But he

At 2 AM, when I got off the bus in Springfield, I
immediately started putting the bike together and
fine-tuning it so I could start out at daybreak, which I
did.  It’s so good to be in Missouri- the smells, the
birds- purple martins, meadowlarks, mockingbirds- the
sounds, going up and down the hills, all remind me of
growing up.  It’s very comforting.  Except there’s been
lots of dead armadillos on the road, too.

Well, I have to go now and call the sheriff’s department
and check in so I can sleep in the park in Houston MO.
That’s what the bike map says I have to do for Houston.
But I’m so tired, I don’t know if I’ll make it there
tonight.  I’ll definitely see everyone at the family
gathering in Centerville tomorrow evening.

 (*Alp d’Huez is the infamous killer mountain in the Alps
that is so steep, it’s not even rated)


 Thursday, 7/29/04, 8:43 PM Central Daylight Time
Conversation with Winnie

I have to tell you about the part from Springfield Missouri
to Bendavis.  I’ve said it before, being back in Missouri
brought back so many memories from childhood- the hickory
smells, the song of the bobwhite, meadowlark- all the
sights, smells and sounds.

The hills were much, much tougher than I thought they would
be.  They get you by repeated ups and downs, rather than the
gradual ascent and declines I’d done in the Rockies.  It
was a constant roller coaster without end.

I got a free lunch from the nicest woman in Marshfield (25
miles NE of Springfield). She was very excited about what I
was doing and gave me a free lunch at her restaurant: DJ’s
Café.  Later I saw she went on the website and signed the
guest book.

In Bendavis, which is only a store and a gas station at a
crossroads- no houses or other buildings- a lady saw me
looking around and said, “I bet you’re looking for a
place to camp.” She let me camp behind the store for free.
 She’d done it for other cyclists and knew the look on my
face.  I was so grateful!

The day Winnie and Kevin (my brother) picked me up the hills
were tough.  Not as long (high) as the Rockies, but much
steeper in portions.  Without a doubt, the Ozarks were
harder cycling than the Rocky Mountains.  And, of course, I
had storms to contend with all day and 2 flat tires.  They
picked me up at Owl’s Bend (known for its bluffs
overlooking the river).

As for the family reunion, it was an incredibly supportive
and reinvigorating experience.  The Raft trip was on the
cool side (72 F) – but seeing my brothers and sisters,
nieces and nephews, my parents – it was just the recharge
I needed at this point in the trip.  And it was wonderful to
see Winnie.  I loved camping at Carlyle Lake (Illinois) with
her- it was a gorgeous spot.