Start: Neosho, MO
Finish: Ozark, MO
Weather: 100 degrees, sunny
Bike Time: 7 hours
Distance to date: 1,233
I was an efficient cross country cyclist today. I went to bed last night with dramatic thunderstorms; fell asleep staring at the water stained ceiling tiles of my shoddy motel room, but woke refreshed and still dry after eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. The morning air was still and humid, but within an hour the moisture dissipated and it became dry and hot – how unusual! The ride was pleasant and uneventful to Monett where I stopped for breakfast.
Fast food along the highway was the only Sunday morning option so I stopped at Braum’s. The egg, bacon and cheese bagel was grotesque, so I augmented it from their grocery section with cottage cheese, yogurt and some macaroons. Actually, I ate the full dozen macaroons. After thirty miles, I suppose I was hungrier than I thought. Gearing up outside the store I looked through the window and saw an aging gentlemen in jeans and plaid shirt, cowboy hat on his head, lifting the corrugated lid of a Braum’s breakfast deal – an ice cream scoop of eggs, a packet of micro-browned potatoes and a Styrofoam of coffee. There was something tragic in the sight of this noble man eating such unappealing food. It made me appreciate all the terrific café’s I have frequented along the trip – may there be many more to come.
Route 60 is a wide shouldered road, which is good for cycling, and has a very regular rumble strip to separate me from the traffic. I spend several hours each day looking at the shoulder and by this time, have come upon some unusual stuff lying there. S-hooks. The shoulder is full of S-hooks. I think they pop off the leather straps that secure tarps to open trucks. I have seen dozens. Then there is change, pennies galore and even the stray dime. I have yet to pocket any, by the time I notice them I have rolled on, but there is a pile of coin out here on the shoulder. Mostly I eyeball the many obstructions that
land on the side of the road, wood and metal and rubber, broken glass and plastic.
Of course, the road kill is the most unsavory thing along the shoulder. I have seen two adult deer corpses, plus one fawn, many raccoons, a few foxes, and one coyote that must have exploded on contact; the poor chap’s limbs were everywhere.
The most prevalent of all road kill are the armadillos. Sometimes they remain shell side up, like ancient crustaceans washed out of a fossilized sea. But most of the time they are flipped. They look so forlorn, violated of their natural protection, their soft underbellies baking in the sun. Sadly, today was a bumper day for armadillos.
Although Route 60 feels safe, it has an Interstate scale and the sun beats down without mercy. So I sidetracked in Billings and rode along farm to market roads, weaving north and east along narrow, tree lined pavement and stretches where the corn was so close it practically tickled my nose. Eventually I landed in Clever, on the outskirts of Springfield. Who knew that Springfield, MO had exurbs, but here it is, farms subdivided into brick starter homes, a spanking new high school, and Sunday Open Houses galore. Once out of town the state highway was a winding roller coaster of hills and turns and great fun to ride. I landed in Ozark by 2:00 pm and checked into the American Inn of the Ozarks. Nothing fancy, but it is cool and quiet.
Sunday Morning in Missouri