Start: Mountain View, MO
Finish: Piedmont, MO
Weather: 85 degrees, sunny
Bike Time: 7 hours
Distance to date: 1,411
I am writing in the post Zephyr Café stupor of chicken fried steak, cole slaw, salad bar and incredible peach cobbler a la mode. I finally I found some country food worthy of the Ozarks – it was fantastic.
Today was a terrific day for biking, sunny but not too hot. I logged 50 miles on the wide and loping US 60, and then got off for a final 25 miles along Highway 34, the kiddie coaster version of what I did yesterday. The countryside was scrub oak forests dotted with logging plants; big tin sheds with open walls, lathes spewing saw dust everywhere. The seemed ideally ventilated for a nice day like today, but I wonder how they weather the winter?
Missouri gets low marks for historical markers (have not passed one yet) but very high grades for amusing signs. One for an ice cream stand that says ‘Kids – scream until your dad stops the car’, a whole series that state “MoDOT SUCKS (MoDOT is the Missouri Department of Transportation, in a dispute with a local land owner), and another series of white real estate style signs in people’s yards with bible verses. My favorites though are the Adopt-A-Highway Signs. Sure,
there are the usual stretches sponsored by the Rotary and the Boy Scouts, but Missouri has lots of specific stretches, 0.6 miles, 1.2 miles, etc. and they are often dedicated to individuals, “In honor of William Harding from this beloved
family.” Does someone really want an anti-litter sign as their memorial? Finally, there is a full 100 mile stretch adopted by the Citizens Against Trash. I haven’t paid any dues to that organization, but I am a citizen and I am against trash, so count me in.
People in Missouri are more reserved than in Oklahoma or Colorado. Not unfriendly, but not first to start the chatter either. Today I went into a tiny catch-all store – DVD’s and snacks and soda and liquor and ammo and pizza and bait. I got a soda and chocolate milk and leaned against the ice cream freezer guzzling. When that didn’t satisfy I went back for a
snack cake. Only then did the shopkeeper, a middle aged woman with Maureen Stapleton eyes, look up from her soaps and engage me in what I was about. Let’s face it, I don’t look like the average Dr. Pepper and tackle customer. In Oklahoma people just burst on me with questions about my story, but it took this quiet, ‘Show Me State’ woman some time to warm.
Perhaps what I love best about Missouri are the rivers. After the dry creeks or trickling streams of Colorado and Oklahoma,
Missouri has real rivers, with currents and eddies and deep green water. It is wonderful driving over them and looking
into their penetrating depth.
Penetrating question of the day: If a pawn shop goes out of business, is that a leading economic indicator or a poor one? I saw several defunct pawn shops today and wonder what it means.
Black River Bridge Piedmont, MO
Black River Piedmont, MO