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Day 26 – Feeling young

(71 miles)

Everyone we meet assumes the Rockies are the hardest stretch of our ride. Most people who have done the TransAm route remember the Appalachians as the toughest bit. Quite honestly I think they’re both wrong (although obviously I have no basis on which to judge the Rockies yet). In my opinion (and that of my sweaty, exhausted companions) the 25 miles between Ellington and Eminence, MO, are the real killer miles. Even in the early morning when it was cooler (but still stinking hot!) we were really stretched by the constant up and down hills that just drained you.

The early morning sun spills over the Missouri fields

Wavey roads!

Buckets and buckets of the stuff!

Nobody's smiling now!

On the plus side, I reached a new top speed, 44mph. 50mph is definitely in reach, on the right hill – will have to wait until the Rockies for that now.

I also shot what I thought would probably be an Oscar-winning video as I hooned down (and up and down and up and down) one of the fabled Ozark ‘roller-coasters’, only to discover at the bottom that it hadn’t ever started recording! I was devastated.

Flags out for Memorial Day

Fortunately the second half of the ride was a bit easier. We were blessed with some cloud cover and a faint tailwind and the hills grudgingly apologized for being so unhelpful and slightly flattened themselves out.

Around about lunch-time we rolled into the little town of Summersville. As we looked for a place to eat, I spotted Jim’s bike – outside the Summersville Senior Center of all places! He’d actually been using the library next door but when I popped into the Seniors Center they quickly suggested we just eat there. So we were treated to a fantastic $6 home-cooked lunch and an ice-cream. And lots of questions from the other diners! It was interesting to be there with Jim, surrounded by other folk his age who were nearly all overweight and many of whom had trouble even walking, let alone contemplating cycling across the country! Later we all agreed that we’d love to be as fit as Jim is when we reach his age.

What a great welcome we were given here :-)

The food tour continues...

Jim - feeling out of place in a Senior Center

We pushed on to Houston (in Texas County, of-course). Arriving mid-afternoon with only the city park for accommodation, we killed time in Mcdonalds, which – to my shame – is rapidly turning into a regular pit-stop. You can always tell in advance if a town has a Mcdonalds because you’ll pass some Mcdonalds-branded litter (drinks cup/paper bag) beside the road on the approach to the town. Its amazing how just seeing a bit of litter can lift your spirits…!

Its pretty humid here in Missouri. It was 26 deg C and very humid when we went to bed – I haven’t used my sleeping bag for a few nights now. And its still warm and muggy when you wake up.

One Response to “Day 26 – Feeling young”

  1. Dennis says:

    I agree about the Ozarks being some of the toughest hills…especially between Ellington and Eminence!! That one hill right after Eminence by Alley Spring was an absolute KILLER!! Thanks for the great blogging and I hope I’m home in Portland when you guys make it here!!

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