Monday, 6 June 2011

Day 33 Eminence to Houston

This trip is definately not for the faint hearted. The truck drivers today have been horrendousf.Too fast and too close. I have fitted a third eye to my helmet and I am closely watching every truck that comes up behind me. I am beginning to wonder if this Trans America route is safe for cyclists given the totally inconsiderate and aggressive driving of far too many vehicle users over here.
I passed an Amish family in tbeir horse and cart and wondered how it must be for them having to put up with this  every day of their lives.
Anyway enough of that. Today's ride through the Ozark mountains was superb with incredible scenery. Dare I say it but even the headwind was refreshing. Everybody chose to take breakfast at 5 30AM (Aaagh) except me who chose to spend an extra hour in the very comfortable double bed that came with the cabins we stayed in last night.
Understandably there is concern about the heat and most of the group do not want to get caught in the afternoon sun and that includes my stop and stare companions. However  it doesn't seem to bother me. I tend to ride well within my comfort zone (slow!) ezpecially uphill, drink loads, and have plenty of stops and it works for me.
Strangely I caught up Ellen and Kelly at 19 miles but instead of chasing them at higb speed down the road I chose to supplement my early one banana breakfast with omelette, hash browns pie and coffee. These are no ordinary women by the way. Kelly was on the American Olympic pursuit cycling development team and Ellen must have come from tbe planet 'Krypton'.
We will shortly be entering Kansas which is going to be even hotter so  unless my riding companions come round to my way of thinking I suspect I will be riding 'tout seule' until we get through this hot spell.

Miles today 53
Total         1520

Day 32 Rest day in Eminence

Tbis little town is serious riding country anx a big watersports centre. Most of thr group have gone tubing for the  day (floating down river in an inflated tyre tube) but I decided to give it a miss and indulge in some retail therapy, once the usual chores of long diztance cycle touring were out of the way. After a leisurely stroll into town up a steep gravely path, down a steep gravely path, up an even steeper gravely path all under the blistering heat of the sun  I found myself enjoying a Reuben sandwich  at Margies place in the company of Marlane, Vivian and Emily, three lovely ladies who are all members of Eastern Star, a Christian fellowship group with some connection to the Freemasons. Once we'd established that I didn't know our Royal Family in person (much to their disappointment)  they illuminated my day telling me all about their life stories, current boyfriends and how much they all loved our Royal family apart from the White Witch Camilla ( their words not mine . . . I did try and explain that she had been harshly treated by the media and that she was quite a nice person really but they were having none of it )
After a  brief circumnavigation of Eminence it was apparent tbat retail opportunities were limited and on my way back to the campsite (well about 5 yards dlown the road ) I bumped into Dolo who persuaded me to join her for an ice cream where we also found my three new lady friends. Marlane insizted that we should come back to ber house for tea and that we did. Unfortunately she had lost her key so it ended up that I had to squeeze my newly slimmed down torso into a small rear window to reach the latch which to relief all round I managed to accomplsh with some style. Despite her huge collection of teapots from around the world we didn't actually get any tea but nevertheless were treated to a tour of her house which was like a museum of her life.
After giving us a much appreciated lift to the campsite the day was rounded off by a bbq with the group followed by a stroll down the Ozak river with Greg Ellen and Kelly. I also manaved to swap the spices for 2 fuel bottles with Jack and althoigh it's  more weight I  AM NOW RELIEVED OF THE BURDON OF HAVING TO RIDE LIKE A LUNATIC TO GET INTO CAMP FOR 4 30PM.


Day 31 Lesterville to Eminence

Despite the promise of a brilliantly entertaining post today don't build your hopes up. I am after all a Yorkshireman and suffering from a mild dose of bloggers block. I think that all my creative juices evaporated in the torrid heat today. As you may have already gathered today was a difficult day. Apart from the seemingly routine issues of the three H's The main problem was the lack of any stopping places for the last 25 miles and VERY STEEP hills all the way. 25 miles may not seem far but iin these conditions it's no joke.
After an early 6AM breakfast most of the group were on the road by 7AM (including the female half of stop and stare) in an attempt to get to camp before the intensity of the afternoon sun and we are talking well in excess of 100F here !
Greg and I saw no reason to change our well established riding plan. So that was that . I had a nice piece of pie at lunchtime and apart from the occasional obnoxious Missouri motorist nothing else to report except that we proudly rode into camp in our usual position of last. Oh not quite correct. Greg bailed 10 miles from the end and rode into town in the back of a pick up truck sipping an ice cool beer. No further comment necessary :) 

Miles today 53
Total         1467