Springfield, MO, Golden City, MO
Total Miles: 3093
Last night was excellent! I got to hang out by the pool, unashamedly ate a whole pizza and some wings, drank few cold beers and laid out under the stars before bed. If every day could end this good I’d probably cycle forever.
This morning I woke up a little later than usual, the late hour of 7 o’clock, as I only had about 50 to ride today. I had chosen the city of Golden City to end my day last night since I’d read a few other blogs that mentioned the city lets cyclists camp in their park for free. I called the city hall in the morning to confirm and was greeted by the city manager, Barbara. Nicest woman ever, she said all the cyclists pitched their tents under the pavilion and that their were bathrooms and showers set up for us to use. Score! After last night’s 30 dollar campground it was nice to catch a break today. After I hung up the phone this little girl and her dad approached and she said, “Excuse me, Sir. Would it. Would it be alright. Can I ask you some questions?” Haha, I guess I do look a bit intimidating. I said of course she could and she launched into some very specific questions about bicycling. I soon learned that it was actually her father who wanted to know hear everything and she was translating every answer to Chinese. He didn’t speak very good english but I learned through his daughter that he had done a a long distance bike ride about 15 years ago from China to Tibet! And I thought the hills I’m climbing over are bad. Tibet is basically one giant mountain. His daughter took our photo with his camera and I made sure to have her tell him to email it to me. We shall see.
Right off the bat this morning I took a wrong turn, nothing serious, but instead of turning right I went left. The only thing that made me question it was that the wind was blowing suspiciously in my direction. After following the wind way off course back in Florida I always check myself when I get an unexpected tailwind. No big deal, I turned around and head out for real this time. The first few hills I encountered today were short but incredibly steep, I tried to take a picture because it seriously looked like a scene from Inception but the photo didn’t really capture the madness of it. At about the 5 mile mark I stopped in at a gas station to fuel up on an energy drink and a pop tart (No McDonald’s today, Danielle). The wind had really started to pick up but it was coming directly from my left which is annoying and I hate it but it’s also nothing compared to a fearsome headwind.
I head out and begin to notice a definite change in the scenery. The hills were slowly mellowing out and the dense tree cover was being patchily replaced with open fields and prairie land. It was such a welcome sight to finally be getting done with the Ozarks. The last real hill I encountered was this long, slowly ascending monster with barely any shoulder and a rumble strip that looked like it was put in by a drunk 13 year old. The wind was blowing in hard from my left and every truck that passed created this vacuum that sucked me to the side and into the rumble strip. And this hill was long. It was like the Oazark’s last, shrill death cry just trying to pull me back. But it didn’t and I fucking escaped those demon hills. Now onto the endless wheat fields and grasslands of Kansas. If it’s not one thing it’s another -_-
I stopped for a mountain dew break at the 25 mile mark and made myself a sandwich, cookie butter on a bagel. The wind was really starting to get to me today. It was a tricksy little hobbit, sometimes it seemed like it was blowing slightly with me, helping me, and others it felt like I was hitting this huge wall of air every few seconds. Really tiring. The good thing to this side wind, though, is that I had to turn north and ride along with it for 10 miles. It was the most amazing T-T-T-Turtle power ever, I was cruising along at an easy 30 MPH and I couldn’t possibly go any faster as I was out of gears. It came to an end waaaayy too quick and I found myself with the incessant side wide again but I was on a quiet country road so it wasn’t quite as bad. I see a small road sign and am pleasantly surprised to see that, after 3000 miles of pedaling, I have finally made it to Bicycle Route 76! This was the route I had originally planned on following across America before I decide I wanted to go to Key West first. It was such a good feeling.
I arrived in Golden City around 1:30 and immediately headed to Cooky’s Cafe. It’s like a right of passage for anyone bicycling the TransAm to stop in and have a slice of their trail famous pie. It lived up to all the expectations. The icing on the cake (pie?) was that their was another cyclist parked outside. Finally some company! His name is Elijah and he’s also staying in the park this evening. He started out cycling in San Francisco and is headed the opposite direction as me towards Virginia. He’s an all time badass of a dude and gave me a bunch of great tips for places to stay going through Kansas. It’s looking like free camping is on the menu the next few weeks!
That’s all for now. Time to get some food, beer and sleep. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!
Too Drunk; Didn’t Read (TD;DR)
-I can’t speak Chinese but little girls can.
-Inception is real but McDonald’s isn’t
-The Ozarks are dead and I am not.
-Wind is a bitch
-Pie and Elijah but not Elijah Pie