18. Missouri – or Misery?

Sorry we have not posted to our blog much lately.  Today was our 12th straight day of riding!!  We’ll take a day off Monday.

We started this  stretch of riding on June 1st when we left Carbondale IL and bicycled to Chester IL, from where we crossed the Mississippi River and started cycling in our sixth state – Missouri.   Or Misery, as I like to call the state now. 

I had heard that there was nothing but hills in southern Missouri.  Jens told me not to get too concerned about the hills, but that was much easier said than done for me. I confess, I don’t  enjoy climbing  hills like Jens seems to.

The introduction to Missouri didn’t start on a good note for me.  I was really not in a good frame of mind to ride on June 2nd.  It was raining and cold.  I was struggling for the second day in a row with a strained neck muscle and I really didn’t want to ride my bike all day.  But I did.  The first part of the ride was memorable – crossing the Mississippi River and riding on the flats near the river before the hills started.  It did not help that I got chased by a dog who grabbed onto my front pannier which scared me – I have always had a pretty healthy fear of dogs.

We divided the days through the Ozarks Mountains into smaller rides for me.  The constant up and down of the hills was hard on the legs.  The grades on a lot of hills were steep, and just when you think you are at the top – there is another set of hills right behind the ones you just rode.  So, not only physically challenging, but emotionally as well.

We rode Chester, IL to Farmington, MO – 50.9 miles, Farmington to Johnson’s Shut-In State Park- 38.5, Johnson’s to Ellington- 28.5, Ellington to Eminence – 28.0,  Eminence to Houston – 43.3, Houston to Hartville – 38.7, Hartville to Marshfield, MO – 28.5, Marshfield to Ash Grove 47.0, Ash Grove to Golden City – 36.8, and finally Golden City to Pittsburg, KS – 39.4.  427 Mile – there you have it, to cross the state of Missouri. 

The weather has played a big role in our rides.  We have had rain.  We have had three day that threatened thunder showers that never appeared.  We have had cloudy days.  Those were nice because it kept the temperatures lower and which made the climbing hill a little more bearable.  The past several days it has been very hot and humid.  In fact, last night there was no motel in Golden City so we camped in a city park and the heat and humidity made for a very uncomfortable night.

Dogs continue to be challenging part of our ride.  Every day, there is at least one loose dog that chases us.  Yesterday, there was a three-legged dog that gave chase,  and Jens told me that I deserved to get bit if I did not out-pedal a dog who was missing a leg.

Yesterday, we rode into Kansas and spent the night in to Pittsburg.  We enjoyed a nice first ten miles, and just when we thought we were finished with Missouri’s steep hills,  Missouri gave us a few more as we approached the border. We crossed into Kansas – our seventh state – only to find out that the  “Welcome to Kansas” had been vandalized and was gone.  

Missouri was a tough ten days of cycling, and I am glad that it is over, but I am proud to say we did it.  Now, on through Kansas.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Jeff Svejcar

    Wow! Through Missouri! Nice job. Thanks for writing such great descriptors of your travels. Did you have an opportunity to sample the pie in Golden City?

    Just curious, what one word would each of you use to describe your experience so far?

    Love and prayers for safe travel to the both of you.

    1. Jens

      Yep, lunch and breakfast at Cooky’s Cafe in Golden City, MO. Yummy pie.

      My one word description: “adventurous”

    2. Jens and Shelly

      Jeff – my word would be challenging. Thanks for the tip about Golden City – the pie was delicious!

  2. Margie & Larry

    Shelly, “proud” doesn’t begin to cover your “adventurous” journey…more like complete awe and amazement!!! Normal humans aren’t able to do this! Larry and I just spent 2 nights at the coast. We were ever so careful as we went around the bikers on the way there and we thought of you every mile…picturing you pedaling up, down, and around ON THE HOME STRETCH!
    BTW, thanks for the anniversary wishes, another amazing and unexpected thing to see from the “road”.

  3. Jane

    I was starting to wonder when we would hear from you and am glad you are through Missouri. I think Jens needs to change the one word to “grateful” that Shelly hasn’t sicced an angry, 3 legged dog with an attitude, on him! My one word for your trip is inspiration – for how you two are getting this done, your commitment to it and to each other and how well you are chronicling your trip. I’m getting a feel for parts of our country that I wouldn’t otherwise. Enjoy your rest day on Monday and know that much love, thoughts and prayers are with you.

  4. Gail

    I was just saying to Vern that you were riding through misery…sounds like it lived up to its name. Hope Kansas is better…all the parts I’ve been to there are pretty flat…

    Stay well, stay safe!

  5. Terra

    Love following your blog. Thanks for the great descriptions and updates! I am in awe of your dedication and adventurous spirits!

  6. Margie & Larry

    Guess we are too “wordy”….our last reply didn’t make the cut. The shortened version: we drove to the coast last week, thinking of you all the way there. We gave bikers LOTS of room and pictured you on the ups, downs, and curves of your HOME STRETCH! Shelly, feeling “proud” of surviving your “adventurous” journey through Missouri doesn’t begin to describe what you should be feeling about now! Normal humans could NOT be doing this! Prayers continue as you pedal on…

  7. Kirsten

    Ugh Shel, your description made my legs and lungs hurt! I hope by now you’ve had a break, including a decent bed and food. Tell Jens he’s getting a 3 legged dog named “Tenacity” for a retirement gift. 😁 I miss you dearie! Hugs and prayers for both of you! 💕

  8. Diane Schilling

    Hope Kansas riding is flatter and restful! Thinking of you both, sending positive vibes.

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