May 16, 2001

5/16/01 St. Louis, MO

93.1 miles

Today started out like yesterday. Got an early start, but still had to deal with hills and rush hour in and out of Sullivan. I was constantly jumping off the road to let the trucks past. Then I hit a long stretch of rolling Missouri countryside with nice houses and good-looking farms.

I made good time until I reached Union. Got lost and had to ask for directions twice. Finally made it to Washington by lunch. But if I thought yesterday was hot, I think today was worse.

I stopped for a sandwich and vanilla shake at Wimpy's, which has been in business for 67 years. After that, I tried to use the internet at the library, but was denied because I wasn't a library patron.

Got lost again leaving town. The road I wanted was closed due to construction. But the alternate was way too busy. I went back to talk to the foreman and he said I could make it through all right, but it was "at your own risk."

I stopped as much for the heat as I did for the hills. Did a lot of bike pushing today! I think these were the steepest roads yet on the trip. I needed to get out of the heat, so I took a long break at the Labadie Market. I just sat there, drinking my coke, trying to get cooler. Again, the women working were very nice and interested in the trip.

I kept thinking that a road that follows the river should be flat - NOT! More steep hills and more heat. They say it got to 90 degrees. HOT!

Fields with bales of golden hay

At first, I thought the map route was confusing when I went towards St. Albans. Then I found Head's Store. I think it is the only original building in the community. The rest being luxury houses -- very big, big houses. Complete with several golf courses. The ladies at the store helped me fill up the bottles with ice and water. And it was back on the road.

After the last hill, I seemed to be dropped into a different world. I have never seen so much money spent on big houses. I mean miles of them. They call the area "Wild Horse."

The map wasn't too clear, so I had to circle the Edmund A. Babler State Park to get in. At one point, I waited 30 minutes for traffic to thin out a bit. But after 82 miles in this heat, what do I find at the park? "Campground closed till July." What to do!

I decided to call my friends in St. Louis, but the phone was another 3 miles. I told Mike I was going to do a few more miles, so it would be easier to pick me up. Some macho part of me wanted to do 100 miles. Almost immediately, I got a flat from the glass on the shoulder. After another 6 or 7 miles, I was exhausted.

I called Mike again and told him where to find the body. Both Libby and Mike have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome. I feel fortunate to have friends like them. Yippee! Two days off. Then it's on to KC.