When we emerged from the tent this morning, the cool morning air made it feel like we had gone back in time a month and were still in the mountains of the Northeast.
About ten miles in, we were riding along on a quiet road and I thought of something that I wanted to tell Rachel. Given her trouble hearing and interpreting what people say, I spoke loudly and inadvertently woke several sleeping dogs. They were not happy and neither was Rachel; she had spotted them already and was hoping to pass by undetected. To win her sympathy back, I tried a new tactic: dismounting and laying down in the road when the dogs came at us.
This might sound graceful and heroic, but I assure you it was not. Three dogs approached us from the left and I wanted to try spraying them with a water bottle. I brandished a full bottle in my right hand (mistake) and the most bold of the dogs got a face full of water and started to back off. I was overzealous and tried for a second head shot, but the dog was already behind me at that point. I turned the handlebars a bit too far and, moments later, was picking myself up off of the pavement. Whether it was the water or the surprise of watching me fall, the dogs were deterred. The victory came with a big hit to my ego as well as a few scrapes to myself and my bike. I’m hoping this will be the last crash of our trip, though!
We crossed paths with another tourer later who was from Guilford, CT. He managed to convince his girlfriend to drive along the route acting as SAG support for him, so he had a very lightweight setup.
In Ellington we stopped for groceries before lunch. A man outside the store warned us that we had a “hell of a 30 miles ahead of us.” We must be battle-hardened again, though, because we didn’t find the afternoon to be nearly as terrible as he described it to be!
We settled down for the night at the Circle B Campground in Eminence. They let us set up under a pavilion, and we even had enough time to jump in the river before cooking dinner!
Trip stats, to date (Day 42)
- Pilot Knob, MO to Eminence, MO
- Daily mileage: 70.2mi; Trip total to date: 2,501mi
- Daily riding time: 5hr 45min; Trip total time: 220hr 41min
- Daily ascent: 5,510ft; Trip total ascent: 135,305ft
- Flat tires: Rachel – 1; Chris – 0