Bloomsdale, MO (Camped behind Bi-Rite Grocery)
I set an alarm to wake me at 7:15am so I could meet Brian around 8:00 at the McDonald’s by the motel. I didn’t feel rested when the buzzer sounded. I had slept well but not long. I stayed up late watching bits and pieces of different movies and sports highlights on ESPN. I enjoyed my room and am grateful for the time alone with my thoughts. The solitude gave me the chance to refocus my attention on the mission at hand, and to see this adventure through to the end.
I hastily packed my bike, showered, and went down to stuff myself at the continental breakfast. Doing so was difficult because of the small plates and bowls. I had to make a half a dozen trips to the breakfast bar. I ate several Danishes, pieces of toast, a couple bowls of Frosted Flakes and a quite rotten apple. The foods were only decent, but they filled my stomach. Afterwards, I returned to my room for my bike. I rolled it down the hall, into the elevator and through the lobby. I wouldn’t have stayed at the motel had they not allowed me to take my bicycle into my room.
I found Brian at the McDonalds. He had already eaten his pancakes and was writing in his journal. He slept well in the park, though some young teens snuck up on him while he was in his tent and gave him quite a scare when they yelled and hollered. Briand didn’t chase them, but, in retrospect, he said he should have. Still, they didn’t return in the night and he slept well.
We started on the road about 10:30, having been delayed by various things. The morning was overcast but the clouds, to me, didn’t appear to be holding rain. I was wrong. It rained on and off all day. In some cases, it flat out poured buckets. Despite the rain, I had a great time and we made great miles. I think last night was just what I need to get my mind back on track. As we advanced through the day, I unfolded the Missouri map to check our progress. Each time, I couldn’t believe how quickly we sped to the Missouri-Illinois border. I greatly overestimated the scale of the map. I thought we’d have a couple days in Missouri, but now we appeared to be only twenty miles from the Mississippi River, which divides the states. When we left the Rockies, the sense of close proximity to home jumped dramatically. I believe it will double again once I stand east of the mighty Mississippi.
Tonight we’re camped behind a grocery store in the small town of Bloomsdale, MO. Tomorrow we’ll be back on the Transamerica route mapped by Adventure Cycling, meaning we won’t rely so much on police, firefighters, and local businesses for places to sleep. Our maps will inform us of many places to camp along our way, which is decidedly convenient after our recent experiences off route. However, I’m glad that we strayed from the usual path, seeing part of America that more rarely sees cyclists. The detour forced us to open up and meet others. It meant that we had to ask the locals questions and that we answered theirs. I enjoyed seeing how big peoples’ eyes bulged when we told them of our journey. We met many incredulous people who had never heard of a person even considering a bike trip of such proportions. Sure we grew tired of answering the same questions a couple dozen times a day, but our story and goodwill is enriching to others, and for that we must set aside whatever tediousness or annoyance we may feel from repetition.