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Grandpa Lost His Mind
A Journal - Crossing America by Bicycle

June 20, 2007      Miles 44      Total miles 2919      Ended at: Eminence, Missouri

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I had a couple of Egg McMuffins for breakfast at McDonalds this morning and this Model A Ford was parked out front.


It was around 65 degrees when I left Houston and it didn't get hot until around noon. There was a wind in my face but it wasn't bad. I was expecting to hit the hard hills earlier than I did. It wasn't until I got about 25 miles from Houston that the hills suddenly changed. They are steeper than anything I have ridden so far. Much steeper. The grade here is consistently 10% and I have had several which are 13%. This is according to the inclinometer on Ol' Blue. The first thirty miles I ride tomorrow are supposed to be some of the worst I will travel on in the Ozark Mountains. The good thing is they don't last for five or more miles at a time like they did in the Cascades or Rockies. It is sort of like being on a roller coaster ... a self propelled roller coaster. I grind my way to the top very slowly but once over the top I get shot to the bottom. On some of the hills I have the momentum to get up a good portion of the next hill.
A couple of old home scenes ...


This is a very active purple martin nest and the log truck is hauling logs to be made into whiskey kegs.


These Amish men didn't feel too comfortable talking to me but I talked to them non-the-less. They were filling a can with diesel fuel. I thought they didn't use powered equipment so I don't know why they need diesel fuel. They have odd accents and one was from Canada and the other from New York. I told them I had seen some other Amish people in Missouri but no Amish churches and they told me they worship in their homes.


I decided to give my legs a break from riding and climbed to the top of this 120' tower which is in the Ozarks. It is odd that I can fly my powered paraglider thousands of feet above the ground but by the time I got to the top of this tower I was gripping the rails very tightly and hanging on for dear life.
The Ozark Mountains are just beautiful. This river is in Alley Spring which is actually a spring fed creek. The water is crystal clear and I put my foot in it and it is cold ... I would guess about 55 or 60 degrees.


Here is another one room school house which has been preserved and is also in Alley Spring. Seeing the picture of George Washington above the chalkboard reminded me that when I was a kid in gradeschool there was always the unfinished portrait of George Washington hanging in front of the classroom.


Also, when I was a kid, my father would take my little brother, David, and me fishing and he would always take Saltine crackers and Vienna Sausages to eat. I hated them then and I don't believe they are any better now. Sometimes we would take along potted meat too and we always drank milk with them.
This old mill was bought in the 1920's by the state of Missouri and has been remarkably preserved. They still operate it once per week just to keep everything in running order. One of its downfalls, well over a hundred years ago, was that it was designed to process wheat flour in an area where corn was the main crop. It was built in 1868.


Below are some more water pictures around the mill. The water in the pond is over 30' deep. There is also a hiking trail in this area.




This is where I am laying my head for the night. Tomorrow will be a tough one.