Day 37 - Johnson's Shut-In Park to Eminence

June 25, 2002
7 min. read

This post is part of the Trans-Am series.

When I finally got up, I was told that dad had ridden ahead. I started getting ready. I forgot to empty the camera’s memory cards and had to do that, along with several other things that I hadn’t thought of needing to do the night before. I didn’t get going until after I wanted.

There were some decent climbs all day. I rode into Centerville and noticed dad and mom sitting at the courthouse. Dad had come into town and rested while he had breakfast. It gave his legs a chance to recover from the hills that were challenging us into town. Without this rest, his legs would have mutinied much sooner. There is a stone fence around the court house where they are happy for cyclists to camp. The fire house next to the court house is a tiny little place. The court house had burned down in 1864 by the Confederates and it was rebuilt. Then it burned down in 1871 and was rebuilt in 1872. That is the building which now stands. A fellow in the court house was talking with dad earlier and he mentioned Blue Spring. He said it was right on the route, just a bit off the road, and we should definitely stop and see it.

The hills were along with us into Ellington, where we met mother for lunch. She had run right through a 4-way stop and was very apologetic to the officer that pulled her over. She didn’t know why he did, until he told her about it. She said that she didn’t see it and was looking for a place for “her bikers” to eat. He asked if she was with the large group who planned to stay at city hall tonight. She said that she was only with two who were stopping for lunch. He let her go with a warning. We ate at a local buffet place and sat out a little of the heat. I started up the computer and typed a little. With the parents along, my schedule has been messed up and I haven’t typed as much as I wanted. The food was decent, but the AC was great.

After we had started eating, a cyclist came in with an HBO 2002. I didn’t see any bags on his bike, so I didn’t know if he was touring or not. I stopped by to talk and found out that Mike is with a group of cyclists from Yale, who are riding across to California for Habitat for Humanity. They were staying in Ellington for the night.

After finishing lunch, dad and I headed for Blue Spring. The man in Centerville had said that the turn was about 12 mile past HH, before reaching Owls Bend. Mother had gone ahead and found out that having the van would be a good thing. When I noticed the Blue Spring 3 miles arrow, I would have kept going on a bike. We hid the bikes in the woods just a little ways and got in the van. It was worth the 3 mile drive in sometimes seriously washboarded gravel roads. If I had a loaded bike and wanted to see it, a better choice would be to walk and hitch a ride in and out if possible. There are many uphill and downhill locations where riding would be impossible and pushing a loaded touring bike difficult at the very least.

There is a 14 mile walk from the parking area into the spring. Signs told the story of the spring’s source. At one time, a dye was added to Logan Creek which dries up to nothing a some point when flowing downstream. A few days later, this water with dye came out of Blue Spring. The flow from the spring is 67 million gallons per day. The water was really running when we visited. There is a section of typical creek, but the vegetation is incredible. There must be some serious nutrients and other things that plants thrive on.

When you reach the spring, the water is so clear that you can see down better than 20 feet. Some contents in the water give it an incredible blue color. The clarity of the water allow plants to grow far down the spring and bubbles of oxygen are constantly rising. The spring was a strange sight. Image a cliff face where a large flowing stream starts, but the beginning is just a 30 feet diameter hole where the water flows straight up out of the ground to start the stream. The water is like that of cave water which has flowed underground for miles. That is to say, very cold.

Dad had mentioned to mom that he should get in the van at the springs. I didn’t know this so I didn’t stop mom as she left after dropping us off. He is a bit stubborn and won’t quit until he kills himself, sometimes. After we waited longer and longer at the top of some hills, I began to understand. I told him that I would send back the Calvary, but he continued on. Eventually, he stopped just past H and I told him I would send the van. I ran into mother a mile or better from the campground and told her where he could be found. We decided to get a campsite first and unload enough from the van to fit the bike in easier. As she pulled out of the campground and headed up the road, she was passed by dad. He said that he had hoped the hills stopped, but still had more than 800 feet of climbing. He said that he just walked those hills. He will be traveling in the van tomorrow. I think he is afraid that I would write that I rode him into the ground if he didn’t finish. He is lighter than me by a bunch, but he doesn’t have the 40,000 feet or more of climbing that I have been through so far.

Eminence is a serious tourist trap. Everything had price. Campsites are sold by the person. $6 per person. $7 if we want electricity. Showers are run by quarters for each 2 minutes of water. With a better than $20 campsite, we pondered a motel, but the rooms are $55 plus $20 per person. $20 per person extra? I have never heard of more than $5-8 per person in Super 8 level motels. Tourist trap.

Mom had picked up some hotdogs and I had been wanting to do a campfire and hotdogs for a while, so that is what we did. The wood we purchased at the campsite was green. Once we got the fire going, you could see the sap oozing out the ends of the sticks. To get it started, dad showed me a little trick. Just pouring gas on the ground and lighting it didn’t give the wood enough time to catch. By putting a small pile of sand and dirt in the bottom and saturating it with gas made a much slower and longer burning fire starter. This did the trick and eventually we had enough coals to get the green wood to go up. While I started the baked beans and green beans on my cook stove, dad went out searching for sticks, which burned much better than the junk they sold. Then we grilled some hotdogs. Yum. Dad and I both had 4.

Today was long and hard, with the most climbing I have done in quite a while. Riding Stats: 6 hours 24 minutes of riding with 54.9 miles and 4,480 feet.

Eminence, MO

Tent Site: 37 deg 08.953 min N, 91 deg 20.953 min W, elev 660 ft.

Trip Miles: 1424.6 miles

Part 42 of 48 in the Trans-Am series.

Series Start | Day 36 - Layover Day at Johnson's Shut-In State Park | Day 38 - Eminence to Houston

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