I have been asked many times why I wanted to ride a bicycle across the county. Having completed the trip, the question became easy to answer. Before I left, I’m not sure I even could answer it. I am a bicentennial baby, born in 1976. This is the same year the Bikecentennial route was created as a celebration of our 200 years as a country. Thousands of cyclists rode across the country on that route during the inaugural year.
We woke up at 5:30 and were ready to set out riding by 6:15. Scott was the only one of the group up yet and he was standing there to hand me a card. We got a chuckle that each of us had cards. He just completed an England to Singapore tour in 2001-2002, is currently on a Trans-Am for 2002, and plans a long tour through South America in 2002-2003.
Dad and I left the motel at 7:30. We hoped to get some miles in before the heat started baking. I took a photo of the breakfast spot from yesterday on the way out. Restaurant next to motel When I started to stop in Fair Grove, I noticed a Discount Sporting goods place across from the gas station I was initially going to pull into.
I had trouble sleeping through the snoring of two parents, and woke up tired. I had hoped to get some time in Springfield last night, but I arrived too late. If we pushed for Ash Grove, we could drive back into Springfield, but I wouldn’t get into there until late again.
I woke up at 8 AM, after less than 5 hours of sleep. Dad had left at 5:50, to get an early start on the day. He slept at least an hour more that I did, even leaving early. Probably closer to 2 more. I stopped early at a gas station and taco bell to get some sports drink just before 10.
Today was my first day alone in quite a while. While dad had ridden ahead some days, we eventually linked up. The thunderstorm that was threatening us during dinner last night never passed and all evening was dry. I started slow and was left by the van as I sat down to apply my sunscreen.
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.
The Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park is 8,470 acres around the East Fork of the Black River. The Shut-Ins are formed by blue-gray steel hard volcanic rock. These rocks were formed when violent volcanic eruptions exploded, causing material to avalanche down layer upon layer, forming the rocks exposed today.
I found a few roads that took us back to the Trans-Am route at Doe Run. The GPS helps again. We headed into Pilot Knob (named for a local mountain peak.) Pilot Knob and Iron Mountain were both mined heavily for their Iron Ore in the early 1800’s.
I woke up and heard dad tell mother that it was 7 o’clock, when I clearly knew it was 6. I woke back up when it was actually 7. They are still wrapping their mind around this whole different time zone thing. We packed up tents, hit the restrooms up the hill in the park and got moving.