Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 15--McLean to Rantoul, IL

Today I rode in memory of Timothy Jon Strandburg, who died in 2004 while still a teen. On the way to McLean last evening, Nan, my Warm Showers host of Saturday and Sunday took me on a tour of Havana and showed me Tim's grave site. Nan designed Tim's tombstone which is polished black granite. The stone celebrates Tim's life, with pictures of Tim and of objects he created or loved.  The stone is flanked by two black granite bears holding lanterns. Rest in peace, Tim; and find your peace on earth, Nan.

I woke this morning to grey skies and rain. Decided to wait two hours before starting to see what the weather would bring. After a meagre breakfast of whole-wheat toast & peanut butter, I suited up and took to the road in light rain. Had all my lights blinking and my flag blowing . . . northeast. Yippee. I had a tailwind, which made my day's end average just a bit over 15.3 mph, a good deal different than the pathetic 10 mph on all my days with a  headwind. I must have stopped five or six times in the first 5 miles, however, to take something off, put something on, adjust clothes, and take between-raindrops pix. Finally got it right. My only stop was in Heyworth at a Casey's. Drank an energy coffee drink.

A lovely church (I think) on the east side of Heyworth

I was on US-136 E for the entire 53-mile ride. I think it may be part of historic Route 66, as I caught a sign as I was pulling out that said something to that effect. Too nasty to return and read it properly though. The first 10 miles or so were shoulderless. I picked up a shoulder in Heyworth, but lost it again at the intersection of US-150. US-136 is flat to gently rolling 2-lane, and there was very little traffic, most of it semis taking a shortcut I guess. They were very polite and moved to the other lane so as not to blind me with their spray.

Most common sight on today's route, though generally more of them, maybe five or six per farm

Really not much to say about the ride which was essentially through newly plowed fields of dark brown dirt and past grain storage bins and tree-island farms--those that are in the middle of vast plowed fields and surrounded with windbreak trees. I stopped to take a photo of a tree-island farm, but it came out blurry with the rain. I did get a photo (see below) of the trees used predominately for the windbreak. They are very dense evergreens and planted alternately in three rows . . . on the west side of the properties. So, the prevailing wind must come from the west. I only hope the wind continues to blow from the southwest through Indiana, where I have three consecutive nearly 80-mile days.

The dense evergreens used as windbreaks


About 15 miles from Rantoul it began to rain in earnest. I arrived soaked to the skin. My shoes are stuffed with newspaper and my clothes are on the spin cycle in the washer as I type. The first thing I did on arrival at a little after 1 p.m., was peel off the raincoat, put on my windbreaker and squish to the next-door Arby's for lunch. Had an Arby's sandwich and an orange cream shake, the latter like drinking a creamsicle and very tasty. Arby's must put a ton of salt into their roast beef, however, because I've been very thirsty since eating there.

Trying to capture the engine, but it was slow in getting to the crossroads

. . . and then hustled by before my camera could get a photo

Took a nap after getting in and eating. Now writing up the day. Don't know what I will do in this small town at the crossroads of I-57 tomorrow, but will ferret something out.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day 14--Havana to McLean, IL

I get by with a little help from my friends . . .

Had a great, unintentional rest day with the Strandburg's today, Sunday, because it was stormy and very windy. Too, Nan wanted me to stay to meet her BFF and to watch a DVD.

Nan slept late, probably exhausted after riding 36 miles so soon after her surgery. When she got up, she threw on some steel-cut oats for oatmeal and then dashed off to 11 o'clock Mass at her church. I finished cooking the oatmeal, put a bowl in the fridge for her when she returned, and ate a big delicious bowl myself.

While Nan was gone I went down to the barn to photograph Dan feeding Sierra, their pinto horse. Sierra is a very friendly and frisky horse and gives kisses when asked--tongue out. I tried to get a photo of this last night, but it was too dark and I had the camera on the wrong setting. The hilarious photo below is one of Nan's.

Sierra giving Nan a kiss

Dan trying to get a pose with Sierra but all she is interested in is food in the barn

Sierra at alert for oats

Nan is a whirlwind type of person, never sitting idle for long. She works at a hospital in Peoria, an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive, because the local hospital is "too sleepy" for her. She runs or rides her bike or her horse as often as she can, and has an artistic bent. She makes rosaries and other jewelry, makes magnetic flowers from the tops of medicine bottles, and even showed me how to make a tulip bouquet from plastic spoons and forks.

When she returned from Mass, Nan made Monkey Bread and a big pan of frosted brownies while I sat at the kitchen table and identified some of the birds at her feeders and some of the stray cats that have made their home under her deck. There are two yellow-and white-spotted ones, a black one, a grey/brown tiger, and a yellow tiger. The yellow tiger is the only one that will let you come close. Its name is P.J.  Of birds, there were white-crowned sparrows, house sparrows, purple finches, goldfinches flashing their bright breeding yellow feathers, and grackles.

Strandburg backyard from the kitchen; the propane tank was painted 12 years ago I learned 
Nan's BFF, Deb Egbert and her husband Larry, came over around 3 p.m. and we all watched War Horse and ate monkey bread. The monkey bread was delicious and the movie good, but maybe not fare for the whole family. The film locations were beautiful . . . except for those depicting WWI trenches, of course.

Moi at end of movie
Nan & Daisy watching War Horse
Parting shot of Deb Egbert, Nan Strandburg, and me

Shortly after our movie, I loaded B.O.B. and bike into the Strandburg pickup. Nan piled a plate with meatloaf, baked potato, greenbeans, and brownies for my dinner on arrival in Mclean, and then she drove me to McLean--after a brief tour of charming Havana--so that I didn't have to ride in the stormy, windy weather.

Havana's historical water tower

Thank you Nan & Dan Strandburg for your wonderful hospitality. I know that I've made new friends in you two. Be sure to give me a call when you come to OKC to visit Dan's sister.

Day 13--Mount Sterling to Havana, IL

I ate a hearty breakfast of eggs over easy, toast, sausage & o.j. this morning, prepared by Richard and served at the kitchen table as I was consulting an Illinois state map (provided by Mac and Barbara last night) and lining up the day’s route. Then I loaded up B.O.B. while Richard, the perfect host, pumped up my bike and B.O.B. tires. All tires were low on air because I find it so difficult to muscle 100 psi out of my little bike pump. Richard offered to give me one of his floor pumps to carry on B.O.B., but I declined. I mean, really!  I don’t want to look too much like a Pfred—a derogatory term for a bicycle tourist. (Yes, there is a cyclist caste system, with touring cyclists--particularly hippy-looking male cycle tourists--near the bottom of the barrel; sleek, young racing road cyclists near the top . . . and the snobbiest).

The Young’s daughter arrived about midnight last night so that she and Kathy Jo could attend a mother/daughter dinner this evening at which all the husbands/fathers cook them dinner. Richard’s in for it. First breakfast and now dinner. The women in his life may get as pampered as I whose husband loves to cook and prepares most of our meals.

Thank you Young family for all of your hospitality and a wonderful Warm Showers stay! When I get a chance, I will recommend you highly on the Warm Showers website.

Field of wild mustard near Ripley, IL

I cannot remember what time I got off, but the headwind was not as strong as yesterday. The ride was enjoyable until I turned due east on 103 toward Beardstown, IL. The beginning of 103 has a couple of steep hills, but I  sacrificed my first downhill to stop on the way down and get a photo of the road sign. I was at Mile 1 of Hwy 103 in Schuyler county (see below). Schuyler (pronounced Sky-ler) is my maiden name. Sterling is my middle name, and I was just leaving Mount Sterling. There had to be some alignment of the stars or something, no?

I'm in Schuyler County, IL

As I approached Beardstown, I could see the bridge I had to cross across the Illinois River (see below). Remembering the bridge into Quincy, I was nervous. This bridge was longer but much less steep and had a small shoulder. Nonetheless, I breathed a sigh of relief when I was safely across and pedaling on Sixth Street into town. I made a pit stop at a small convenience store and then jogged down to Fourth Street and out of town toward Chandlerville. As I rode I was thinking of the fact that I had now crossed the Missouri, the Mississippi, and the Illinois rivers.

On the two-lane Beardstown-Chandlerville Blacktop as it is known, the headwind picked up and it looked black to the south, but I got no rain until north of Chandlerville. This road was lovely and twisted and turned enough to protect me from the headwind at times. Also for a good portion of it, I had a hill to the right and vast flat fields to the left. The hill also protected me from the south crosswind. I stopped often to take pix of the old farmhouses, vast fields, cemeteries, and flowers along this route.

Is this a school? Looks like it but I've never seen a country school this large.

This small cemetery looked like it had just been found and cleared. The headstones were so erroded as to be illegible, though one I could read was for John Richardson who had died in 1852, at 12 years old.

When I reached Chandlerville, I called Nan Strandburg. She was bicycling to meet me, despite having had gall bladder surgery the Friday before. I met her about 4 miles north of Chandlersville on IL-78 on a section of road that had been stripped and grooved. We were fortunate, however, in that it had an intact blacktop shoulder. Nan was riding a Bike Friday the exact color of Redbud, my Bike Friday that I sold last year. Her BF was named Razz. There were other Nan/Susan connections: I learned that Nan drives a Prius, though hers is red and mine is white, and that she had ridden with America by Bicycle, the bike touring company I staffed for four years. She had crossed country with ABB in 2010.

Nancy Strandburg with her Bike Friday, Razz, before a farm with an odd name on the way to her house

The wind was out of the southeast, so the turn north was very welcome, though shortly after meeting Nan we turned east again and then stair-stepped our way to her house which is 5 miles southeast of Havana. She is a nurse and her husband, Dan, is an X-ray technician.

These flowers have been all along my route; I think they are wild phlox.

It’s a good thing that Nan cycled out to meet me because we had 18 miles to go on very little-used back roads. We turned several times and I never would have found the way. It was a cold windy day with some rain midway to Nan’s house. I finally got to try out my O2 raincoat which is about six sizes too large but does keep one dry . . . also warm. At one point Richard Young called when I was just finished taking pix of a 2-story playhouse (see below). He wanted to know how my ride was going and also to lament that he had not started out and ridden a few miles with me. I, too, lamented the lost possibility. It would have been fun.

This is not a house; this is a two-story playhouse. Wish I could have gotten the real house in, too, for perspective.

We arrived at the Strandburg house at about 4 p.m., shortly after passing a large llama farm. We had seen fields of turkeys and pheasants and had ridden through Sand Prairie Scrub Oak Nature Area on a beautiful non-traveled road that reminded me of the Natchez Trace (see pic below that Nan took).

Me cycling in the beautiful  Sand Prairie Scrub Oak Nature Area

When I told Nan that Wendy Martin, a reporter for the Mason County  Democrat, wanted to get a photo of me when I arrived in Havana, to go with the Judith Karman Hospice press release that Valerie had sent, Nan told me that this would add 10 miles to our ride. I was not up for that. Nan knew Wendy, so called her, and Wendy and her husband, Bob, came the five miles south of town to the Strandburg farm. They arrived shortly after we did, and as I sat and ate brownies and sipped sweet tea on the side porch, they interviewed me and took pix to go with the article. Thank you Wendy for coming out to the farm and for your unexpected donation to the Judith Karman Hospice!

Daisy, the Strandburg's easy-going beagle, checking out B.O.B. and me on arrival

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 12--Palmyra, MO to Mount Sterling, IL

Out of the motel and ready to go at 7 a.m. It was raw cold, overcast, and with a strong northeast wind. Hey, I'm going NE. What's with this weather? I don't mind the cold, but the wind? Before I left OK we had days on end of SW wind. I want a little now, please.

Remember that I said I was going to stop at Hardee's for breakfast? Did. Ordered an egg & sausage muffin and an o.j. Drank the o.j but wasted my money on the biscuit. It was too salty and greasy to eat. Oh well, live and learn. While waiting for my order, I talked to a woman in scrubs who ran a free clinic for those who couldn't pay for medical services. She told me that there was a truck stop 9 miles along on US-24/MO 65E, so I thought I might get breakfast there. But when I got there, the truck stop was on the other side of the road and back a bit, so I passed it by.

My entire route today was on US-24. When I started, I had a wide, clean shoulder, a crosswind, and gentle rolling hills . . . until I headed directly east into Quincy. The headwind was brutal. Dragged myself along at 7 mph until I lost my shoulder and was faced with "The Bridge" across the Mississippi River into Quincy, IL. I should have expected this old, one-way, hump-backed, 2-lane, no shoulder bridge from my frequent rides up and down the Mississippi. Well, nothing to do but take the lane and crawl up the bridge, holding up traffic behind me. Midway up I realized that a police car was behind me, its lights flashing. It followed me up, over and to the other side, where the officer politely told me that they didn't like single cyclists on the bridge, and that cyclist groups usually called and had a lead and tail vehicle following them. I hardly heard what he said, I was so relieved to be over the bridge.    The photo at left is an old one from the Internet when the river was at flood, but gives a good idea of the bridge.

On the east side of the bridge I was faced with another short hill into the city proper. Once this was conquered, I was TOAST, so looked for a place to rest and gather my wits, which I was beginning to think had deserted me for planning this ride. I stopped briefly in a CS on the east side of town before continuing on 24E. Actually it went north so I had the strong east crosswind again. The highway was a 4-lane divided highway for a bit and then narrowed to a two-lane with a small shoulder, but grass rather than gravel to the right. This section of the road was very lovely between vast plowed fields, some planted with corn and others waiting to be planted with beans.

The old . . .

The new . . . or newer. Which do you think is more picturesque? The farmer, of course, could care less about picturesque.

When I turned directly east toward Mount Sterling, I hit a wind wall. I could crank out only 6 to 8 mph again, and I slogged along thinking that the remainder of the ride was going to take me all afternoon. It was like climbing a mountain for miles and miles. Just before  Fowler, IL, a pickup pulled up ahead of me. Guy jumped out and told me that there was no sense in struggling against the wind when he could "carry me"--his words--to Mount Sterling. I didn't argue, and B.O.B. practically vaulted into the back of the pickup. RAK # leventy hundred.

The driver's name was David and he was returning to Bluff Springs south of Beardstown having seen his surgeon in Quincy. He was a scrap metal worker and some building he was dismantling had thrown him on his neck. He'd had rotator cuff surgery back in March and was just now being told that he could resume his normal workday . . . but needed more PT until September. He dropped me at a gas station on the west side of Mount Sterling. Since I had arrived early, I cycled back to The Station Restaurant west of town and had a leisurely lunch--a delicious salad bar that included soup and homemade chocolate chip cookies for desert.

A colorful bit of downtown Mount Sterling

Then I cycled east of town to an IGA and bought some supplies I needed. I called Dan Long of the Democrat-Message who wanted to take a photo of me to go with the press release Valerie had sent. He took his photos and two doors down was the public library where I'd decided to park myself until Richard Young, my Warm Showers host for the night, was off work. The library was not open until later, so I pedaled to Renee's Cafe where I spent an hour or so warming up with coffee and a piece of blackberry pie.

Here Richard found me about 3:30 p.m. Richard is an avid cyclist as the photo below shows, a Presbyterian minister, and the warden at the Western Illinois Correctional Center, south of Mount Sterling. His wife, Kathy Jo (from Louisiana), is a pharmacy technician for a drugstore and a hospital in Rushville, IL. Richard told me that the correctional center houses 2100 offenders and has a work camp in Clayton. Kathy rides a Tour Easy recumbent and Richard is proudest of his Surly and his Bruce Gordon custom touring bicycle. They also have a tandem.

The Youngs have two dogs, a year old  Boston bull named Buster and a 15-year old "mutt" named Hank. Buster looks like Winston Churchill when he puts his chew bone in the side of his mouth.

This evening I was treated to dinner in Perry, IL, at Boondock's restaurant, a frequent stop for Richard and his riding pals. One of his riding pals, Mac Cooper, and his wife Barbara were with us tonight and treated me to dinner. Mac has ridden the Natchez Trace and with a friend did a tour up into Michigan's upper peninsula and then took The Badger, a coal fired ferry, back across Lake Michigan to Luddington, WI. We did this (in reverse) on America by Bicycle, too, when I staffed their north cross-country ride. Mac tells me that this ferry may be retired because it runs on coal.

Anyway, back to Boondock's. I had buffalo--no, not the four-footed kind but the finned kind--and Butterfinger pie for dessert. I have the bicyclist's appetite and the old person's penchant for hanging onto pounds. Have not lost even an ounce so far. It was a fun evening, though, with some great people. Thank you Richard & Kathy Jo Young for hosting me, and thank you Mac & Barbara Cooper for buying me dinner! Thank you also Barb Thiele, our waitperson at Boondock's, for immediately donating the five tip bills in her pocket after hearing of my fundraising. Can't say enough about how hospitable everyone has been.

Tomorrow I will be staying with Nan Standburg, another Warm Showers host. She has told me that she will come all the way to Mount Sterling and pick me up if it is raining and windy, which is the forecast. I will call her at nine tomorrow morning to let her know what's up. I would like to try to ride to meet her if at all possible. While I am certainly not cycling EFM (Every Fabulous Mile), I can't let this ride turn motorized. It is  supposed to get down into the forties tonight and rain is forecast for morning. We shall see. . .  Tune in again tomorrow.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day 11--Moberly to Palmyra, MO

Thank you Ted & Candice Moore for your generous donation to the Judith Karman Hospice! Those of you who have been following the blog will remember Ted & Candice from the dinner party Frank & Vickie Briscoe threw back in Nevada, MO. Hello to all my new friends in Nevada, and thank you again Ted & Candice! Enjoy your Katy Trail vacation.

I had a long day today and wanted to beat the heat, so left the Moberly Super 8 a little after 7 a.m., shortly after a breakfast of peanut-butter toast. Super manager Kim jumped to hold the door for me. Good-bye Kim, and thank you for your hospitality. I'm writing the Wyndham Group about your stellar service.

I was on US-24E all day, or at least the first 55 miles. Shouldn't have left so early because the sun was low in my eyes and probably in the eyes of eastbound drivers also. But, nothing eventful happened on the first portion of 24-E, a gentle up-and-down, shoulderless, two-lane with a 60-mph speed limit. Most  of the traffic seemed to be going west. Some miles in, there was road work, workers stopping traffic in alternate directions. For  awhile thereafter traffic passed me in small groups and I enjoyed long intervals with no traffic.

I took few pix today for two reasons: 1) there was little to take a photo of, and 2) once again I was carrying my camera in a  plastic bag because rain was predicted. There was no rain. Only belatedly did I remember to take the camera out. Palmyra is only a few miles from Hannibal, but I started seeing Mark Twain this and Mark Twain that long before I reached Palmyra.

That looks like a shoulder coming up but only the bridge and its approaches were paved shoulders

Mark Twain Lake all but dried up.The driftwood on the shoulder rubble tells you how high it's been in the past.

There was a brief shoulder out of Palmyra and then none for the next 32 miles. Then a useless shoulder with a deep rumble strip on the white line and shallow rumble strip across most of the shoulder. At mile 35, a semi laid on the horn and literally ran me off the road onto the gravel shoulder. I was so  mad I shook my fist at him. A truck coming in the other direction saw the incident and I think must have gotten on his CB (do they even use them these days?) and called his fellow truckers because all moved to the oncoming lane after that. He probably radioed: "Crazy, irate, cyclist on the road. Give her wide berth1"

R.A.K. # 5: I stopped at mile 20 and rested for about 15 minutes in the shade at a pretty roadside park. For the next 35 miles, however, there was not a drop of shade or a convenience store. I contemplated knocking on a farm door because I was suffering from the heat and was out of water. Just before I did, I came upon a CS shortly after I got on US-24E/US-36E toward Hannibal. At the CS I met Donna, and here my day's cycling ended.

I was hoping to see a buggy today but the Amish area seemed very small and then I was out in the vast open again

Donna was driving a blue pickup into which B.O.B eagerly jumped. She was from Blue Springs, MO (in western Missouri southeast of Independence) making a seven-hour drive to Peoria, IL, and was glad for my company. We chatted over the 10 miles she carried me to my motel, and I learned that she was on her way to Peoria to visit her god son, had a 21-year old son who was a physics major at Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla, that she was an artist, and her husband sold medical software and travelled a lot. She was a very pretty and pleasant woman with a long French braid. Really wish I'd the presence of  mind to get a  photo of Donna and her blue pickup.

R.A.K. #6: When Donna left me at the motel, she gave me a big hug and a $100 bill! Told me to do with it as I wished. Valerie counseled me to hold on to it for the time being, which I will do, but if I  do not need it before ride's end, it will become part of  the funds I'm raising for Stillwater's Judith Karman Hospice.

I've decided that solo is the only way to travel. People are wonderfully helpful and kind. They do not want to intrude if you are with another or others.

Palmyra sign taken from in front of the motel and furniture store; that's Hwy 24 out there, the route I will take into IL tomorrow

This motel, a Budget Inn, is a good example of "Don't judge a book by its cover." I looks like a shabby 60s roadside motel, but my room is large, tastefully decorated, the towels fluffy and the bed comfy--yes I tried it out with a nap shortly after arrival.

Budget Motel Palmyra, MO

Oops. forgot to add an interesting tidbit. When I got to the motel, I decided to have the four slices of pizza left over from last night's dinner. I'd placed them in a plastic bag in my lunchbox atop B.O.B. The pizza was HOT, not just warm, but hot, the cheese melted and gooey. Maybe I have discovered a traveling oven.

Speaking of food, I've just gotten back from Hardees where I had a swiss & mushroom burger and a large lemonade for dinner. I've never been in a Hardees before, but will probably go back for a breakfast wrap as the Budget Inn does not serve breakfast. The motel sits facing highway 24 next to a furniture store, a retail tire store, and Hardees. That's it, folks. When I went into the hotel lobby to ask about eating options I could smell the owners' delicious curry supper cooking. What a tease.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day 10--Fayette to Moberly, MO

Cousin Hansi Bloomer Tripe donated Memory Miles today in fond memory of Stephen Sheldon Bloomer, her father (and my favorite uncle), and in memory of her father's mother, Grandmother [Lydia] BloomerHansi chose Moberly, MO, because it looked like a lonely day of riding to this small Missouri town and she wanted me to think of Steve, who moved his young family to St Louis, MO, in the early 50s and started a career in TV when he became 'The Finder' on public television KETC.

'The Finder' traveled, explored, and collected interesting bits of the natural world, and what he found, he brought back to the studio for his young audience to see. Periodically, 'The Finder' organized expeditions also. A series of preparatory programs might be followed, for instance, with a tour of a farm or the exploration of a Huck-Finn-type cave along the Mississippi.

In 1956, Steve moved his young family from St Louis to Montreal, Canada, where he lived until his death in 2005. He was able to balance his careers as illustrator and art director AND return to TV where he shared his love of nature with the Canadian public as host of CBC's "This Living World." Steve's diverse talents culminated in his last extended gig--sharing his passion as an instructor in the Fine Arts Department of John Abbott College.

Of her Grandmother Bloomer Memory Miles, Hansi says: “I have great, fond memories of the times Grandmother made the trip to Missouri to visit us. I had the double bed—so always got to share with Grandmother on her visits. She and I would sit up in bed and “work” the crossword puzzle out of her puzzle book. She let me bring her a cup of coffee in the morning, telling me to use enough cream to ‘make it a pretty color.’ I always knew what that looked like.”

I will remember Steve and Grandmother Lydia again because I and others of the family have donated Memory Miles to them on various other significant days of the ride.
Well, let me tell you a little secret. Subway sandwiches are n.g. for breakfast. My sandwich, which was crisp and fresh last night went the night unrefrigerated and was soggy and dreadful this morning. Took a couple of bites and then ditched it.

I went to bed at 9 p.m. last night after taking a Celebrex tablet for my tricky hip. It must have  worked because I was up early this a.m., packed, and on the road by 7:30. I heard all sorts of sirens going by the motel as I was packing. About a mile or two from the motel I came upon the reason for the sirens. Toward the top of a hill, two cars had crashed, one was on its side blocking the road. State troopers, ambulance, local police, and firefighters were all there. I hope it was not a fatality accident, but it looked bad.

The Silver Bell Motel, Fayette, MO

I traveled on MO-240/MO-5N only four-and-a-half miles before I turned on MO-3N a much quieter farm-to-market type road with beautiful old two-story farmhouses on it and many personal farms, not the corporate farms I've encountered in places.

I'm trying to show the ribbon candy portion of  MO-3 that I was riding; not very successfully, I'm afraid

For the most part, the farms were immaculately kept with grass mowed up the the barn and out buildings, iris blooming in the yards. I didn't get a shot of a barn today as it was cloudy and spit a few drops of rain on me in the morning. I placed my camera and cell phone in a plastic bag in my handlebar bag and it was too much of a chore to get it out. The photo below is of a barn a few days back.

This farm is actually off the Katy Trail between Sedalia and New Franklin I think

Methodist church on MO-3

Got to Moberly at about ten o'clock. My elevation profile shows a peak at mile 25 and then a constant uphill into the city. I hauled out the camera and tried to capture the top of the hill when I entered Moberly (see below) but the picture doesn't capture the slog. The hill, while not steep, was very long. When I thought I was finally at the top, the road curved to the left and continued up for another quarter mile or so.

Trying to show the top of the hill into Moberly; notice the narrow paved shoulder, also
When I got to the Moberly Super 8, I was greeted by Kim Sorrels, the motel manager, who has looked after my every need and then some. I feel as though I am visiting relatives rather than staying in an impersonal motel. Kim is a great example of the hospitality shown me by complete strangers. When the motel turned out not to have a guest laundry, Kim did my laundry in the motel machines. When the nearby Walmart was 2 miles away, Kim told me that she'd drive me to it. I declined. After all, I must draw the line somewhere to maintain my self-respect.

Kim Sorrels, super manager of the Moberly, MO, Super 8

Just after I stepped out of the shower, Kim called to say that there was a reporter at the front desk wanting to interview me. This was Connie Duvall of the Moberly Monitor-Index. Since I was still in a sweat, she returned after lunch and we conducted the interview in the lobby. Connie took a couple of photos, and I imagine the story will run in tomorrow's edition. Shortly after the interview, Brennen Holtzclaw of KRES (104.7 am) called and interviewed me on the air over the phone.

I ate lunch at nearby Funny Pages Cafe, a cute little place which is set to celebrate its grand opening in this location in a couple of days. The interior is decorated with Bugs, and Sylvester, the Jetsons, etc., and has chrome stools and a 50's look. I had a tuna sandwich on toasted whole wheat and a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Comfort food, you know.

Moberly easily takes the prize for most welcoming city yet. Thank you Moberly Super 8, Moberly Chamber of Commerce, Moberly radio station KRES, and Moberly Monitor-Index! I'll be singing your praises for days to come.