43 miles up and down, a bad encounter and then good people saved the day.
The lovely Stanley at the bed and breakfast in Eminence warned us that today was going to be tough. He described the first 27 miles to Ellington as extremely demanding with repeated large drops followed by steep climbs.
Here’s Stanley relaxing on the porch:
As we sat down for breakfast we mulled over this prospect. We had set the alarm for 0615 with the intention of being on the road by 0730. This went wrong over breakfast. We met a delightful couple from St. Louis called Greg and Kelly and we talked and talked. Kelly is a nurse so the conversation flowed easily. We finally left the B&B at about 1000 our latest start.
Greg & Kelly:
Virtually immediately we were in among the hills and sweating . The humidity prevents evaporation and our wet clothes just cling to us and stay wet. I really struggled on one or two of the extremely steep hills as I just couldn’t cool off and was starting to worry.
Eventually it began to be slightly less hilly. We were still working hard to progress but it was a little easier. Then, from nowhere a sad thing happened. We were struggling a bit going up s hill when I heard a pickup truck behind me. The passenger was shouting something but I couldn’t hear if it was a problem or encouragement. I pulled to the side and as the vehicle went past he raised a finger, looked at me and shouted “fuck you”.
Summary of the above:
He does not reflect the people of Missouri
He does not reflect the people of the United States.
He represents himself and his family only.
He was the first person in about 3000 miles to be directly rude and abusive.
We felt upset but dismissed him as irrelevant as quickly as we could.
Arriving in Ellington (our break point) we went for an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Checo’s where the food was great and the waitress Meagan was totally lovely. In conversation the encounter with the fool in the truck came up. She was clearly annoyed and frustrated that someone acted like this. Totally unnecessarily but very kindly she settled our bill for us . Meagan clearly did this to try to leave us with a nicer impression of her community, a caring and thoughtful thing to do.The guy in the car could learn much from this young lady.
The lovely Meagan:
About 13 miles to Centerville when we left Ellington and first we bumped into the Sheriff, Tom Volner is standing for re-election and if I could I’d vote for him tomorrow! He turned his car round to come back up the road to see us and to check if we needed anything. Tracey told him the story from earlier and we chatted about attitudes and how some people let themselves down. Tom was extremely kind and asked if he could help us in any way. We asked if he knew a place to stay in Centerville and he told us he would drive into town and see his friend Ron who owns the Butterfly Inn and ask him to save a room for us. We just started back on the road when a cyclist appeared in the distance. Carl is a maths teacher from California cycling East to West raising money to build a school in Guatamala. He is a highly motivated and impressive guy and we enjoyed talking to him.
Carl and Sheriff Tom:
Here we met Jim who is cycling to San Francisco from New York and is not only a great bloke but very very funny. We sat up till late talking routes and road stories finally getting to bed about 0030.