Day 49: Friday, June 13th

Marshfield, MO to Golden City, MO

We left the hotel not sure how far we wanted to go that day.  We ran into some riders going eastbound.

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We found Jonathan again and he told us he wanted to end up in Golden City, MO tonight and Mike had left very early to get to Kansas.  This encouraged Phil to try to get to Golden City as well, which would be an 84 mile day.  That would make it our longest mileage day yet.  Linda was unsure about it, but agreed to try for it.

We passed by some interesting places and even found some people on horseback.

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We took a rest at Ash Grove, MO and found a scale that could weigh our bikes.  We got help and lifted our bikes onto the hanging scale.  Phil’s bike weighed 84 lbs and Linda’s bike weighed 97 lbs (this included extra food we had packed with us).  We decided it might be time to send more stuff home.  We met some awesome people in Ash Grove before we went on our way.


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We finally made it to Golden City, MO. We found the city park where we could camp and found a baseball game going on there.  There was a shower and bathrooms there, but there was also a lot of people there.  We wanted to just relax.  Phil started talking to some strangers and one invited us into their home to take a shower.  Their backyard bordered the park, so it was easy for us to get to.  We got to take a nice hot shower in private and then got to meet April and Scott.  They had us sign their log book of cyclists they had started just that year.  We had great conversation, ate some of the food we had and watched a episode of “Undercover boss.”  April even did our laundry for us.2014-06-13 20.03.49

We then went back to the park to set up our tent.  The baseball game was over and people were starting to leave.  A few families stayed and continued to play in the park.  It got late fast and people were still making noise in the park.

As the last people left with their screaming children we were relieved that we would finally get some sleep.  Then someone in a truck with no muffler started driving around and in the park.  They did a couple of doughnuts in the gravel parking lot, raced down the alleyway and then drove through someone’s yard.  They finally left between 11:30pm and midnight.


Day 48: Thursday, June 12th

Houston, MO to Marshfield, MO

We left Houston and within a few miles we had cyclist Jonathan and Mike catch up with us.  We rode with them for a little while to the first town we came upon.

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It looked as if it might storm and rain was in the forecast.  We decided to keep going and ran into very little rain.  We arrived in Hartville, MO and stopped at the subway for some lunch.  We met some very nice folks there.

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We started off toward Marshfield, MO and we ran into some rain.  We made it to Marshfield and we were ready for hotel.  We first stopped at a grocery store and stocked up on some food.  We then headed to the Holiday Inn Express.  We checked in and they had specific rooms they usually gave to cyclists due to it being easy to maneuver the bikes in and out of the rooms.  Linda was quite disappointed when she found no microwave and refrigerator in the room, but the hotel clerk let her use the microwave behind the desk and use the refrigerator in the staff kitchen.

We ate, showered and got ready for the next day.


Day 46-47: Tuesday, June 10th to Wednesday, June 11th

Eminence, MO to Houston, MO

We got a free ride into Eminence for breakfast from the people who own the cabins.  We met back up with Lisa and Melinda at the diner and then got going.  This young person passed us a few times on his four wheeler.

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The weather was cool and the terrain was not horrible.  We knew the weather was calling for scattered thunderstorms that day.  We started to see the sky start to darken to one side and we thought we might miss it.  The wind then starting picking up and we heard and saw the rain coming down the road.  We threw on our rain coats and took cover under someone’s car port next to their house.  Phil attempted to knock on the door, but no answer.

After a few minutes, it was continuing to storm with thunder and lightening, a young woman came to the side door and saw if we were okay.  She disappeared for a few more minutes and then came back again to make sure we were okay.  Phil asked if we could step in until the weather cleared and she agreed.  She said she lived there with her grandmother.

After a few minutes her grandmother came into the room we were in and told us to please sit down and make ourselves at home.  We waiting at least 20 minutes for the storm to pass.  When the worst was over we got back on the road and it soon stopped raining altogether.

 2014-06-10 10.49.13We met this guy biking east and he is from Canada.  He said his flag makes cars give him more room when passing.

 2014-06-10 08.57.49  Some scenery from the day.

We got into Houston and met some construction workers outside of KFC/Taco bell.  They were trying to clean up some sewage spill and it smelled pretty bad.  We met Lloyd and got directions from him to the city park we were to camp in and he also recommended to us the Lazy L Motel.

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We were not sure what we wanted to do, so we stopped and ate at KFC/Taco Bell first.  As we were eating, we saw a touring cyclist going by.  Phil flagged him down and turns out he was looking to camp in the city park as well and he had person behind him.  We firmed up our directions with other locals while the other touring cyclists got into town.

We arrived at the park and found out that cyclists swim free at the pool there. Unfortunately the hot water heater was down so we had cold showers.

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After everyone had settled in we had a brief thunderstorm pass through so we were happy to be under the pavilion.
As we started to get ready to turn in for the night a few teenagers turned on the lights to play volleyball and proceeded to make a lot of noise until 10:30-11:00 at night.

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Wednesday, June 11th- Rest

Phil was too tired from being up late to go on. We ended up deciding to take a rest day. We did our laundry and ate breakfast right across the street at “The Eatin Place.”  Phil got his hair cut and we decided not to return to the city park in favor of getting quality sleep. We checked in at the Lazy L which had been recommended to us the day before. There we got better rest.

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Day 45: Monday, June 9th

Centerville, MO to Eminence, MO

We were told that between Ellington, MO and Eminence, MO would be the hardest part of the Ozarks from what we heard from cyclists riding east.  We would hit Ellington that day and planned to end in Eminence.  We started out and while it was mountainous and steep at times, it was nothing compared to the steep grades in Virginia and Kentucky.  However, it was a taxing day completing almost 40 miles in that type of terrain.  The best part by far of the Ozarks was the long down hill roller coaster hills.  Linda was able to clock 42 mph.  Phil beat her out by 2 mph at 44 mph.  We had intermittent rain all day and at times it was heavy.

We were beginning to feel as if the hills would never end when on a down hill we saw a sign for cabins for rent!  We were ready to stop for the day as it was starting to get later in the day and the rain was continuing to fall.  Melinda and Lisa were behind us so before renting a cabin that could sleep 2-4 people, we decided to consider them as well.

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Once they arrived, they decided they would rather get to town then stop, it was only another 7 miles.  Phil debated for a while what we should do.  He wanted to be able to get breakfast in the morning and we were in the middle of nowhere.  A compromise was made and we stayed in the cabin and included in the price was a ride 7 miles into town by the owner so Phil could get breakfast.

We settled in for the night.  Linda cooked dinner in the stove and then went in to relax.  We both laid down around 7pm and fell asleep until 10pm.  Linda got up then to do some housekeeping for about an hour and then fell back to sleep and slept through the night.  We were tired.

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Day 44: Sunday, June 8th

Farmington, MO to Centerville, MO

We had a lot of excitement with the Country Days Fair but got to sleep later than we would have liked.
We slept in and debated on taking a rest day.  Melinda and Lisa had left some eggs in the fridge that we were welcome too.  Linda made some breakfast and we decided to continue on but did not end up on the road until 9:30.

We took a break at Johnson Shut-Ins State park and Phil was very tired from not getting enough sleep.  We took a rest and ate some snacks but were too tired to go ride down and see the Shut-Ins which where waterways that were “shut-in” by rocks creating pools of water to swim.

After resting for about an hour we continued on to Centerville and found Melinda and Lisa again.  They had set up camp on the Courthouse lawn right near the sheriffs office.  Many cyclists camp there on their way through.  The bathrooms are left open all night for the cyclists to use.  We got to talk with the policeman there and then headed for the only restaurant in town and had some dinner.  We set up camp and had to put on our rain fly as it did start to rain and rained during the night.

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Day 43: Saturday, June 7th

Sainte Genevieve, MO to Farmington, MO

We got a great night sleep at the Tiger’s Den Bed and Breakfast.  We got ourselves packed up, visited the tigers again and went to our scheduled breakfast time at 8:30.

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We started on our way after checking the weather intently.  We knew we were going to get wet today and had our rain gear ready to go.  We were able to do our first 10 miles without rain and the hill continued.  Our second 10 miles we had a lot of rain all the way to Farmington, MO.  We heard a little thunder but did not see any lightening.  We got into Farmington and went for the first shelter we found which was a gas station.  We got a few snacks and figured out how to get to the hostel in town.

We called the local police, as the hostel has been converted from an old jail house, so it’s owned by the city.  As we left the Gas station it started pouring down rain.  It was like taking a shower minus the soap.  We went through town and found out we had arrived for the Annual Country Days festival.  We stopped to take some pictures and a we heard “Hey! Touring Cyclists!” from behind us.  We turned and got to meet Jeneen and Madi McEntire.  Jeneen said she loves talking to and welcoming cyclists into town since her husband, Brian, had done the TransAm in 2011.  She and Madi (who was also Miss Country Days Queen) invited us back to the park to watch the country concert later that evening.

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We continued to the Hostel and met back up with Lisa and Melinda.  We were super impressed with the hostel.  There were 3 rooms with 3 bunk beds in each room, a main room  with TV, couches and kitchen.  Bathroom with 2 showers and 2 toilets as well as a laundry room.  The Hostel is called “Al’s Place” named after a local bicycle enthusiast who had passed away from cancer at the age of 49.

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The “TransAm Cyclery” was across the street and Phil wanted to get a larger cog so he could more easily climb hills without too much force.  He was able to successfully do so and also get his broken pedal replaced with new pedals.

After the bike was done we went down to find our new friends down at Country Days.  We found them and met Brian.  We had a fabulous time with them under a white gazebo in the park.  It poured down quite a few times and then the sun came out.  We got a lot of tips and tricks for Brian about the TransAm and had a great time.

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We said good-bye to the McEntire’s and headed back to the hostel.  We met Charlie there, a Eastbound cyclist and got to talk to him about our terrain ahead.  We decided we’re not looking forward to the Ozark mountains ahead.

Day 42: Friday, June 6th

Chester, IL to Sainte Genevieve, MO

We woke up early after staying up pretty late with the other riders.  Phil had a good audience to laugh at his puns as they were enjoying being outside of the dry counties of Kentucky.

5am came too early and we probably should have stayed in bed.  We were both really cranky most of the morning and took it out on one another for about half the morning.

We went to cross the bridge into Missouri when Phil realized he had left his phone back at the hostel.  As we headed back up the hill into Chester again, we ran into our friends from last night so we pulled over to see if they might have picked up Phil’s phone.  They had not, but a pick up truck saw us stopped and pulled over to see if we were alright.  Phil asked if he could get a ride back up to the hostel and the driver agreed.  Linda stayed with the bikes.

When Phil returned he let Linda know a police escort was on their way to take us across the bridge.  The driver had told Phil it was the safest way to go.  We pulled over to the welcome center and waited.  Very quickly the officer arrived and he followed us with his lights on across the bridge.

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After a little  flat terrain, Missouri showed us what she was really made of.  The hills became relentless and we still were having a stray coal truck and tractor trailer barreling down the road. We stopped at a convenience store out of St. Mary’s, MO and then continued on.

It became evident that Phil was too tired to even be riding.  We ended up stopping at a shady spot to rest and eat some lunch.

After resting up we continued down the hills, knowing from the maps they would become a little gentler. It was still a struggle and Phil began wondering if we’d make it to our planned destination of Farmington, MO with him being so fatigued before the day even started.

We then saw a sign for Crown Ridge, which said it had a restaurant, tours and Lodging only 1.3 miles away!  There had been nothing on the maps about lodging, so we decided to check it out.  It turns out that Crown Ridge is a Tiger Sanctuary and the tours were of the Tigers.  Linda became very excited over this.  We had to call the number to see if they had lodging available for the night and they did right on site with the Tigers (they also had lodging at their winery, 9 miles down the road).  We took a room, a little more pricey then we wanted to pay, but worth it for the night.  And we got too see tigers!

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Day 41: Thursday, June 5th

Carbondale, IL to Chester, IL

We got a photo of the great staff at the Best Western before leaving in the morning.

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We were stopped to read our map in Murphysboro when a couple touring across America rolled up behind us.  Becky and Keith are also heading West.

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There are two route options from Murphysboro IL to Chester IL, a northern and a southern that follows the Mississippi River and is flatter.  We chose the latter.

Our older map did not list a food stop along this stretch, but one did exist.  The Bottoms Up Bar and Grill was excellent.  It was at perfect timing because we were hungry and ready to eat. The food was delicious.

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Shortly after leaving the restaurant, we got our first view of the Mississippi River!

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We then got out to the main road into Chester, our last stretch. We must have hit the road on a bad day as it was LOADED with coal trucks that we’re going at a high rate of speed.

We were only a couple miles from town when two coal trucks passed Linda, the second a little to close for comfort. Linda let out a scream in frustration and took off as fast as she could toward the shoulder up ahead and pulled over.  Linda told Phil she would not go another mile on this road and we’d have to get a ride.

However, we noticed an alternate route into Chester.  Ironically, this other route was labeled as the truck by-pass but few trucks were turning on to it.  As our luck would have it, once we turned onto the road, a coal truck pulled onto the road as well. Linda thought she would go insane.

The alternate road along the river was actually very nice and much more enjoyable.  We just had to then zig zag through town to the bike hostel which was all up hill. It was the hardest miles of the day and Linda’s nerves were shot.

When we finally got to the hostel at the Eagles Club, we met up with Becky and Keith and other touring cyclists they had been riding with.  Lisa and Melinda showed up later so we had a full house.  There was a total of ten cyclists at the hostel.

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We all relaxed and ate on the deck at the Eagles Club while watching the volleyball league play.

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Day 38-40: Monday, June 2nd to Wednesday, June 4th

Eddyville, IL to Carbondale, IL


Monday, June 2nd 

Phil and Linda packed up early in the morning and left Hayes Canyon Campground while Philipp slept in.


We passed by this cool mailbox!  These people must get a lot of airmail!!!!!

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We met touring cyclists Victor and Amy.  Very cool folks!

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Philipp caught up with us about ten or fifteen miles from Carbondale.  The three of us then deviated slightly off the TransAm route to go direct to our hotel in Carbondale.  On the way, we missed a turn that was unmarked.  About a half mile down the road we realized we missed our turn and so we turned around.  This nice man passed us on the road but pulled over ahead of us to talk with us.  He was aware of the bike race across America and was interested in our trip as well.  He also told us where the road was that we missed and how to get to the hotel.

Sorry, forgot your name!  A result of being two weeks behind on blogging 😦

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The three of us arrived at the Comfort Inn, checked in and then got showers.  After, Phil and Linda walked across the street to Boondocks Seafood Co. Bar & Grill for dinner while Philipp stayed in the room and ate what he had with him.

Later that evening a thug was talking very loud on his cell phone in the hallway.  Phil got out of bed, opened our door, and saw the man walk into the pool room and then also saw the night clerk at the other end of the hall and yelled to him: Yo!!!! while pointing to the pool room where the loud thug was.  The clerk went to the pool room and addressed the issue.

Later that night and into the early hours of the morning, noise in the hall continued to be a problem.  We were at the end of the building opposite the front desk and near the pool, stairs, and an exit/entrance.  People kept coming and going and doors were loud every time they were opened and shut.  Phil called the front desk and threatened to call the police.

Tuesday, June 3rd

We all woke up and had the complimentary breakfast.  Then Phil and Linda went to the front desk to discuss the noise problem.  We got our money back and did not pay for our stay plus our checkout time was extended until 2pm.

Philipp packed up and left while we stayed until close to 2pm to rest more.  We checked out around 2pm and then biked a couple miles to Walmart before checking in at another hotel for the night since we did not get good sleep the night before.

We checked in at the Best Western and then walked across the parking lot to Moe’s Southwest Grill for dinner while a room was being cleaned for us.  We received 20% off with our key cards because the owner of the hotel also owns the restaurant.  After we ate we went back to our room only to find that it smelled like smoke.  The front desk clerk said that the person who had been in the room prior had lost their home to a fire and that may have been why the room smelled like smoke.   Either way, she said that we would receive a discount.

Back when we were at the bike shop in Owensboro Kentucky, the tech had discovered a slight bulge on Phil’s rear tire.  They did not have the tire we needed so we ordered one through a bike shop in Carbondale Illinois.

By the time we checked in, it was too late to get to the bike shop and Phil was still exhausted from the night before.  We would have to go tomorrow which would mean a late start or another rest day.  We decided to take one more rest day.

Soon after checking in, Linda walked to the Kroger in the same complex to get some groceries.  On the way to Kroger Linda noticed a store called The Great Outdoors and checked it out first.

We had Specialized jackets that we thought were waterproof but they had not kept us dry.  Linda saw Columbia brand waterproof rain jackets for sale and called Phil to have him come check them out.  Phil walked over and we decided we liked them.  We then walked to the next store over called Cool Spoons and got some frozen yogurt.

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Wednesday, June 4th

The bike shop did not open until 10am.  We arrived as soon as they opened since it was supposed to rain later in the day.  We got there and the owner was able to get Schwalbe to warranty the tire since it seemed to be defective.  After getting the tire replaced, we then went to the Natural/Organic Market down the street and had some lunch before heading back to the hotel.

After we arrived back at the hotel, Linda went to Kohl’s to get another bathing suit.  While Linda was at Kohl’s, the front desk clerk gave Phil two vouchers for free chips and salsa at Moe’s Southwest Grill.  Phil headed over and Linda met him there.

We then worked on the blog and watched the rain come down.  There were a few tornado watches in effect around our area, but no warnings.  We were happy to be at a hotel and not tenting and we slept well too.





Day 37: Sunday, June 1st

Cave-in-Rock, IL to Eddyville, IL


The restaurants in Cave-In-Rock were closed so we planned to stop in Elizabethtown to get breakfast.

We had been told by a couple whom we met on Saturday at the Cafe in Cave-In-Rock that they had a bicycle rest stop in front of their house about seven miles down the road. We stopped to rest and fill up our water bottles.  Their dog was friendly too!


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Elizabethtown was right next to the Ohio River and had some nice views.  We ate at a great diner in town.

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We continued down the road and eventually Philipp caught up with us.  The sky was looking more like it might lose its hold on the stored water that was calling itself home in the heavy clouds.  As we got closer to Eddyville we got caught in the rain and saw lightning, so we took shelter under someone’s car port.

After the weather cleared, we continued the mile or so we had to go to Eddyville and turned into the first convenience store we found.  There we ate and decided what we should do.  We were all tired from the terrain that day and we weren’t quite sure what the weather was going to do.  As we went out to leave the store, it started to downpour.

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One of the locals told us that there was a Community Center a block away that had a pavilion and that cyclists sometimes stay there.  We decided to check it out.

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After we arrived at the pavillion, Philipp went and knocked on some doors around the Community Center and was told by one neighbor to talk to the Mayor whom lived right behind the Community Center.  He then walked over to the Mayors house and knocked on his door.  The Mayor came over on his golf cart and unlocked the facility for us to use for the night.

However, when there was a break in the bad weather we got back on our bikes in search of something with more ammenities.  We found the Hayes Canyon RV Park & Campground which offered lodging.  They also had a laundry facility which we needed.  Hayes Canyon Campground is primarily used by folks whom bring horses with them to use the trails in the area.

We checked in at the office/camp store when we arrived.  We were offered a choice between a cabin or an RV.  We all thought it would be cool to stay in the RV plus Phillipp would have his own private room.

Soon after checking in, we were greeted by the camp owner’s little girl who saw our bikes and instantly got super excited.  She ran into their home which was attached to the office and soon emerged with kiwis for us.  Her younger brother joined in the fun too and also brought us each one piece of fruit!

Their mother whom checked us in, told us that her children get very excited to see touring cyclists and always bring them whatever fresh fruit they have on hand upon arrival.  We each got two pieces of fresh kiwi fruit, one from each child!


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We were able to do laundry and take our showers.  We then cooked some dinner and got ready for bed.  It had been a tiring day.