Crossing into Missouri and climbing those Ozark hills

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 18, 2013

Editor’s note: David Freeze is biking coast to coast. His trek started June 10 in Oregon. He’s sending dispatches from the road to be published in the newspaper, at, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at

For most of yesterday, I was worried about the Ozark hills. They have a stout reputation among the westbounders.

None of those cyclists have done the Rockies, but they talk about how steep and never ending the Ozarks are. That was my main goal for the day, to find out. Plus I wanted to put in a long day after resting some yesterday.

Up and out early again, my first 30 miles went pretty well. I did enjoy crossing into Missouri and another great sunrise. Late morning, the humidity started to build and some of those Ozark hills got started. Some of them are so steep that I can barely climb them.

I even stopped in at a huge tractor sales facility to get some cold water, and was losing steam. No ice cream in sight. I hadn’t stopped in Golden City, Mo., then didn’t want to go off course in Everton to find a store. That means that my plan was to stop at the next town, Ash Grove, and get some ice cream. I did, and with 72 miles done by that time, I had thought about calling it a day. However, the ice cream worked and I went after those hills.

Finally, at just after 7 p.m., I pulled into Marshfield, Mo. I did find a motel with very reasonable rates, and was happy to check in.

Total mileage for today was 116. The highest temperature that I saw today was 96, and the wind served a cooling breeze when needed.

Marshfield was settled in the 1830s, with cattle grazing and dairy farming being most important. Marshfield is on the edge of the Springfield Plateau and the Ozark Highlands.

The Ozarks cover about 40,000 square miles, and the range is considered one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. It is the only mountain range between the Appalachians and the Rockies.

Tomorrow, I have no expectations. I just want to get as far through the mountains as I can. Plus, I want to stay safe. I got the news today that a male cyclist was killed last week in the area and a female remains in the hospital after being knocked off the road early one morning. Keep those prayers coming, they are greatly appreciated.

David Freeze lives in Rowan County.

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