3,000 miles done; Mississippi on horizon

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 22, 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 www.salisburypost.com, and on his blog, “Gotta Run” at blog.salisburypost.com/gottarun

It is starting to get daylight a little later in the morning, so I am getting up at 5 a.m. and on the road just a little before 6.

Leaving Ellington, Mo., this morning, some tough hills were first up. On my mind all morning was the fact that I needed to be in the bike shop at Farmington before they closed. As it turned out, the climbing wasn’t as bad as the day before, and the heat didn’t seem so bad either.

Along the way, I stopped in Centerville for some conversation and a snack. A lot of miles later, I got to Graniteville, and had my first ice cream of the day. Feeling rejuvenated, off I went toward Pilot Knob.

The Civil War battle of Fort Davidson was here, and I stopped to see the museum of that fight. One of the park rangers told me Ulysses Grant had a life-sized statue, and his wife donated two cannons that the town had just restored. Since it would have involved back tracking, I didn’t go back to see them.

Pilot Knob was on my route, and was the highest climb of the Ozarks. I loved it, though there were no signs commemorating the time that Grant served here. The road was good, and the shoulders kept me safe. Once I topped out on Pilot Knob, it was a mostly downhill ride through Doe Run and on into Farmington.

Heavy thunderstorms were building as I rolled into town. I got great directions to the Trans Am Cyclery. After 15 minutes, my pump was fixed, I had a couple more tubes and the bike was deemed ready to go. But shortly after that, I was incarcerated. The good people from Farmington had restored a historic jail for cyclists to use as they pass through. This is one of the better hostels that I have seen. It even has WiFi. Right after I got here, the storms cut loose with major wind and rain. There was a good bit of tree damage in the area.

Total mileage for today was 62, but the last of the major climbing in the Ozarks is done. Biggest news is that my mileage total for the trip is now 3,002. In some ways, I can’t believe it. The first week in mid-June with all the cold and rain now has been replaced by genuine summer weather, but the best thing is that I am getting closer to home.

If all goes well, I will cross the Mississippi tomorrow, right after going into Illinois. There is a new challenge everyday, but the rewards are many. I have spent part of the late afternoon sharing information with the other cyclists who are here. We all have our goals and we are working toward achieving them.

View David Freeze’s ride in a larger map