Monday, July 2, 2012

No detour in the weather

Monday, July 2. Marthasville, MO to North Jefferson City, MO. 65 miles of riding in 4:46 hrs of riding.

Another really hot day. Hey, at this point I’m just expecting it to continue from here to eternity. That’s our fate unfortunately – us as well as every other poor soul who’s cycling and hiking across the US this summer. This heat wave is just going to make it a very “memorable” experience.
         Got up and did my Groundhog day thing – rising at 5 AM and working for a bit until Judy got up and then eating breakfast and then getting to the end point of the previous day, and then riding. Day in day out. Different day, different town or city – but the same freaking weather. So we got rolling at 6:45 AM with Judy riding with me for 1.5 hr out. The temp was fairly good – 71 degree – and really no one but a very few actually using the trail. Now that we’re further away from the big cities we’re seeing way less people out here. In some spots you can ride for at least an hour and not see a soul. Now this is a flat trail, but actually…it’s a 265-mile false flat going east to west and a false descent doing west to east. Riding east to west, you’re riding up-stream along the Missouri and then when the trail branches off of the Missouri, it’s still a false flat reaching the highest point on the trail somewhere between Sedelia and Clinton. So you can really feel the false flat in places. I got a chuckle out of Judy telling me that she felt like we were climbing. And I’m like, “well hell yes we’re climbing, we’ll be climbing the whole time we’re on this trail.” It’s subtle, but you can definitely feel it – especially when a headwind is blowing in your face.
         We were shaded for a good part of the first hour, so the sun was really no problem. But slowly, as it rose in the sky, those shards of shade got fewer and fewer. By the time Judy turned around at the 1.5 hr mark, that sun was just up there blazing away as usual, with occasional long patches of shade when the trail entered woodlands. But get on the floodplain out amongst all those miles of cornfields you’re out there in the sun just getting cooked like a hotdog on a rotisserie. Now we are both going sans helmets while riding on the trail, so the sweat dripping down the forehead is not quite as bad as it is with a helmet on. But still, I’m like wiping my head, temples, nose and brow like a windshield wiper. It’s just that hot and humid.
         Stopped at several of the Lewis & Clark kiosks to read up on their expedition along the river, but it got to the point to where it was so hot, and many of the kiosks were in the blazing sun, that I just continued to ride rather than stop. When I stopped to read, the sweat just started pouring off of my like a faucet. It was annoying to say the least, so I eventually bagged the last few kiosks in leu of just keeping the pedals moving and the air moving across my body.
Now most all of the towns I went through, Mckittrick, Rnineland, Buffton, they’re all just these tiny little towns with very little going on. Like Mckittrick had a population sign that read 79. Small little hamlets for sure. Bluffton, it was so small that there was not even a pop sign. Now I planned on calling Judy about 3:10 hrs into the ride just to make sure she was ok. But on the first try there was zero cell coverage in these little towns. I rode another several miles and tried, up to like Mokane and I got her with 1G and 1 bar.
         So I’d noticed that there was a detour on Rt 94, that I just rode right through on the trail (Rt 94 parallels the trail in this section), but she was going to have something coming up on the road. I told her it looked pretty mellow, maybe like a mile out of the way from what I could see, and that I’d just meet her for some support in the town of Tebbetts. Got to Tebbetts and I was just totally parched, having gone through all my water. Luckily I had been there last year in the same circumstance and found out there was this “Katy Trail Refuge” place in town where you can just get a key that hangs on a telephone pole, and go inside and get water or stay the night for 5 bucks. I got the key, unlocked the place, hit the nearest faucet, and just hammered several bottles of water from the faucet to quench my thirst. Then I went out in the shade at a picnic table and called Jude. Well, that little 1-mile detour that I had told her about was like a 30-40-mile detour. And she was having a hell of a time getting around. So we just decided that I’d wait in Tebbetts for her. And I waited and waited and like 30 min went by. Nothing.
         Called again and she said it was just a nightmare, and she was still many miles away. So I just told her to take it all the way west once back on 94 to North Jefferson and I’d ride the final 12 miles with no support. Heck, I’d done like the same damned thing last year in some intense heat, might as well do it again. So I locked up the Katy Trail Refuge and got it rolling again for the final trek. Now I’d been fighting a wind out of the SW when I entered the open areas for the better part of the late morning onward, and it was a bit of a witch. But by this time, I was really feeling it. Come out of the woodlands and hit the open floodplain, and it hits you like a brick wall, with my speed going from 15 mph to like 11 or 12. That’s how big a factor it is when you have no cover at all. So I was always looking forward to seeing the trail enter the woodlands where I’d have shade and a windbreak. Pressed on and then counted down the mile markers as I did the final 5 miles.
         And I just knew the way the day was going that when I got to the North Jefferson Trailhead that Judy would not be there. And as I pulled in – my hunch was dead on. No black van in sight. First things first – I guzzled down 2-3 bottles of water from the drinking fountain at the trailhead. Then I called Judy. She was right there, but she couldn’t figure out how to negotiate around the freeways that surround the trailhead entrance. And I can’t blame her. Nothing is marked and it’s just a maze of dirt and paved roads all around the interstates. So I just asked if she could see this giant company call ABB or something like that, it’a a big brown bldg that you can see off both the trail and Rt 94. She indicated that she was just next to it. So I rode backwards with that wonderful tailwind and the false descent for a half mile and met her in the parking area of this massive company. She was parked under a solitary tree for some shade relief in the 100+ degree heat.
         I guzzled an ice cold coke and another water bottle that had been in the ice chest. Got in a couple of pbj’s that Judy made for me, and then we drove to the north, across the Missouri River to Jefferson City for a motel. First checked out this Budget Inn for 44 bucks, but it was just a total dump of a place with these rooms that looked to be more of a flop house than a motel. Scary looking and I don’t know if I’d have solod in that one. Pretty creepy. Nope, and up the road we went to a Super 8, and then a Motel 6, for 50 bucks. Done. Clean rooom, wifi, cable, AC, refrig, microwave. I’m down with that. Hell, camping is at least 25 bucks, so we’re good here. So back to another 7-9 hrs of chilling in the AC with me working on the computer and I’m teaching Judy how to use the Kindle with the wifi and google searching.
         We’ll do a Subway in a few and then come back to the AC refuge. Shorter day to Boonville tomorrow – probably like a 50-60-mile day. The forecast is for more of the same: over 100 degrees for the next week. The fun just never ends! Late……..pete

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