67.2 miles today – 281.6 total miles
Today was our first day on all roads instead of trails. Well, almost. We were on the Katy trail for just over a mile this morning before we said a final farewell and head down the road. Up to this point we had spent most of the days on bike paths.
We got a late start, almost 11 am, after a good breakfast. The first part of the day we took our time. Keith was not used to the hills and things took longer. We got to Arrow Rock (15 miles) close to 2 pm. Arrow Rock is a nice little historic town. We got a sandwich and ice cream after looking around the town a bit. We left about 2:30 and headed for Marshall, another 15 miles down the road. By the time we got to Marshall, Keith was ready to stop for the day, but the only campgrounds were 30 miles on down the road in Higginsville with only 3 hours before sunset. After a planning session, it was decided that we would try for Higginsville, but if we couldn’t make it there we would stealth camp* somewhere.
The first few miles where a challenge, but then slowly we began working together. I would lead down the hills and Keith would ride in my draft behind me, then we would pull most of the way up the hill this way. If I dropped Keith on the way up I would ride slowly at the top until he caught up and got in position in my draft again and then we would be off! We watched the sun set about a mile outside of Higginsville. Riding into town we where both really excited, not only to have gotten there, but to have had a great ride the last 30 miles!
We found the fairgrounds and began looking for the camping area. We didn’t see anything really marked but we did spot another touring cyclist with his camp and headed that way. Bill is from Sarasota Springs, Florida and also traveling the Lewis and Clark Trail. We had played leapfrog a bit yesterday an the Katy Trail and he had gone on to Arrow Rock and spent the night. It was fun chatting with Bill and sharing experiences as we setup camp.
Just as we were finishing things up neighborhood cat came for a visit. Cats are nice, but this one was very friendly. It sniffed for food, wanted in the tent, and began to climb on the tent to get inside – quickly making itself very unpopular. We put it over a 6 foot fence and that worked for a little while, until it figured out it could climb the fence. We tried water, that didn’t work. Finally I trotted the cat over to a playground the other side of the park, put the cat at the top of the playground slide (about 5 feet up) and made a hasty retreat while it figured out how to get down, hoping it would be distracted with other things by the time I was gone. So far, we haven’t seen the cat again.
It was a long day, but a very good one.
*Stealth Camp: Camping unobtrusively in an area not intended for camping.