Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 30, 2007 Hannibal, MO

Today was not a good riding day for me. I only rode 8.66 miles. I felt very sluggish and just could not get moving. The day started off in a flat area but I just could not get my legs going correctly. It was raining and cold for a girl from Arizona. I decided to sag. I flagged down the SAG as it went by to discover two other women were already in. Buy mile twenty miles there were five people that wanted to sag and the sag wagon only holds 4 plus the driver. We then flagged down the van and four of us transferred to it. At mile 30 we had a full holds 14 people. The day was rainy and the road was bad. Lots of traffic and no shoulder. I think we ended up with less than half of the people completing the ride.
Our van stopped in front of The Bent Tree Gallery in Clarksville, Missouri on our way to Hannibal. I was able to do some quick shopping. In the window was a beautiful handmade basket. I fell in love with it and went in and bought it. They are shipping it home to Tucson.

Once our van load of people were dropped off at our hotel everyone rushed to her room to take a hot shower and to change into dry clothes. We went to a nearby restaurant to grab a quick lunch. Then 9 of us piled into a mini van taxi and went to the Mark Twain House in Hannibal.

You know me. I can find a yarn shop anywhere..even one called Twain's Yarn in Hannibal.

Finally Jenna was walking around Hannibal in her biking shorts and a bicyclist asked her if she was Patty. Apparently Barry has been following this blog. Jenna went and found me and here is a picture of the two of us.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

May 29, 2007 Grafton, Il

I am stilling in a very darling coffee shop in Grafton, Il called Beyond the Bubble. I left my camera in the room so I cannot include a picture.

Lewis and Clark statue in the Mississippi River below Edan Bridge at we left St. Louis this morning. Their dog Seaman is with them. Unfortunately the sun was at the wrong angle.

Another similiar statue at the Camp River Dubois visitors center.

A mural dedicated to the Underground Railroad along the Mississippi as we were leaving St. Louis.

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge along Route 66. This area of Route 66 was closed to cars and made a purfect bicycle route. The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge spans one of the most scenic areas of the Mississippi River. When it was completed in 1929 it shortened travel time between St. Louis, Missouri and Edwardsville, Illinois. It is 5,353 feet long and is one of the longest continuous steel truss bridges in the country. One of the most distinctive features of the Chain of Rocks Bridge is the 22-degree bend in the middle. This feature allowed southbound riverboats to align with the current, slip between the Bridge's piers and avoid crashing into two water intake towers midstream just south of the Bridge. The Chain of Rocks Bridge became a part of Route 66 in 1936 and was used until 1968 when the opening of the toll-free I-270 bridges caused a decline in traffic.

For more on the bridge go to

Along the way to Grafton I stopped at two visitor centers. The first was the Camp River Dubois Center and the other was National Great Rivers Museum at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam

An interesting site along the way.

Also along the way,_Illinois

May 28, 2007 Rest Day St. Louis, MO

St. Louis has a very beautiful downtown area. We stayed at the Adam's Mark Hotel right across the street from the Old Court House and the Gateway Arch.

My roommate had family in the St. Louis area so the first she stayed with them so I had a room to myself. That evening I took a long hot bath and relaxed. When I woke up I walked around the corner to Starbucks then wondered over to the Old Courthouse. The opened at 8:00 and had a wonderful exhibit on the Dread Scott Decision. All my old American History Classes have really started to come back to me on this trip.

After I finished with the tour of the courthouse I went back to the hotel to go with the van and some of the other women to a bike shop. I needed to buy a replacement spare tire for my bike. Well that trip turned out to be a bust as they did not have my size.

When we got back to the hotel I met up with Edith and we went to the Gateway Arch. I actually made it to the top and here is proof. Notice the 630 foot sign behind me.

A view of Busch Stadium from the Arch

Edan Bridge into St. Louis from the Gateway Arch. Another of the bridges that I Have crossed on this trip.

The Old Courthouse from the Arch. Our hotel is the brown building on the right.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

May 27, 2007 St. Louis, MO

Today was supposed to be a short ride into St. Louis, only 48 miles. Well, we are not sure if the cue sheet was wrong with mileage or if we all took a wrong turn but it ended up to be a 60 mile day. Fortunately it was on flat lands because a lot of us were tired from yesterday's hills.
We began the day with a three mile ride to the ferry landing to take the ferry across the river to Illinois. Here we are waiting to board.

And on the ferry.
The ferry was scheduled to leave at 9:00 but left 10 minutes early. Jenna was there in time for the 9:00 ferry but not for the early departure at 8:50.

Never one to miss a photo opportunity, here I am in front of the first Illinois marker I saw. Illinois is our sixth state.

A close up of the poppies by the road sign.

Modoc Rock Shelter
This area reminded me of the Dordogne region where Greg and I bike with our friends Rob and Lee. It even looked the same.

In Randolph County, Illinois, the rock cliff at the edge of the Mississippi River valley was undercut by Ice Age floods. The undercut section of the cliff provided shelter from wind and rain, and Native Americans took advantage of it at least 9,000 years ago. The Modoc Rock Shelter, as it is called today, was used by Archaic hunting and gathering peoples who relied on nearby flood plain and upland resources. Over 28 feet of sediment in the shelter contains artifacts spanning more than 6,000 years of prehistory.

How did 28 feet of dirt end up in the shelter? The elevation of the Mississippi River flood plain has increased over time. Each time the river floods, it transports dirt eroded upstream and deposits it downstream. Over the last 10,000 years, the Mississippi River has been slowly filling its valley. The change in flood plain elevation also affects Mississippi River tributaries, which also deposit dirt in their valleys. As a result, over time, dirt has slowly accumulated in Modoc Rock shelter, burying the remains of previous occupations.

Based on an analysis of artifacts from the site archaeologists discovered that 9,000 years ago, the rock shelter was used for short-term camps by small groups of hunters By 6,000 years ago, Modoc Rock Shelter was used for a long-term base camp by several families involved in the activities of everyday life. Four thousand years ago, the shelter again was used by small hunting parties.

Fellow rider Mary and I could not resist these adorable critters. We both wanted pictures for our grandchildren. Unfortunately no other riders stopped to take pictures and it took miles before we were able to catch up with the group again. This was potentially a problem because there were major errors on today's que sheets. A word to my grandchildren...enjoy these pictures!

We are staying at the Adam's Mark in St. Louis. Because it is difficult to set up our mobile kitchen in the parking lot we had dinner on Woman Tours in the dining room. Here is a sample of what was offered. OK, I admit there was food other than deserts but who cares?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

May 28, 2007 Ste. Genevieve, Mo

Missouri is not flat. We are in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. Today's ride was 65 miles. My total riding mileage is now at 857 miles.

We are now in the press. Yesterday in Cape Girardeau a local reporter came by and interviewed a few of us. Go here to read the article in the Southeast Missourian.

This morning we were joined on our ride by a rider from the local riding club. He came in very handy when Edith had problems with her water bottle holder.

Edith and Larry after a successful repair of her water bottle cage.

We took several breaks along today's ride to help us recover from the hills. We stopped by a farm that had these darling Mother and baby goats. The owner came out and spoke with us for a bit. He had retired about eight years ago from working in the LA, California area and moved here.

Riding is all about the food and when several of our riders visited the local bike shop in Cape Girardeau they were told about a resturant in Perryville that had great pies. Of course, we could not resist.

I went for the cherry pie.

Today was the first day that we were on what is called The Great River Road.

Friday, May 25, 2007

May 25, 2007 Cape Girardeau, MO

Today we rode to Cape Girardeau, Mo. The ride was approximately 49 miles long. We left the hotel around 7:00. There was very little to see along the way so I only stopped a couple of times, once at a gas station where we bought drinks and then twice at the Sag wagon to refill my water bottle.

Once I got to Cape Girardeau I went with four other women for lunch at a restaurant called Panera Bread. Apparently there are around the country but none are in Tucson. I reminded me a lot of Beyond Bread.

After lunch we took a shuttle to the historic downtown section of Cape Girardeau. This bridge is the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge. After seven years of construction it opened to traffic in December of 2003. It was named for an eight-term Congressman.

This is one part of the many murals on the river wall. This wall holds back the river during flood stages. It is 1.1 miles long and has an average height of 20 feet above and below the ground.

This was the first panel of the Mississippi River Tales Mural. I loved it because it showed the Carolina parakeet that once lived in this area. It reminded me of the parrots that once lived in the mountains of southern Arizona.

This is the Common Pleas Courthouse completed in 1854. These 59 steps were the first concrete construction in Missouri outside of St. Louis or Kansas City. The cement was originally ballast for a ship that came from England.

This great old Coca-Cola sign on the side of a building speaks for itself. A 3 cent Coke relieves fatigue!

A section of the Missouri Wall of Fame. It is over 500 feet long and portrays the images of 45 famous Missourians. Those depicted on the wall include:
Burt Bacharach
Josephine Baker
Thomas Hart Benton The painter.
Senator Thomas Hart Benton U.S. Senator from Missouri 1821-1851. Served 5 terms.
Yogi Berra
George Caleb Bingham
Susan Elizabeth Blow, founder of first public kindergarten
Omar Bradley
George Brett
Lou Brock
Jack Buck
August Busch, of Anheuser-Busch
Calamity Jane
Dale Carnegie
George Washington Carver
Kate Chopin
Walter Cronkite
T. S. Eliot
Don Faurot, University of Missouri football coach
Eugene Field
Redd Foxx
Joe Garagiola, baseball player and sportscaster
Linda M. Godwin
Betty Grable
Jean Harlow
Langston Hughes
John Huston
Jesse and Frank James
Scott Joplin
Rush Limbaugh
Stan Musial
Marie Elizabeth Oliver, creator of the state flag of Missouri
Rose O'Neill
James Cash Penney
Marlin Perkins, host of Wild Kingdom
John J. Pershing
Vincent Price
Joseph Pulitzer
Ginger Rogers
Tom Sawyer
Dred Scott
Jess Stacy, swing pianist
Harry S. Truman
Porter Wagoner, country musician
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Tennessee Williams

A close up of a section of the mural.

My roommate, Jenna, said we pretty much covered the things of interest in town. That is except for the Rush Limbaugh hometown tour which included the hospital in which he was born and the studio in which he did his first broadcast. We both decided to pass on it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

May 24, 2007 Charleston, MO

Wow, what a day. We started in Tennessee, rode some in Kentucky and finished in Missouri. Today's mileage was somewhere around 79 miles. I forgot to start the Garmin when we first started riding and forgot to turn it off when we took a ferry across the Mississippi. It was longer than scheduled because Edith and I took a wrong turn at Reelfoot Lake and had to backtrack to the Visitor's Center. My total mileage is now 741 miles. Today's pace was was over 14.5 mph. Now I have to admit that was aided by a tail wind that was pretty strong.

The first stop we made after Edith and I corrected our navigation error was the Visitor's Center at Reelfoot lake. To explain Reelfoot Lake I am going to copy a handout I got there.

"Reelfoot Lake is a by-product of the 'New Madrid Earthquakes.' A series of 1,874 recorded tremors centered generally about 70 miles southwest of the lake, took place from December 16, 1811, until March 8, 1812. The 'hard shock' came at 3 AM Friday, February 7, 1812. These shocks could be felt over an area of one millions square miles from Canada to the eastern seaboard and New Orleans. When the savage tremors subsided, Reelfoot Lake was born and thirty to fifty thousand square miles of land had undergone vast topographical changes, most of which are visible today."

While at the visitor's center we were able to see this baby barn owl being cared for by park staff. Yes it is real.

The first of our two state crossings today

Then we took a Ferry across the Mississippi River to Missouri.

Bikes and bikers on the Ferry.

And finally our fifth state of the trip.

Much of our biking these first two weeks has been along the Mississippi River Trail. These signs are along the road.