Day Nine: Hannibal, redux

This will be short and uninteresting. We woke up refreshed after our day off and started packing up. As I brought our bags out on the porch, I suddenly realized that Lisa’s back tire was flat again – for the fourth time in seven days. (Don’t worry, I didn’t swear – or cry.) I got to work putting on a new tube, a messy job since we’d ridden through that melted tar and gravel on Saturday. When I got it on the wheel, I took it on my bike down to a gas station and inflated it.

But I was not at all confident about heading out on an 80 mile day in 100 degree heat, especially when it included another 30 mile stretch with no services – a flat tire out there would be really hard. And my feeling was that maybe this tube will last all the way to NOLA, or maybe it will last ten miles. There is a bike shop in Hannibal, and another back in Quincy, but both were closed this morning. We decided to ride out to the Hannibal shop, which was opening at noon, stop for groceries, extend our stay by a day and sort the coming days out later.

The owner of the bike shop said the rim and the tire are fine, and we’ve maybe just had a bad string of luck with tubes on that wheel. (As a point of reference, my bike has not had a flat in 2,000 miles, while Lisa has now had 4 in 500 miles.) The heat hasn’t helped. I asked him if he were us, would he keep going on it, and he said he would.

We’ll head out again tomorrow, intent on making it to Troy, MO. We’ll take this one day at a time and we’ll go as far as we can on these bikes and we’ll get to New Orleans one way or another. Our luck will change one of these days and everything will be faster, cooler, and easier than expected, right?

Thanks for all your kind thoughts, comments and wishes. It means so much to us. We are outside of our comfort zone, but we carry all of you with us.