We used this as a driving day to get back on course, and went from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau three times because of the absence of one-way car rental drop off options through Enterprise and seemingly all rental car companies in this state. (Again the car leapfrog: drive down in one car, rent a second car at the destination, drive back to where we started with two cars, turn one in at the airport, return to the destination in the remaining car.)
We left early, and drove into a terrible storm right after we had stopped for some coffee at a St. Louis Bakery (which by all appearances was a Panera but with a different name); the storm was severe enough that we exited highway 55 and parked under a gas station overhang with several other drivers to wait it out. The wind was fierce and the rain was cascading in waves down the pavement and the lightning was close and we kept saying “maybe this is all working out for the better” as we would have been riding our bikes from a nearby state park if all had gone according to plan. There is still a tornado watch in effect as I write this, and we can hear thunder from the porch of our AirBNB.
Our lodging plans have flip flopped from what we expected to be doing. Originally we were going to camp for a 2-3 night stretch, then have a night at a hotel or other vacation rental so we could do laundry and have A Really Good Shower, and continue on following that pattern. Now we are on the “camp only when we have to” plan, which is leaving us more refreshed and ready for whatever wacky or challenging thing is going to happen next.
Tonight we are staying in an 1880s cottage in the old part of Cape Girardeau, about a block from the river, which is very charming and tastefully appointed. The owner is a musician who wrote a country song titled “A Man Holdin’ On (To A Woman Lettin’ Go)” that did pretty well when it came out in 1998, and his mother ran a candle shop from the other side of the building until recently…much of the inventory is still in the shop and the whole building is an aromatherapy dream. The A/C is out so we have fans on and are spending time outside and we have been catching up on the history of Cape Girardeau. A Civil War battle took place here, and Ulysses Grant lived here for awhile, and SEMO University is here, and we learned from the guy who drove us back from the car rental place that the movie Gone Girl was filmed here.
Tomorrow we start a twelve day stint with no days off, cycling across southern Illinois and Kentucky and Tennessee and then down the Natchez Trace. Fingers crossed that our mechanical issues are behind us….