Day one Bike Around Missouri (BAM)

I slept so well last night. It must have been the discordant frog chorus that lulled me all night long. We had to have our bags (one bag of camping gear and one of clothes) loaded on the truck by 7:30. We are not exactly morning people, as some of you know, but everyone gets up early on these rides and so did we. We were on the road at 7:20.

The day was nearly perfect: cloudless and not too hot – I don’t think it hit 80 – the only downside was a persistent and robust wind from the north. Columbia is about halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, so I guess this is central MO. Which might explain the name of Centralia, which we rode near. (Footnote: not a dis on Missouri, but not very original with the town names. Last year we rode through Louisiana, Missouri. On this trip, we’ll be in or near Mexico, Paris, Santa Fe, and Florida as of today.)

From Mexico, at the halfway point, to the end at Perry, we rode pretty much constantly into the aforementioned wind. The landscape was like MN/IA farm country – pretty, rolling hills, a few that were steep – my favorite had a cemetery at the top, appropriately. “Uphill and into the wind” as they say.

Lisa kind of buried her lede in yesterday’s post. Folks, she is two weeks out from a total hip replacement and riding 300 miles through this country. She is amazing.

We pulled into the little town of Perry (pop 693) around 2:00 and set up the tent, got my bike tweaked, took showers and recharged the many electronics we now carry – watch, bike computer, phones, lights, and a big battery pack for when we are away from power.

After showers, we rode the BAM Tram back uptown with Jack and his dog – and he gifted us with Bud Lights (which are a perfect way to rehydrate after a day on the bike) and listened to music and walked around downtown (uptown) Perry before retiring to the campsite for jambalaya and more local music.

Lisa just said “everyone should come to rural America” and maybe she is right.


The Big BAM

In the summer of 2017 we did our first RAGBRAI, a ride that spans the state of Iowa, starting at the Missouri River and ending at the Mississippi. It was quite a thrill to ride with 10,000 other people through cornfields and small towns and to have people wave and cheer us on, and feed us pancakes and pie, and it was sort of like a week of summer camp on bikes.

We heard about some other long distance, supported rides on that trip; it turns out that many other states have rides across their states. And this morning we are starting on the Big BAM, which is typically a ride across Missouri and now is sort of a ride around Missouri.

Our drive to Columbia MO yesterday took us through many of the places we biked last summer on our way to New Orleans. We had a very pleasant and too-short stop at the home of my college roommate, Lynne, where we ate a delicious brunch that she cooked for us while we caught up on her upcoming gigs (next one: a tribute to Bette Midler), and then drove south where we could see lots of flooded farm fields and arrived here just before 6 on a perfect summer night.

Our campsite is on the lawn of the Bass Pro Shop on the edge of town where we had a chorus of frogs outside of our tent all night. The group spent the evening at the Broadway Brewery listening to live music and chatting with other cyclists about the trip. Columbia seems like a very nice college town and we will spend another night here at the end of the ride.

It is 5:56 am as I am writing this, and I am cozy and warm in my sleeping bag, listening to the sounds of others starting to take down their tents as Dan is slowly waking up. Today we will ride 62 miles to Perry and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day.

Tour de Pepin

Last weekend we drove to Lake City, MN to do the Tour de Pepin, an annual organized ride that follows Lake Pepin, a beautiful glacial lake that is part of the Mississippi River. We opted for the 72 mile route, though were envious of the riders on the 35 and 50 mile routes as they had a ferry ride waiting to take them and their bikes back across the lake on this beautiful old ferry.

It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday. And this ride was sort of a test, although it was intended to be just a training ride when we registered. I have been having some trouble with my hip and unable to run or walk or sit or stand or sleep easily for some months, and I am not going to get into the boring details … but it was a relief to get in my bike and have it feel wonderfully normal to pedal all day on a bike and travel a long distance.

We had stops for rhubarb pie and beautiful views of the lake, and rode through fields of blackbirds as well as next to a field where there was a machine gun shoot happening (!!), and we decided that it went well enough that we could do our next planned biking adventure as a last hurrah for my hip, which is going to be replaced with a shiny new one later this month.