Hilltop towns and headwind.

Day 36 April 16

I spent 80% of today in the drops. For those of you non-cyclists, the drops are the lower part of the handlebar that gets you out of the wind. those feelings strong from a good rest and the mouse were a little longer today, but I made good time.

From the river to the hill.

Upon awakening by the riverside, I had a couple of visitors at camp. The first was a man walking his dogs. He reminisced with me about his old cycling days. He had a dog I’ve never seen before call the skipper kee (turns out it’s schipperke).

The next visitor was very interesting. Kind of a scraggly looking small tattood guy in all camos and tall rubber boots asking about the turkeys. I told him I hadn’t seen any and about the guy who who looked the night before and didn’t find any, but he wanted to try anyway. So off we went to his car and out he came with rifle and two inflated rubber turkeys. I guess he didn’t mind the sign that said no firearms. He traipsed off in the woods for about 30 minutes and I could hear various calls being made, but I didn’t hear any shots fired so I guess he had no luck. Open season seems to make people crazy around here.

I cruised due West most of the day through various towns, right into a headwind. Once again hills all day. I “had” to stop at a Dutch country store run by Mennonites. A fantastic find, I got to fill a shopping bag with snacks for $2.49!

$2.49 for all this!

Then a right turn towards Sedalia and tailwinds pushed me to town. It’s a neat little city that I got to roam around for a few hours before finding camp at the local fairgrounds. This will be my last day of cycling for the next week. I’m catching a train to Kansas City to relax and set up the next 1000 miles. Stoked, I am!

This is the perfect find, my knives are getting dull!

Daily mileage=63.66
Total mileage=2151.07
Daily cost=$18.49
Daily average=$27.64


Easy breezy.

Day 35- April 15

First thing to say is: joyous cycling today!

Hazy, frosty morn.

This morning was a bit frosty when breaking camp. I had to wait a little while in the sun for the ice to melt off my tent and gear, but I bid adiú (spelling?) to the rednecks and their mud trucks and Ruby’s landing.

Some sticky mud, that is.

There was a nice tailwind that pushed me along a ridgeline most of the day. It swelled and sweeped through long easy climbs and long fast descents. A nice 50ish miles to a free camp in a beautiful place by one of Missouri’s seemingly thousands of rivers. Some hunters came by and hooted like owls to try and stir up turkeys, I guess the season started today.

A bit of planning during my rest stops set my schedule for another week, after which I’ll be heading for route 66 in Oklahoma. I actually got to ride a little of the old route 66 yesterday, it was sickeningly, touristically nostalgic. I’m not sure if I can handle 500 miles of that. We shall see if May holds any changes in store for me.

High and low I fly.
Primo parking.
Riverside tea in the tree.
Chicken fried rice, too much! Thanks again for Perry’s cabbage tip.

Daily miles=47.95

Total mileage=2087.41
Daily cost=$17.43
Daily average=$27.90


A fun start.

Snow. That’s what I saw out of my host’s window when the sun rose today. I hit the road late to minimize my exposure to it, but still got a good hour of flurries. I’m kinda glad, I have never had the chance to ride in snow. It wasn’t terrible, there was no ice and I had enough clothing to keep me warm and dry. It did progress to rain, though, which wasn’t quite as fun.

Mennonites get flat tires too.

Eventually the weather became really nice, and the roads were quiet. Big swollen, sweeping hilly stuff for all my miles took me just North of the town of Saint Roberts. The campsite I settled at is ..interesting. It’s an RV/trailer park with a dirt road River put-in. I found my way to the riverside where the tents go, and clogged everything up with mud on the way there.

Spring is exploding.

A little later, while I set up camp, some of the residents visited the mud with their 4wd pickups and put in a show of spinning the tires, yelling and screaming, then getting stuck. After getting unstuck the quiet returned.

Keep on a movin’

Old route 66.

Thank you for picking Uranus, MO.

Fun stuff to visit the country😋.

I passed two thousand miles today! Soundtrack to keet me moving-My Bloody Valentine-Lovelace, Joshua Abrams-Magnetoception, Herbie Hancock-Man-child, Boards of Canada- Music has the right to children.

Daily mileage=61
Total mileage=2039.46
Daily cost=$11.76
Daily average=$28.21

Warm welcome.

Day 31 through 33. April 11,12,13.

Missouri is beautiful. I got a tour of the beautiful natural places from a long time local.

The reason for this trip is to connect. I want to get in touch by going a long ways. No hurrying, but steadily making progress with ideas, overcoming fresh challenges and most importantly, connecting to people who I might never have reached if I didn’t try. On that note, the past three days have truly rewarded me. I’ve been welcomed by family and friends that I haven’t seen in more than 20 years and some I’ve never met. They’ve all made me feel like I’m part of their life now. I look forward to when I can return some of this hospitality and we can catch up again.

A land or rivers and valleys and old worn mountains.

I’m not very great at maintaining family connections, and I get the feeling that many people easily drift apart for no real reason except lack of presence. As I grow in life, I’m seeing that the people who keep track of each other are truly a part of something bigger and older than the selfish bubble of daily life. I am enjoying the feeling of connecting to each other and the past.

4wd only around here.

I’m too full of food. Folks will stuff you like a goose raised for foi gras if you let them, (I couldn’t fight it:) I’ve had pot roast, pie, pizza, more pie, salad, ham and eggs, biscuits, fried fresh white bass, sweet potatoes, more salad, cornbread, ice cream, cookies, and gallons of coffee. This is heavenly. Soon I will be with more family and it will probably start all over again. I think they’re worried that I’m losing weight.

Round one.

The ride down out of the forest was a little tough, not long miles, but a belting headwind kept me in the granny gear alot.

Almost home.

The rest time has been good for me too. I managed to fix all the tire issues I had last week. I’ve ordered a small shipment of parts to prevent future issues when I’m out for the long miles. Lots ideas for artwork cooking in the brain oven, something to do at camp this week. Kansas city, here I come!

Relieved with reliability.
I think I prefer fake food for fake people.
There’s actually a building in there.

Daily mileage=(3 days-87.54)
Total mileage=1969.46
Daily cost=(3 days-$58.35)
Daily average=$28.70


Day 30, April 10th.

Humbled, I am. Today was a test of my skill in handling this loaded touring bike on some rough and steep terrain. If I didn’t know where the limits of my strength, control, and traction were, I sure do now. Milly, please forgive me for my choice of roads.

But first, the morning wasn’t so bad.

I had some pleasant miles on smooth rolling roads and came across this shop.

I had to check it out and it was worth it. I met “the” Pete and he was totally cool. He’s was born in 1927 and making bird calls since 1970. We talked about his cool shop and he demonstrated a few for me and then it was time to go.

I saw a sign for Cindy’s Cafe a few miles off course and a magnetic force pulled my handlebars to where I could eat this.

Deep fried beef burrito with beans and all the fixings.

I didn’t know how important all those calories we’re going be.

I wanted a good ramble in the countryside, dirt roads, old barns, rivers, hills, all that. I picked my path what got was sharp stones, rutted roads, and 18% grades of slipping pea gravel. It was the first time I had to dismount and push Milly up the hill. I had to do this many times. My front wheel would lift at times from pulling so hard while keeping weight on the rear to keep from spinning.

At the end of the punishment, I had ridden 18ish miles in 3.5 hours and had 3 flat tires. I used two of my tubes, two patches, and cut a boot into three pieces to repair sidewalk tears. When I finally got to camp my tire was leaking air again. Quite a rough time. The main failure was having a tire too supple for this sort of loaded riding. I sure am glad that I had a big lunch, the calories were needed.

The scenery was beautiful, despite the challenges. I don’t regret the decision, in fact now I know exactly what not to do 🙂

Daily mileage=56
Total mileage=1847.58
Daily cost=$19.83
Daily average=$28.27

My G.O.A.T., technically speaking.

Today’s post is dedicated to my little grey steed, Milly Goat. If you are a bike geek, this is for you, if you are not, you may want to skip to the next post.

Milly is a 56cm. 1989 Miyata 1000 LT (for luxury touring). This make and model is considered by the internet bicycle touring academia as one of the finer production touring bicycles ever made. I had kept my eye out for one for a few years after missing out on a 80’s model Specialized Expedition, another top tier tourer. I finally got a notice in a Craigslist ad from New Jersey. I called as soon as I saw it. The owner was the original buyer, and had only toured on it once, being more of a racer, he put the bike away. It came all original, except for a different large chainring (53 tooth!). When I received it, I was elated at the condition.

Specs upon arrival:

  • Ukai 700c wide single wall gusseted rims, 36 spoke laced to deore hubs front and rear with freehub.
  • Deore triple crankset, 28-38-53 biopace rings (he included the original 48 tooth)
  • Rear cassette, 13-28 7-speed.
  • Front and rear deore derailleurs shifted with Shimano bar-ends.
  • Junk tires
  • Blackburn alloy front lowrider racks and rear rack
  • I can’t remember the stem and bar, but they were short and narrow.
  • Deore square taper bottom bracket and Shimano 600 headset, both loose ball bearing.
  • Deore cantilever brakes.

All these parts were very adequate for the time they were made, but the real gem is the frame and fork.

Some features include-

  • Well balanced geometry for loaded touring.
  • Slack tube angles for comfort and predictable handling
  • Long chainstays for heel clearance.
  • Rack and fender mounts front and rear, with mid-blade fork eyelets on the inside and out of each blade.
  • Lower bottom bracket height for stability
  • In house drawn triple butted splined tubing, giving strength and flexibility.
  • A low-key, yet funky 80’s paint job.
  • Pump peg under top tube.
  • Chain slap guard.
  • Chain hook.
  • Zefal black fenders
  • Generic seatpost

What I’ve changed-

  • Added son 28 Dynamo hub to original rim (built by Michael at Acemetric)
  • Busch & Muller luxos-u headlight
  • Busch & Muller toplight line taillight
  • PDW metal fenders
  • 32mm Schwalbe marathon supreme evolution tires
  • Tubus duo front rack
  • Tubus stainless steel rear rack
  • Velo orange steel stem
  • Soma highway one handlebar
  • Modern Shimano bar-ends shifters
  • Brooks flyer 150th anniversary model
  • Spd pedals with platforms
  • Trp brake levers
  • Ird rollerdrive headset
  • Tan salsa bartape
  • Ultegra cyclocross cantilever brakes

So I kept the original rims, which I really like the style of, and don’t doubt their strength. I also kept the original deore full 7-speed drivetrain with biopace rings, (I like the feel). Stuck with old school 7-speed bar-ends despite the system’s limitations.

Now, the ride. Unloaded, it’s tightly wound, a little too stiff and bouncy. It’s quite rideable, but not ideal. Properly loaded, it transforms into a smooth predictable cruiser. Nice cornering at speed and a steady pace will have you climbing straight and relatively easy. I have learned that it does get a bit of a shimmy if the front end carries too much of the load proportionally. I feel that it rides best with about 40 to 60 lbs. spread over 5 bags, 75% in the rear panniers. A heavier or lighter rider should probably adjust accordingly.

Things I would change-

  • Add enough space in the fork and stays to run 35mm tires plus.
  • Smaller bolt holes in fork mid blades, it uses 6mm bolts now, which required some drilling to fit tubus racks.
  • Add ports for Dynamo wiring in frame and fork.
  • Add proper bottle cage mounts to bottom of down tube.

Things I will change-

  • Upgrade tires to standard Schwalbe marathons for heavy touring (I’ve shredded the Supremes on this tour, too much sidewall flex)
  • Farther setback seatpost.
  • Sturdier pedals, these have lost an end cap and spring.

All in all, Milly goat is the greatest of all time for me😃.

Just a tourist

Day 29, April 09

Having planned out my itinerary for the next week and a half, I made sure none of my riding days would be all that far or difficult. I want to enjoy what Missouri has to offer. Today’s 40 miles felt like a nice little sightseeing tour.

I started to leave camp this after breakfast but my tire was flat. When I dug into it there was a tiny dagger shaped shard of gravel that had worked it’s that’s way in. I took a chance on the cheap patch that I brought along but it totally failed in minutes. I couldn’t replace the patch so I had an use a new to use a whole new tube. Then I was on the road.

It was fun easy gravel riding, though still hilly. I entered the only real town of the day and stopped at a diner for a mushroom & swiss cheeseburger with really good onion rings. The Italian owned restaurant had awesome desserts including… homemade cannolis!

The next stop was a place called elephant rocks. These are boulders strewn about the land eons ago and are just sitting around on the ground. I took this stop as an opportunity to eat my cannoli. Absolutely fantastic, the best cannoli I’ve ever had, I would ride 12 mi back to town to get another one.

Only 13 miles left to the day. Straightforward cycling, beautiful of course, to Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park. I never researched what a shut-in is, but it’s not an old hermit in this case. Went to a swimming hole and took a dip, no need to shower tonight :-).I do have to mention that at the park there was a little section of algae covered road that I carelessly rode too fast over and took a spill. I tore up one of my bags pretty good. Then I managed to get to camp, set up, pay, then attempt to repair my bag. It seems to be successful but only rain will prove me right.

I only listened to one album today. A compilation of French music, Cuisine non-stop, that David Byrne put together. Excellent stuff, and refreshing as it sounds so different from everything else.

Daily mileage=41.85
Total mileage=1,791.58
Daily cost=$28.13
Daily average=$28.56