Day 6 – Rollers and Detours
63.3 miles today – 344.9 total miles
After our great day yesterday, we thought that 65 miles to the next camping place shouldn’t be a problem for today. Unfortunately, when cycle touring not all days are equal.
We left our campsite by about 8:45 and stopped by the Higginsville Post Office to jettison some items we decided we didn’t really need. They were mailed to Wes Peterson who will be meeting us at the end of the trip.
On the way out of town we stopped by McDonalds for an Egg Biscuit. We decided to go through their drive though window. Unfortunately our bikes were not big enough to set off their sensor, se we just rode up to the first window, opened it, and asked if they could take our order. I don’t know how many bicycles they have at their drive up. It’s fun to watch peoples reactions.
By 9:30 we could already tell that it was going to be a warm day. Lexington was just 17 miles away and we thought we could make it there easily. What we discovered was that our route was mainly rollers. We would tear down one steep hill at 20-35 miles an hour and grind to the top of the next one at 4-8 miles per hour. This went on all the way to Lexington. When we finally rolled into Lexington, we were pretty tired. We grabbed a lunch at Subway and then stopped by the Lexington Battlefield for a brief visit. While in Lexington, Keith, fell and scraped his knee and elbow. Not a big thing, but still pretty discouraging for him.
On our way into Lexington we noticed that Route 13 went a different direction than what our directions indicated. I figured that it was now routed around town and that the preferred bike route would still be the old route. Lexington is on the bluff overlooking the Missouri River. Just before heading down to the bridge we could see below, we decided we had better check our information to be sure we were going in the right direction. We found out from a local citizen that the bridge was closed to all traffic and that there was a new bridge a few miles East of town. We asked a policeman if we could ride our bikes across the old bridge and he made it very clear that absolutely noone was to cross that bridge. So we headed for the new bridge, which was part of a new controlled access highway. Fortunately there were no signs preventing bicycles, so we headed off. It was a nice road but probably added at least 5 miles to our already tiring day.
We reached Henrietta back on route on the other side and stopped at a diner for a root beer float. While consuming our float we poured over the Adventure Cycling and highway maps to see what our options were. There was a “camping” place a mile back that we passed, but it was basically and open lot where camper could park and hook up to power. That didn’t look appealing. We considered an alternate route that would save some time. The challenge with routing on a bicycle is that if you make a mistake and have to go back, it can be a looong way. We asked to waitress about that road, and she referred us to a family eating there. We told them that we wanted a direct route that would also be as free from hills as possible. They told us that the route we were considering was too dangerous and that the AC route was very hilly. They recommended a different route. Taking directions from someone who doesn’t ride is scary, but we decided to give it a try. This time it was just a predicted.
When we entered Excelsior Springs we took a wrong turn and headed down a VERY steep hill that we had ride be brakes to keep us from going out of control. Once we got to the bottom, we realized we were in the wrong place. Since we definitely didn’t want to go back up that hill we asked for directions and were sent up a hill that was not quite a steep, but still very steep.
We made it to the campground at about 8:00pm and met up with Bill again and we are sharing a camp. Bill went the AC route and had a total mileage for the day of 77 miles. The route that we bypassed was also all rollers and he was given a citation for riding his bike on Main Street in one small town. We could never have made that many miles in that terrain.
Tomorrow will need to be a shorter day.