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Climbing over the Ozarks

Just about did me in...
June, 11, Houston, MO
Yesterday, I rode the toughest stretch so far, from Ellington, MO to Eminence, MO, over the crest of the Ozarks. The heat and steep wore me down 6-1/2 hours into a 70 mile, 8 hour day. The video below sums it up in 29 seconds. Sorry for the F-Bomb :) Eminence, is a lovely mountain town where I found a B&B, BAR, and homemade Lasagna.
While at the bar trying to tolerate the cigarette smoke, the local folks were telling me how this once vibrant ranching, wood products and tourism town is shrinking by the minute. Not unlike small towns in Montana, where I lived for thirty years, the young people graduate school and move on to more opportunity. But as born there, live there, die there "Buster" shared, it's the adults who are also jumping ship. They want to be closer to Wal-Mart and the other big box stores. OY. Buster, like most of the people I'm meeting, are very curious and engaging. I'm an anomaly of sorts and more than happy to strike up a conversation after spending most of my days alone on the road. But I can't help thinking about all of the Confederate Flags I saw riding into and pedaling around town. Would these folks be as gregarious if they knew I'm a Jew married to a Black Woman?
Before I left on the trip, LaVonne asked me to take the pic of her off the front of my iphone. She thought it was asking for trouble. I was saddened at the thought of it, but I obliged her knowing she was right. Let's face it, it would be an awfully long pedal to find a box of Matzoh to cook up a little Matzoh Brei for breakfast, and I haven't seen a person of color since I crossed the Mississippi into Southern Missouri. It's hard to reconcile... these folks seem genuinely caring about my safety on the road and curious to learn all about me... but they don't want to learn everything about me. I know these folks don't know any better. They're a product of their families and culture.... which I believe... but as an excuse, it's wearing a little thin for me.
After stretching my personal limits yesterday, my legs cried for a short 40 miler today. Tomorrow, if my legs agree, I'll try a 62 miler to Marshfield, which will position me to enter Kansas Sunday. It depends on the afternoon thunderstorms, hail and winds they're calling for. Gotta keep moving!
Thanks for riding along - and please check out World Bicycle Relief.
Now, which pannier did I put that bottle of Ibuprofen in?
Video 1:  Yesterday's brutal climb - mature audiences only.
Video 2: I was only in Illinois for two days, during a 17 year Cicada hatch - listen...
Pic 1: Finally, some better roads...
Pic 2: White Bread is on sale here... all the time!!
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