NE Missouri, May 2008

This May I did a week of riding in northeastern Missouri, starting about 500 km southwest of Madison. It was mostly cool, with persistent headwinds (naturally), but it only rained while I was in my (leaky) tent. I started and finished at Alan and Brenda's farm just across the state line in southeastern Iowa. (They have come up for a couple of our Kickapoo Valley rides.) They weren't too busy, as the fields were still too muddy for planting. I found some of that mud myself on some back roads. Missouri maps don't distinguish between gravel roads and mud, so you never know what you're in for when you leave the pavement, unless the locals can tell you. I did scout the route by satellite imagery, so at least I knew where some of the bridges were missing.

There are lots of quiet, paved county roads in that part of Missouri, though riding on some gravel (and sometimes mud) roads is necessary to connect them. As in Lafayette County in southwestern Wisconsin, the roads tend to follow the section lines, straight over all the hills, which are numerous. Towns with functioning businesses are extremely rare, so one needs to carry a couple day's worth of food sometimes. The state parks were OK for camping, though it would be nice if they were a little closer together on those headwind days. I averaged about 60 miles/ 100km per day. While it was interesting to see some new territory, a major attraction was the fact that my grandparents had a farm in the area about 50 years ago, which I visited. As nearly as I can recall, the last time I had been there was before 1964. The old barn and chicken coop were still there, but not much else. Except the water pump!

Cyclists never pay any attention to these signs.
A perfectly good bridge, if not quite finished.
Store and Cafe in Downing, Missouri
Greentop, Missouri
My Grandparents in 1957
That same pump in 2008!
I vaguely remember the old barn
My Grandfather's Last Tractor?
Aptly Named
Kirksville Courthouse
Thousand Hills Campsite
One of those "mud" roads
Missouri Hills
At least this one was dry.