Day 40: Repairs, Cookies, and the Mississippi – Ozora, MO to Chester, ILLINOIS (20.7 miles)

After last night’s mishap we had two choices: ride 90 miles today in 97 degree heat with humidity of 63% (feels like: 118 degrees) or go 20 miles to Chester and skip the rest day in Kentucky. Everyone has been telling us to get out of Kentucky as soon as possible so that was an easy decision.

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Getting our bikes ready in the storage room at Al’s.

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Bauhaus Kaffee, waiting for the bike shop to open. I’m sitting in front of a painting titled The Komposition by Georg Muche. The k’s just don’t stop.

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New wheel from TransAm Cyclery.

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We met Steve, who works for the city, outside of Al’s. He gave us a ride back to Ozora at noon so we could get to Chester without cheating. He helped build a lot of the stuff in Al’s including the bike racks and bunk beds. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy. Every cyclist needs to go to Farmington.

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Back where we started — the Shell next to Kountry Kookin.

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Right after we left the gas station these people yelled at us from their driveway to stop, come inside, cool off and have Gatorade and homemade cookies. There was snicker doodle, chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, white chocolate macadamia nut, and I don’t even know what else. We even got a doggie bag to take with us. Dreams do come true.

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Judy collects vintage pedal toys.

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Testing Ralph’s Schwinn Racer. I don’t know how he still rides this thing around Missouri.

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Took the J -> 61 -> H -> 51. After some hills we hit the floodplains.

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Feels like we got transported back to Kansas.

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4 miles left. An absurdly short day and it feels good.

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Crossing the Mississippi.

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And here we are! Wasn’t feeling the climb into Chester at all. The main road downtown was packed with coal trucks and a lady that didn’t give a shit at the gas station almost ran me over.

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Tucked away in residential Chester is the Order of the Eagles, kind of like the Elk’s Club. It had nothing to do with the Eagle Scouts like I thought. They have a shed for cyclist to stay in for free, showers, and plenty of bar food.

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It’s not Al’s Place but we’re happy to be here in an air conditioned room! You can either stay in one of 9 wooden bunks or pitch your tent outside.

From dead armadillos to crazy drivers to some of the nicest people we’ve met on the road, I’d say we ended Missouri on a good note.

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