Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Day 32 - Chillicothe, MO to Kirksville, MO
"These thousand hills roll ever on, In footprints of a Mighty God, They bring me to my knees in praise, Amazing love, amazing grace" —These Thousand Hills, by Third Day
Today was our day of a thousand hills, aptly named due to the Thousand Hills State Park just outside of Kirksville, MO, our destination for the day. The day started cool with plenty of cloud cover. In fact, the clouds remained either as overcast or high clouds for most of the day, keeping the temps reasonable and in the 80s.
Our route today was nothing but rollers and moderate climbs. Today proved that my cycling legs have adapted well to climbing and I was ready to take on these thousand hills. By the end of the day, I wasn't tired of them, but my speed had noticeably diminished. The ride as a whole, was very rural, very peaceful, and occasionally humorous.
We passed through a couple of small towns early in the day—Chula, Linneus, and Purdin. We saw small homes, farms and ranches, and dilapidated houses. The latter part of the day was entirely rural and the scenery was beautiful rolling green hills with an occasional Angus ranch or cornfield thrown in for good measure.
Some of the interesting sights of the day: In Chula, I passed a home with a big blue school bus parked in the back. Emblazoned on the side of the bus was "REDNECK LIMOUSINE." Just a few miles later was an interesting intersection. Let me explain. Here in Missouri, the county routes are labelled by letters of the alphabet. We rode on County Routes V, K, BB, C, etc. Yesterday, one of the humorous, albeit off-color, combinations was at the intersection of County Route "F" and County Route "U". It didn't help that the sign "F U" was at the bottom of a steep hill. Today's intersection was County Route "K" and "KK". The road sign read "KKK." Being that Missouri entered the Union as a slave state, this really works against their public relations campaign.
But the funniest one—and I'll admit to being a bit juvenile—was the sign indicating County Route "PP" was ahead. Yep. I stopped and took the photo you see here. I'm certain I'm not the first to think of it and I'm sure I won't be the last.
In Linneus, at our first SAG stop of the day, we were treated to a tour of the Linn County Jail. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the county is working hard to restore it. Look through the photos linked at the bottom.
The jail was used up until the 60s. The men were housed on the first floor and the women on the second. The prisoner ladies would hurl insults out the windows from above at schoolchildren walking to school. Scared the heck out of them, our tour guide told us.
When we reached Kirksville, we took time to investigate the city center. Kirksville is home to Truman State University, which until 1996 was known as Northeast Missouri State University. It's a liberal arts school of 5,700 and although school was out for summer, the downtown felt like a college town. We poked around the courthouse, a cafe, and a couple of stores.
One more story. This actually took place last night at our hotel in Chillicothe. I was reclining on the bed working on my blog. Sean the Brit was downstairs watching a movie, and Tom was on the toilet where he's been for the past four days—sick from the flu. We had left the door ajar in case Sean forgot his key, which he often does. The door opens. I look up thinking it's Sean back early from the movie. It's Chris. He walks in, no shirt, laundry detergent in hand. Looks briefly at me on the bed, does a double take, then it dawns on him... he's in the wrong room. In fact, he's on the wrong floor! I smile and start laughing, pull out my iPhone and snap a pic to put on my blog, telling him "This is SO going in my blog!" Tom exits the bathroom, I explain what's happened. Tom says, "I thought you were here to steal my bed, since I'm spending all my time on the toilet." After enough abuse had been heaped on Chris, he leaves. But, we've reminded him all day today of his error. You can read his account (and weak explanation) on his blog.
Tomorrow, we'll say farewell to Missouri, cross the Mighty Mississippi River, and entire the Land of Lincoln: Illinois. Our ride is 97 miles, but at least one of those miles is aboard a ferry as we cross Ol' Man River. Hard to believe we've been at this for more than a month and there's only three weeks left!
For more photos of me in jail, historic Kirksville, and a thousand hills, visit http://gallery.me.com/eternaldesign2#100353
For more about the Ride for Impact, visit http://www.rideforimpact.org. So far, we've raised $9870 for global relief and foreign missions for IMPACT Ministries. I need a few generous people to give some large gifts of $250, $500, or more and help me reach my goal of $20,000 before July 28 when this ride concludes! Will you be a part of the Ride for Impact?
Cumulative Miles: 2,383
Cumulative Flats: 5
Elev Gain: 4,234 ft.
Max Elev: 1,150 ft.
Avg Climb: 2%
Max Climb: 11%