Breakfast was in the local hospital cafeteria. The three of us ate for less than 10 total.
During our free beers last night at the Wild Horse the owner said it was all down hill to Eminence and then the longest steepest climbs of the route would begin. As we worked the steep rollers out of town thinking if this is downhill the hills are going to be serious. After 23 miles of forested rolling hills we stopped for second breakfast of Sardine cheese and onion sandwiches in the town of Summersville . We had not had sandwiches for quite a few days mainly because it is difficult to find real bread. Strange to realize that were not eating these sandwiches because we are bread snobs.
The 23 miles to Eminence was more rollers many of which were full effort to get over the top. Head and cross winds have been welcome in Missouri since it helps keep the heat down when climbing. The occasional tailwind climb becomes oppressively hot. Along the way to Eminence we did stop and take a dip in Alley springs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alley_Spring,_Missouri Which gushes over 80 million gallons of water per day.
We stopped for lunch at a diner that offered a buffet. We seem to always select the buffet when it is offered. Catfish, hushpuppies, 2 kinds of French fries and salad bar. 3 passes through the line makes me wonder if I am gaining weight. Hope we find good bread soon so I can lose weight with sardine sandwiches again.
Hill climbing after meals is a challenge. But up we went out of Eminence. Very steep but I did make this one. Along the way we met and chatted with a number of riders that were going cross country with an organized adventure cycling group. Soon we were taking a swim in the Chambers river. Hugh and Devin decided to hike the 2 miles to Blue spring while I opted to begin grinding up the steep grade out of the river valley. The sun was shinning warmly when we were in the river and 10 minutes later when I was climbing be first grade the sky darkened and the lighting and thunder provided accompaniment to the heavy rain. I was as wet when I was in the river but it was warm ran so I continued up hill. Since Hugh and Devin were not there to see me I walked the steep sections. Less than an hour later the rain had stopped and soon I rolled into Ellington which was our stop for the night. I quickly toured the town and peddled back to the main hiway to find Hugh and Devin waiting. Our warm showers stop for the night was just over a mile away but a band of black clouds appeared and was traveling so fast that we sprinted for a restaurant to get out of the impending storm. While we had coffee and pie the rain and winds hit. 45 minutes later it had calmed so we headed out and of course the heavy rain returned. We were dripping wet when we arrived at the home of Wayne and Betsy. Salads and grilled chicken and steak awaited us. Biking and ironman conversation on the porch afterwards topped off the evening.