Susan and Michelle came to breakfast with us at Cooky's this morning. I've been eating gas station breakfasts and it was great to have a full meal! We left town around 8:30 and opted to take an alternate route to cut off close to 10 miles from our intended 66-ish mile day.
On the Appalachian Trail, I was "pure", as they call it, walking the entire trail carrying my gear and not skipping any part. I still consider myself "pure" on this trip as I am riding my bike from coast to coast carrying my gear, not skipping any miles. I think if we had started on the TransAmerica trail, I would not be at peace with taking alternates so that I could truthfully say that I traveled the entire length of the route, but the fact that we're taking a combination of two routes makes me less concerned with staying on route. As long as I cycle from the Pacific to the Atlantic, I'll be satisfied.
I'm really enjoying Missouri as the rolling hills look very much like the area where I grew up in southeastern Ohio. I felt a little homesick today while riding! We are beginning to enter the Ozarks and it is up and down, up and down all day. I was all over my gears today, shifting quickly between the downhills and the steepness up the uphills. It sure is nice to have the downhills again...I went 35 mph today, much faster than I've gone for the last two weeks!
George was ahead of Josh, Seth, and me today, and I came upon the guys stopped at a bridge. There was a small creek below and they said they were going down to soak their feet. It felt amazing! The water was cool and clear and my feet appreciated the time out of my shoes! Later today, Josh, George, and Claudia went swimming in a couple of rivers we passed. Today was hot and very humid, and I was dripping sweat constantly. It felt almost like Florida! :)
We arrived in Fair Grove after 56 miles around 5. We all were feeling good, and a hotel in Marshfield was calling our names! We decided to push 15 more miles for showers and laundry and it feels wonderful to be out of the humid evening air tonight!