1984 Bike Tour: Day 27 – Beautiful scenery and never-ending hills

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Friday, June 8, 1984
Owl’s Bend U.S. Forest Service campground, Mo., to Houston , Mo.
57 miles

I’m reprinting the day-to-day journal entries of a cross-country bike tour my friend and I took in 1984. More about the TransAmerica Tour 1984

HOUSTON, MO. – The hills in the Ozarks are bigger, steeper, and harder to climb than I expected. At Carl’s Cafe in Eminence (aptly named), Carl said we’d have to walk our loaded touring bicycles up these hills. No way. We pedaled – but very slowly.

Bruce wasn’t feeling well this morning, but that’s not holding us back. Gravity’s doing that.

This whole area of the Ozarks draws lots of whitewater adventure seekers. Current River is popular with tourists, so is Jack’s Ford. Lots of canoe, kayak, and raft businesses in Eminence.

Up a steep 1-mile climb and down the other side is Alley Spring, the picture-postcard site of an 1895 mill (above). The caretaker operated it for us, to show how wheat and corn was ground into flour and cornmeal in the old days.

The water-powered mill also cut lumber. The timber is the coal of Missouri. The timber barons bought Ozark land, stripped and clear cut it, and then left. All the rocks in the streams, like those picturesque white pebbles on the banks of the Black River, came from hillsides that eroded with the absence of vegetation.

After a couple of more climbs, we were up on what is known as the Ozark Plateau and the road leveled out a bit. We climbed still more then began a roller-coaster ride that lasted all the way to Summersville, where we gorged on the special at Young’s Cafe — $2 for beer, cole slaw, potatoes and beets. Great meal. The Ozarks are getting gentler, although we have to contend with a headwind.

In Eunice, we stopped at a country store that was “populated” by all women. Usually, it’s men you see hanging around, swapping lies and killing time. Here, women were just standing around shooting the breeze. Strange.

View 1984 Bicycle Tour in a larger map

Now, in Houston, we’re staying in the Lazy L Motel and ate a dinner of ham and beans at the Lazy L Cafe. Walking through town, we stopped in at the Friendly Tavern — and it was, too.

We walked back to the motel in the evening, and the town had closed it doors. It was very quiet. Back in the room, we caught up with the NBA playoffs, watching the Lakers vs. Celts.

I’m starting to feel a little cooped up, staying in so many motels. Actually, it’s just been since the two nights in Carbondale, then one in Ste. Genevieve. We camped at Johnson’s Shut-Ins and Owl’s Bend, now we’re back in a room in Houston. Hope we get back to camping more regularly soon.

Headline: June 8, 1984: Motorists in southern California get their first opportunity to use telephones in cars that use cellular technology. Cost is a $3,000 investment and $45 a month service charge.

Lazy Louie’s Bicycle Camp

Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2020/06/08/1984-bike-tour-day-27-beautiful-scenery-and-never-ending-hills/

1 comment

    • Timo on June 9, 2014 at 1:13 am
    • Reply

    It is interesting to read this article, certainly because it gives a better idea of how things used to be. I understand what you mean when feeling cooped up in hotel rooms; it cuts into the sense of freedom of being on a bike. We just took a lovely . Mind you, it was only for 1 week.

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