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1984 Bike Tour: Day 26 – Ups and downs in the Ozarks

OWL'S BEND, MO. – If you could pick a time to be sick, it probably wouldn't be the day you're pedaling the rollercoaster hills of the Ozarks.

We left Johnson's Shut-ins in a light drizzle and immediately started climbing. A little while later, a carload of Boy Scouts who we camped with the night before pulled up alongside me, and they said my friend was way down the road. I waited for him, and when he caught up, Bruce said he wasn't feeling well. After that, we took it real slow. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/07/1984-bike-tour-day-26-ups-and-downs-in-the-ozarks/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 25 – C’mon Missouri, “Show Me” some courtesy

JOHNSON'S SHUT-INS STATE PARK, MO — We're tenting in the group camp area near some Boy Scouts tonight. They're pretty comical, and a couple came over for awhile to talk bicycles, like: “Can you ride no-hands?”

I know Missouri is the “Show Me” state, but I don't know why it's called that. I would like to have people around here show us some common courtesy.

The folks in Ste. Genevieve were very helpful. … But as soon as we entered the Ozarks, things changed. People stare, more like glare. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/06/1984-bike-tour-day-25-cmon-missouri-show-me-some-courtesy/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 24 – Clearing a path for the Olympic torch in Missouri

STE. GENEVIEVE, MO. — We rode up along the Mississippi River to Ste. Genevieve to waves and some applause. If we had festooned our bikes with flags, the people lining the streets might have thrown money.

After crossing bridge across the Mississippi at Chester, we ran into the Olympic torch caravan again at St. Mary's. Everything is very low-key, compared to the scene in Berea.

Essentially two Winnebagos were parked in a roadside lot, some runners were milling around waiting to pick up the relay. AT&T sponsors the torch run, and the guys who do all the heavy lifting between cities are AT&T employees.

Two hundred were chosen, 16 on this week-long stretch, to run four miles twice a day with the torch. The torch, which they get to keep, weighs 2 pounds, 4 ounces, is about 2 feet long, and is filled with butane. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/05/1984-bike-tour-day-24-clearing-a-path-for-the-olympic-torch-in-missouri/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 23 – Rest and repair

CARBONDALE, ILL. — We had plans to take off this morning for the Missouri border. I jumped out of bed early, did some laundry and putzed around. When it was 10 a.m. and we were just getting to breakfast, we came to the brilliant conclusion that we were still half hungover, we hadn't stopped since Charlottesville, Va., and we could …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/04/1984-bike-tour-day-23-rest-and-repair/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 22 – Just like cowboys after a cattle drive

CARBONDALE, ILL. — After three weeks on the TransAmerica Route, we decided that we needed a break here in the hometown of Southern Illinois University.

A bike rider out for an afternoon spin hooked up with us outside of town and guided us along a shortcut to his favorite bike shop. We found a room at the Uptown Motel, took our first showers in about three days, and began to celebrate like cowboys coming off a dusty cattle drive.

We stopped at a tavern called Booby's (it might have been Bobby's, but I wrote double o's in my journal… it's a college town; probably was Booby's) for a pitcher of beer, ate some greaseburgers at Wendy's, watched the just-released, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” and then stopped at a bar for another pitcher. We had landed in dry counties every night since Whytheville, Va., so we had some catching up to do….

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/03/1984-bike-tour-day-22-just-like-cowboys-after-a-cattle-drive/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 21 – Pirates, bandits and skeeters at Cave-in-Rock

CAVE-IN-ROCK, ILL. — We crossed the brown-with-mud Ohio River on the Ida L ferry this afternoon on our ride through the former haunt of pirates and bandits and the present-day domain of mosquitoes. 
We were happy to leave the Sebree park, what with freight trains passing by all night. Our route immediately detoured because of the flooding (the paper said 30,000 acres were underwater due to the Green River backing up), but we still made good time into Dixon, where folks told us a small group of bicycle tourists had passed through yesterday.

At Marietta's Cafe in Marion, we signed the guestbook and saw the names of three cyclists from Connecticut (the same guys we've been leapfrogging ever since Virginia) just above ours. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/02/1984-bike-tour-day-21-pirates-bandits-and-skeeters-at-cave-in-rock/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 20 – Church BBQ sauce is “Just about right!”

SEBREE, KY. — We're at the Sebree City Park tonight, camping downwind from preparations for the St. Michaels annual cook-out. They're preparing 1,500 pounds of mutton and pork for tomorrow, and this evening they're stirring a huge cast iron pot of homemade barbecue sauce.

While Bruce and I were talking with them, a couple of the old hands asked one of the younger guys to sample the hot sauce. He lifted up the wooden ladle, sipped it, squinted his eyes and choked out the words, “Hmmm. Just about right!” Then he gasped for breath.

“Just about right” describes our ride today. ….

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/06/01/1984-bike-tour-day-20-church-bbq-sauce-is-just-about-right/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 19 – Abe born here, honestly

We pedaled over to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site today, just up the road from Joel Ray's Lincoln Jamboree. Yee-haw!

The park ranger giving the tour said, “As far as we know, this is where he was born.” Sounding a little cagey? Over in Springfield yesterday we had stopped in the Lincoln Homestead State Park, a woman in the office said, “Older people around here say that Lincoln never would have been born down in Hodgenville in the wintertime, so they believe he was actually born up here in Springfield.”

With my keen reporter's instincts, I asked him about the discrepancy. He shrugged his shoulders. “Nobody seemed to care where he was born until 1860 when he was elected president.” Makes sense. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/31/1984-bike-tour-day-19-abe-born-here-honestly/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 18 – That fragrance of home cookin’ is all bourbon

HODGENVILLE, KY. — We thought nothing could smell sweeter than the good country air of the Kentucky bluegrass country, until we left Bardstown.

We had just finished an unsatisfying lunch at a shopping center deli in the hometown of  composer Stephen Foster (My Old Kentucky Home), when we caught the fragrance of good home cooking in the air. Bruce said, wherever it's coming from, “that's where we should have eaten.”

We rode on for a half-mile and saw the entrance sign for the Heaven Hills Distillery, the source of that fragrance. If we could have “eaten” there, our trip would have ended, no doubt. What we smelled cooking must have been sour mash. We merely cycled past huge warehouses full of booze…

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/30/1984-bike-tour-day-18-that-fragrance-of-home-cookin-is-all-bourbon/

1984 Bike Tour: Day 17 – Not everyone welcomes bicycle tourists

HARRODSBURG, KY. — What did I say about bicycle touring and the kindness of strangers? Forget it.

Tonight we're at the Parkview Guest House. When we walked in the front door of the two-story men's-only “guest house,” a guy told us to wait right there for the manager who would soon be home from work. We sat in a couple of chairs in the hallway. Soon the manager walks in:

“What the hell's going on here? And get that thing off the table.”

Bruce removed his helmet from the lamp table. We asked for a room. The old guy said he had one but didn't know whether he'd let us have it. It only had a double bed. “You're not going to get drunk and puke in bed, are you?”

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2018/05/29/1984-bike-tour-day-17-not-everyone-welcomes-bicycle-tourists/