Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lakes of the Ozarks SP to Joplin, MO

The day started early; went to bed last night at 8:30pm (what's there to do in complete darkness?) and woke up at 6:30 this mornng. Got up and tore down the camp and packed it on the bike. Took about 45 minutes; I'm getting better with experience! The night was okay; the tent was on a slope, and each time I woke up during the night, I had slid to the end of the tent. Had to pull the sleeping bag up the hill again! Need level land next time.

Rode back to Rte. 66 and started looking for a place for breakfast. Couldn't find anyting for a long time, but found a local joint in Lebanon, MO. An omelette and home fries later, I took off again, following the old road.

About 20 miles later, I lost Rte. 66 for good. Following the old road is harder than it sounds. It's marked only in a few places--people steal the signs! I had several misstarts at each interchange with I-44, but it finally disappeared and I decided to ride on instead of spending a lot of time looking for it.

Got on I-44 and rode southwest through Sprinfield and on to Branson. Didn't spend much time in Branson. It was HOT and busy. What I did see was that Branson is much like Myrtle Beach, but located in a very hilly/mountaineous area. Big hotels. Huge theaters. Lots of restaurants. Heavy traffic. I saw enough pretty quickly.

Stopped at a convenience store and bought some beer to toast to Stacy. Found Boulevard Lunar Ale. Packed it in a case and headed to Table Rock State Park to drink one with Clay for Stacy.

Got to the park (very small), found a quiet picnic table overlooking the lake and called Clay. We chatted a few minutes while he got a beer, and then we toasted Stacy. Damn, I miss Stacy so much. He was a great guy that God called home much too early.

After the beer, headed through the Table Rock Lake area and then on to Joplin.

The roads were good; curvy with lots of ups and downs. Unfortunately, traffic was heavier than I wanted, so I couldn't ride hard. By the time traffic eased off, the roads got straight. Boringly straight! Miles and miles of straight roads through the country. Not horrible, but not great.

Got to Joplin and checked into the motel. Washed dirty clothes, rested, ate dinner at a local steakhouse beside the motel.

Called my son and learned some terrific news--they are expecting my second grandchild!!! I'm gonna be Gramps to two grandchildren! It's goning to be fun!

Tomorrow--I don't have a destination, but will head into Kansas, just to do it. Then northeast towards home.

About 300 miles today, totaling 1409 so far. Pic is from one of the old bridges on Rte. 66 over some river.

More later....


clay s pennington said...

Hey Malcolm........enjoyed your blog.
Joy and I are headed our in a few safe coming home and I'll see you in Oct. @ Rainbow.....cp

Chris Hoke said...

Malcolm, I am enjoying reading your blog about your trip. I miss Stacy too. You and Stacey were a big influence on me early in my career. There are many things that I admired and enjoyed about Stacy, professionalism, toughness, smarts, colleagiality, his love of family and friends. But most of all, I remember that he made work fun and rewarding! I'll go home tonight and drink a beer and join you ande Clay in your toast to Stacy and hope that somehow, somewhere Stacy gets a kick out of that. And I'll toast Grandpa too.