I rode from Houston to Alley Spring and it was gorgeous. Hilly and green. A little different than what I've come from!
It was a short 42 mile ride from Houston to Alley Spring to meet my mom's friend Maria. Maria and her husband Jim live in Sainte Genevieve, closer to the Mississippi River, however, they love floating down the Current River in Missouri, close to where my Trans Am route will take me. I met Maria 1 minute before the planned time of 1:30pm at Alley Spring. How's that for cycling accuracy? She showed me around the old mill in Alley Spring and the old Schoolhouse, originally in Eminence but moved to this site in 1971 after being out of use since 1957. Notice the schedule on the blackboard? YUP, recess is included. Get that people? No need to eliminate recess, it's core and needed for our students to take a break from sitting and gain social skills and have a chance to be physically active (ok, I'll get off my soapbox).
Maria and I loaded my gear into her truck and drove through Eminence and turned north to the Pulltite Campground and reserved our canoe for the next morning, an 8:30am pick up. We got to the campround, set up our tents, put on our suits, blew up two little floats she had and grabbed beers and floated the mile down river. We just walked back up through the campground after the mile. Felt great- even at 5pm! Maria cooked an amazing meal of rice and ribs and I fell asleep by 9pm. We woke up, broke camp and got picked up on the school bus and driven up river to Akers. Many people were putting in at the same time, but you end up floating most of the 11 miles downriver in isolation, especially during the week. We stopped along the way to go into caves and check out different sandbars. We tried to start a fire to cook burgers, but with the recent rains, it didn't happen. We saw a bunch of wildlife and just enjoyed the environment. It's incredibly lush and beautiful. It felt great to be on water again... something I enjoy even more than cycling!
We completed the 11 mile float mid-afternoon and jumped in the truck and drove the 2.5 hours to Sainte Genevieve, where she lives. I met Jim, her husband and unpacked my things since I'd be here until Saturday morning. We went out to dinner at a local Mexican place, came home, grabbed chairs and walked to a local music concert. There are about 50 people in their local band that plays every Thursday evening in the Catholic High School parking lot, ranging from high school aged to retired. They played waltzes, polkas, Phantom of the Opera and even America, the Beautiful. When they played America, the Beautiful, I got teared up. I mean, sea from shining sea? That's what I'm doing! I'm incredibly fortunate to see amber waves grain, purple mountains and sea to sea. I know, cheesy, but incredible.
We walked to ice cream after the local concert, came home and I crashed. Today is about catching up on errands, getting a historical walking tour of Sainte Genevieve, getting interviewed by their local paper, the Herald and resting another day before heading into Illinois tomorrow! Crossing the Mississippi- I can hardly wait!
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