We got going at around half-seven. That's how you say 7:30 in Scotland. We're all saying half-this, half-that. I never do anything, or talk about anything happening right on the hour. I don't want to miss my chance to say half-seven. Forever on bicycle camping trips I will be using this method of dictating time.
Today was like yesterday, but we're officially in the Ozarks now. The Ozarks are steep as hell, but when you start a climb you can usually see the top. If I can see the top, then it's more likely that I can stand up and stomp until I reach it. I've gotten stronger, but I'm still barely crawling on some of the steepest hills. They can be rough, and we're riding through the hottest hours of days with record-breaking heat.
It's amazing how much liquid I can consume. I can just chug and pretty much pour in an endless supply. My skin has been scorched many times over. I'm adapting to being outside. I know the difference between 95 and 100 degrees, and 89 is starting to feel reasonably cool.
We pushed to Eminence, Missouri. Mark that down as another loaded 90+ mile day. It was rewarding to arrive. Stuart and Nick secured us a place to set up tents behind an inn. We had dinner at Maggie's Place, and the beer was good. Then I bought more beer, and that was good too. Then I decided to stay up late and cruise around the "town." I made my decision to finally let the group move on without me. I'd figure out my plan tomorrow. No reason to hurry; no reason to plan. Back to basics. Back to riding alone.
I tried to get beer, but everywhere was closed. The gas station waved me away. I met a guy on the street who was headed there, and he assured me they'd let him in. They did. We split a twelve pack and talked about bullshit and nonsense. We walked down a dirt road, and I got to see some houses that sparked my interest. The homes were spaced evenly, and nothing was crowded. Each house had a driveway and mailbox. But the houses were small travel trailers on slabs. It was quaint and cheap. It didn't look like squalor, but it used many of the same ingredients.
Dude banged on his friend's house at half-past-ass o'clock, and let himself in. He introduced me as a guy from Philadelphia who was riding a bicycle across the country. Imagine that. His friend was in bed in the front of the trailer, and not too pissed about being woken up. He seemed amiable enough, but he had to get up at some ridiculous time. Something like 3:30 or 4am. I got going after all that. I figured that was enough for one night.