The conditions outside took a definite upswing this weekend. Jan and I took a run out to Strafford and had a good time of it.
FR 112 is also known as the Old Wire Road. The telegraph line took this route as it came down through Rolla from St. Louis in the 1800s. This same route extended on to the southwest and passed through what became the Wilson’s Creek Battlefield outside of Springfield and the Pea Ridge Battlefield in north Arkansas.
We crossed state road OO, which used to be the Route 66 that started in Chicago and went to California. Strafford has an annual Route 66 Days celebration.
When President Eisenhower got the nation wide interstate system started, I-44 replaced Route 66 in Missouri and parts of Oklahoma.
Enough of history already! Just enjoy the scenery as we enjoyed the back roads.
We got to FR94, also aptly called Blue Grass Road. One can either go east on BGR to Strafford, or make your way west and north to Fellows Lake, sometimes the site for USA Cycling races.
This route is used my many cyclists and is incorporated in routes for the annual Tour de Bass or the Queen City Century. The state has put these signs up which are much appreciated. The folks out toward Strafford know that cyclists, generally, are not trying to make trouble. We are just out for the ride. Jan and I have not had a single incident with the local drivers.
We noticed many people had cut their dead wood up over that past few months. We saw stacks of white oak and walnut ready for next years’ fires.
These contented bovine herds were one of many, out soaking up the sun and warm temps.
Blue Grass Road has the usual number of cross-roads, where north/south farm roads intersect. This one, FR215 can give us a three or five mile extension on our ride, if we choose to use it.
We eventually made it to Strafford with its always busy I-44 interchange. I do not want it left unsaid that Jan and I are careful on the road, but I have always seemed to enjoy riding through this interchange, over the highway. It seems like this place brings an emphasis to me that I, As A Cyclist, Have A Right To Be Here. Again, our caution may be elevated during this point, but I love to ride through here.
We made the Strafford Branch of the Greene County Library our rest stop. I ran into a fellow there that I used to work with 30+ years ago. Mike retired three years ago and now works part-time for the Library. Another friend we happened to meet was Pastor Gene Nicholson of the Strafford United Methodist Church. We noticed a bunch of cars in the parking lot and figured [correctly] that Gene might be there. Not only was he there, but so was his dear wife, Martha. They were having a meeting [with lunch!!–which we passed up–got to keep going, you see] and we enjoyed talking with them for a bit. In fact, we talked so long that I urged Gene to get back inside so that he could lead in the blessing over the food. He said, “I’ve already prayed” with the implication that the good Methodists of Strafford would feel free to start without him! Blessings on you, Gene! We will stop by again soon, maybe for lunch!
Jan had asked me if I wanted to stretch the ride to include the city of Marshfield [we would use the old Route 66 to get there], but I declined. I am not yet in that good a shape to go there. Maybe later.
We came upon this lady leading her horse down the road. We started talking so the horse would hear us approaching and not get spooked by our sudden appearance. The lady led the horse off the road and told us that since her steed had gotten pregnant, she was harder to handle. Jan said she knew what that was like….
We came to Danforth Cemetery and took the west fork. The south fork would have brought us back to town via Catalpa [the road of the one-legged goose that I saw last week], but we decided to head back to the Old Wire Road and retrace our path home.
I know from simple intuition that the whole country has hills and climbs of varying degrees, but it sure seems like the Ozarks have more than their share…. I also know that some people would just tell me to just “Toughen up!” I also know that my son, who lives in the Rockies of Colorado would just stare at me….
We returned to the Old Wire Road and came back by this dairy farm. This reminded me of an event a couple of years ago. Jan and I were heading out to Strafford one Saturday on this road when all of a sudden a freshly loaded turd hearse pulled onto the road ahead of us. It was one of those times when Jan says, “Ride with your mouth shut.” Well, I wanted to pass it, but nothing doing, Jan didn’t want to get anywhere close to it. So we followed it for close to a mile, weaving around various objects that presented themselves on the pavement until it pulled off into this dairy. We have laughed about that ever since, with our mouths open of course.
We saw the dreaded farm implement behind a tractor as we went by and saluted it.