Jan decided to shop today with our daughter, so I took out on a trip to Strafford and back. I have not done a road trip for some time. I was curious to see how dilapidated I had become. I did not have to wait too long.
Early on, I got caught by a train and so did circles in the road while waiting for it to pass. I was not about to put my foot down and stand there! These coal hoppers are headed out east toward Memphis and points beyond. This same track goes through Rogersville, Fordland, Seymour, etc.
I picked a route that went north through the east side of Springfield and then east on the Old Wire Road.
Fall and winter brings its own type of foliage. I saw a couple of patches of cat tails and plenty of these red-berried shrubs along fence rows.
I turned east on FR112. Jan and I usually avoid this road due to a rough low water crossing. However, the county has fixed it all up and it is now much better.
On down the road, a couple of pooches lazing in the sun decided that they needed a closer look at me. They did not appear to be threatening, but I twice gave them a strong “NO!”. They must have heard it before since they stopped in their tracks and just started looking around as if to say, “Who, me?”
FR112 proceeded with a long down hill until it reached the T intersection with FR249. My top coasting speed reached over 37 mph, but with the STOP sign at the bottom and the left turn uphill to head north on FR249 I was soon back to a more normal 4 mph….
At this turn, I estimated that FR249 was uphill at a 1½% grade. Soon, too soon, the grade went to about 3 or 4%. I am only guessing. Perhaps all of you good cycling readers can fill me in on just how elevations are determined. Is it one foot in elevation for ten feet of distance, or something like that? Yes, I know I could google it, but I still don’t have confidence in my ability to ask the correct question. So show us some love and help a brother out.
I had the road to myself. No one came by. The views are captivating. I love the trees and the vista off and down the west side.
This long row of pine trees suddenly reminded me of Florida. Over the next rise is I-44 and the RR out of St. Louis through Rolla. This made me remember the Battle of Wilson’s Creek and Gen. Lyon, who was the first Union general killed in action. At that time, the RR only went as far as Rolla, 115 miles away. Perhaps if it had come all the way to Springfield, an event which did not occur until 1870, Gen. Lyon would have been able to get enough troops quickly into southwest Missouri and thereby defeat the rebel forces under Gens. Price and McCulloch. Pure speculation.
By the time I reached the south end of Strafford, the strong headwind and the recent climbs made me change my route a bit. I stopped at the Strafford Senior Center instead of going on into town. There I found some good folks, Peggy in particular, who helped me refill the water bottle and take a short respite from the travails of riding in the wind.
Now well watered, I headed home via Mo Rd YY [Division] and FR128.
I think I could also call FR128 Snake Road, since Sam and I saw a blue racer working its away across the asphalt one time.
I pumped my way over to Mo Hwy D [Sunshine] and came on home using Catalpa. Before the final climb of the day (would they ever end?), I stopped at Jones’ Spring to gather my forces before the final assault.
I ended up with a bit over 32 miles, which gave me a tad over 3100 for the year.
And this, my friends, is my final post and final road trip for 2011. God has been good to us and has given us a large measure of protection while on the road, and to our family as well. I thank Him and ask for His blessings to be on all of you, my dear readers, for the new year.
I look forward to the new year and what it holds. Until then,