It’s always preferable to start with “The Good”. And that was an easy choice for today. This completely isolated section of a very old stretch of Route 66 only runs for about a mile along a “bottoms” area of the Spring River. The very same river that sees the shadow of the Rainbow Bridge featured in yesterday’s blog. A very rare event that the kiddos can join me on even a small part of the ride, but today was that rare occasion. All the hallmarks of the early road are here: Narrow, rough, winding, picturesque. Izzy has been doing more riding on this (ad)venture than she has for years at home. Her helmet remains where she left it in Arizona. Colin would be happy to ride “for a while”, but none of this all day nonsense. 🙂
It’s St. Patrick’s Day! So it’s not surprising that we get a “double-dose” of Good today. The visually astute will note not only his “old Corps” utility cover (cap, for the Army and Navy types), but the Sergeant Chevrons still proudly displayed front and center. My USMC jersey got his immediate attention and the obligatory “Semper Fi, Marine!” The Ol’ Sarge runs a very nice gift shop and period-correct display yard and cordially greets all comers. That “old section” of the Mother Road shown in photo one continues on sporadically, and his shop is on one of those original sections. By the time we stopped by today, we became his 102nd visitor. Lots of folks out traveling on the Mother of Roads on this beautiful Sunday. We enjoyed an on-board lunch while parked in the road frontage of this friendly fellow Marine.
Depending on the severity of the need, this could represent either “The Bad”, or “The Ugly”. Suffice to say that for today at least, it was just “The Bad”. 🙂 The trees grow fairly close to the right of way of this old road, so options are available to the needy.
As for “The Ugly”, perhaps only regular, frequent road bikers will get this. The area TO THE RIGHT of the “rumble strips” is “my portion”. On this stretch of a very heavily traveled (both big trucks and cars) portion of the road (12 to 15 miles), this was my fare. That free zone varied from 6 inches as in this photo, to maybe 12 inches for short stretches. Riding to the LEFT of the white line will get you honked off the road, and scares the hell out of me anyway. Believe me when I say it takes some constant concentration to navigate this little strip of asphalt. Escape mode is to the right on to the gravel. Hitting the rumble strips will put you out of control almost immediately. Ugly.
An addendum (un-pictured) occurred today as well. Leaving Joplin, there was a portion of road where the storm drain covers were diabolical bicycle traps. The cover’s openings were half inch wide rails 2 inches apart, unconnected for the length of the drain and running PARALLEL TO THE DIRECTION OF TRAVEL. The first one I encountered my front wheel dropped straight down and had I been going any slower would have stuck fast in the gap. As it was, I nearly pitched off head over heals. After checking for a bent rim, I vowed to swerve away from the rest of the drains, of which there were many. VERY UGLY.
We are now using Map Booklet Number TWO! Having started with Map Booklet Number Six, that seems like we’re really making progress. It will guide us from Joplin to St. Louis. The terrain has definitely changed, and tomorrow will see us threading through the Ozarks. That sounds like “hills” to me!
Though sunny all day, the thermometer never got north of 55 degrees, and the steady northeast breeze was definitely on the cool side. And, yes, Northeast does mean Headwind. Notice I didn’t add that to the “Bad”or the “Ugly” categories. Some restraint in evidence there.
Glad to have you all along. I look forward to your comments, and try to get an answer back to them when I can. Wifi runs that part of our lives.
Erin go Braugh! (Ireland Forever!)