10 September - Springfield to Rolla: 220 miles
Getting into it. Leave Illinois and stroll into Missouri today.
GPS says at the end of the day 235 miles in 11:36. Total 536 miles. Tiring.
I like the way Bear has things set. We have a routine: pack the wagon at 8 am, riding by 8:30. Then take the day in roughly 1 hour stages. Breaks things up and means we get 4-5 stops a day to see stuff.
First stop today was Carlinville. Typical little American country town. Largest courthouse in the state. Look like a mini St Paul's cathedral. Town square had a bandstand park in the middle of it. Had coffee at [look-up].
I find it stange how genuinely interested Americans seem to be. People keep coming over and chatting. About what we're doing, the weather, where we're from. In England it's just complete indifference.
Bear had a little surprise for us. He'd arranged for the Chain of Rocks Bridge to be opened for us so we got to ride across it. He said he's the only tour that has this access. It was really cool riding across past a tour group of Finnish riders staring at us in disbelief as we rode on by.
Skirted St Louis on a very wet freeway then stopped at Merramec State Park. Interesting little 66 heritage museum with a large sovenir shop. Almost everywhere you turn there are souvenir shops.
Lunch was at a Cracker Barrel. I'm on holiday and so won't gripe but...plates weren't clean, waitress gave us the wrong orders, the catfish could have been anything, portions small, Wifey had a long hair in her food, I could go on. Only redeeming feature was the raspberry lemonade, very refreshing.
Last stop of the day was Merramec Caverns, made famous by Frank and Jesse James. I think I've heard of them. Cold be those two Welsh boyos maybe.
Had a another huge ice cream whilst watching people ziplining across the river in the rain.
Rained a lot today but didn't get as wet as yesterday thankfully.
Loads of riders going in the opposite direction in the last stage. Looked to be some real bad-boy gangs, but nearly all of them acknowledged us, which surprised me somewhat.
Bear took us on some windy stuff just north of Pacific. As they say, the Harley handled like a garbage scow. But it was fun.
Arrived in Rolla at about 7pm. 11 hours day. Yiha! Oops, scared one of the other riders today. Pulled up alongside him and gave a big whooping yiha. Bwahahaha!
Dinner in Rolla was a bit interesting. $10 all you could eat barbecue grill at the Sirloin Stockade. Filling. I'll say. Gourmet, not.
Nightcap at what Bear euphemistically called a "Red Neck Bar". Rolla is in a dry county so Ed and Bear rode out of county, bought some beer and then we all sat in the Motel's car park drinking. Convivial.
Best Western Coachlight Rolla typical road motel.