As I've been learning over the past few weeks, life on the road is full of ups and downs. My day started on a great big up. My kind hostess, Ellen, accompanied me to the Mizzou campus so I could see the historic columns at the center of the Quad. They surpassed my expectations. This centerpiece of Mizzou's campus was truly impressive.
I then hit the KATY trail. Today would be my last day riding this dusty path along the Missouri River. I soon found that this segment of the trail, from McBaine to Sedalia, was my favorite. Once I arrived at Boonville, the trail diverted from the river and led me up into the hills. The scenery was beautiful. I climbed several miles through the woods to ultimately arrive at a desolate hilltop farm. All I could see were blue skies and grain fields, all I could hear was the wind rustling through the leaves. I took a moment to process it all.
After this tranquil moment atop the hill I cruised down to arrive at Clifton City. It's possible that this site was some form of a small "city" back in the day, but it sure wasn't anymore. It was here I discovered that my front tire had gone flat. Damn. I spent the next 30 minutes unloading my bike, fixing the flat, then hand-pumping pressure back into the patched tube. Using a hand pump to fill a tire is very tedious, by the way. But hey, I fixed the tube and was on my way.
Once in Sedalia, my destination for the night, I headed to a sports bar for dinner. Despite my minor setback, I got to where I needed to be. Tonight was a big night, the US Men's National Team versus Ecuador in an elimination game and game 6 of the NBA Finals. I found a spot at the bar and buckled my seat belt.
There were two noteworthy moments at the bar. First, there was this one older gentleman who was asking everyone to buy him a drink. Once someone finally did, he proceeded to knock his glass over, spilling beer and partially shattering the beverage container. Despite the shards of glass which were strewn across the bar and in his glass, the man raised the drink to his lips for one last sip. The guy sitting next to him yelled, "DUDE! DON'T DO THAT!"
My jaw nearly hit the ground. The guy would have been screwed had he taken that sip. Sobering up for half a second, the drinker said, "I-I-I think I'ma go home now." Good idea, buddy.
The second moment came as I got to talking to Ed, a police officer in the community. I commented, "Man, this place turned out a decent crowd for a Wednesday night."
Ed gently responded, "Well, its Thursday night, but there are a few other bars that bring out a good crowd too." Nice, I had become that guy who didn't know what day it was.
After a nice time at the sports bar, I was feeling good again. Ed told me about an affordable campsite at the State Fair grounds, so I headed outside to hop back on my bike. My good spirits plummeted when I saw my bike. The same front tire I was so proud of myself for fixing had gone flat again. Dammit. It appeared to be a slow leak, so I pumped it with just enough air to get me to the fairgrounds. Once there, I camped out in my filth on a hot, humid Missouri night. That's how my life on the road is going, elated highs followed by frustrated lows, then repeated.