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Monday, May 21, 2007

Into the Ozarks

Marshfield, MO to Summersville, MO
88 miles

We pedaled hard as it got into the 80s today. I'm so happy my parents are with us so that we can stay somewhat cool in the camper. I was chased by a dog, who fortunately only chased me for a minute or so. I think that was the first time I've ever gone 18 mph uphill. A few miles later, I was chased by a goat, but fortunately again, it stayed off the road. We saw a couple of touring cyclists heading in the opposite direction, but since we don't have any bags, they probably thought we were local cyclists and they didn't stop to chat with us. We're staying at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways park, which is nice. Someone left firewood behind, so we have a nice fire going.

As we get further and further east, we realize that there are some drivers who don't really know what to do when they encounter a cyclist on the road. So here's a few tips...

-Never honk, unless there is a true emergency. Many people like to honk as a way of showing their support, but since it's really loud, it scares the bejeezus out of us. You can show your support by waving instead. Believe me, we do notice, and appreciate it.

-Never spit, dump, or throw anything out the window at or near us. Really, we don't appreciate being sprayed at with water bottles, no matter how hot it is. And littering is illegal, anyway.

-Always give as much room as possible when passing, and if you can't, wait until it is safe to do so. And no, one foot of space between us isn't safe, and here's why: Your car produces drafts that can pull or push us in odd directions, including under your real wheel or off the cliff on the other side.

-When at an intersection or making a turn, look for bicycles as well. Check the sidewalks and bicycle lanes before you proceed.

Fortunately, we haven't had too many dangerous encounters, but I hope the drivers get better as we leave Missouri, because these people must really hate cyclists.

One last thing, we are in the Ozark mountains (although they don't resemble the rockies AT ALL). This means spotty cell phone coverage so don't be worried if we miss a day or two. We will post as soon as we get service.

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