These are the voyages of the Wandering Stewarts. Their 6 week, 2000 mile mission is to explore the Natchez Trace from southern Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, to seek out the last of the 8 Missouri State Parks they have yet to visit and to boldly go where no Higginsville resident has gone before (by bicycle).
Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip
Friday, October 8, 2010
The most interesting thing we saw all day!
Day 36 - We had a high mileage day planned, so we woke up earlier than usual. We had a great motel breakfast and got on the road well before 9:00 AM. We still had a north wind, but it was not nearly as strong as yesterday and we were able to make very good time on the level roads out of Charleston, MO. Since entering Missouri yesterday, we had not had to climb a single hill, except when we had to pedal over the Mississippi River levee, then it was flat again. It was not until we reached Benton, MO. that we began to experience hills again and it was all of a sudden. It was almost like reaching the Front Range of the Rockies in Colorado, except the hills were not quite as large. We enjoyed several miles of roller coaster hills and at one point just before Chaffee, MO. there was a long downhill section on a road that had quite a few sharp curves close together. A car had just caught up with us, but it was unable to stay with us through this section of curves. We pulled away from the car like we had a motor on the bike. I wish we could have gotten a video of that fun ride, but we sure were not going to pedal back up that hill to do it! We stopped at a grocery store in Chaffee and I looked for our new Smart phone to call Kent Raider, an old running buddy of mine, who had left a message on the phone that he might be traveling near us and he wanted to know exactly where we would be. I was surprised to find that our phone was not in the pouch we always kept it in. We made a quick search and had to come to the heartbreaking conclusion that we had removed the phone at a quick rest stop in Benton, MO. 15 miles ago and it must not have been returned to its usual traveling compartment. Just as we made this grim discovery, Jerry Harmon drove up beside us to inquire about our trip. Individuals often walk up to us and ask us how far we have traveled. Of course, Jerry happened to catch us at the moment of our despair at losing our fancy new phone. He immediately volunteered to drive me back to Benton to see if it had been turned in at the store we had stopped at. I did not want to inconvenience Jerry, but he insisted, so Geri relaxed at the grocery store with our bike and I rode with Jerry to hunt for our lost phone. Unfortunately, I came up empty handed. Our phone had not been turned in and as Jerry drove me back to Chaffee, I kept my eyes glued to the side of the road we had just pedaled on without seeing the phone. Jerry would not accept any money from me for the gas he used on my search and he seemed more upset for me than I was, although I was pretty disgusted at our carelessness. With no other options available to us, we continued on our journey, but with the large city of Cape Girardeau only 15 miles away, I figured we might be able to get to a Verizon store there before they closed and see if they could help us out, since we did have insurance on the phone. I took my frustration out on pedaling hard; REALLY hard. We covered 15 miles to Cape Girardeau in less than an hour. This helped to raise our average for the 49 miles we covered today to an even 12 mi/hr. We were at a Verizon store before 4:00 PM. We were able to arrange for a new phone to be delivered to this store sometime tomorrow. We do have to pay an insurance deductible for the loss of the phone, but that sure beats having to pay for the full retail price. Of course, our plans to reach Trail of Tears State Park today were extinguished, because we needed to be near the Verizon store tomorrow to pick up our new replacement phone when it arrives. There was a very nice motel located just 100 yards away, so we splurged $90+ for lodging for the night. Interestingly, I am not the type of person that gets the insurance that is often offered on electronic equipment you can purchase nowadays. Just after we purchased our new phone and I was reviewing the sales receipt at home, I found the $6/month charge included for insurance coverage. I was going to call to have it removed, but I was so busy getting ready for this trip that I didn't get around to it, so I figured I would delete the coverage when we returned home. Maybe I better keep the coverage! Our drama with the phone situation consumed most of our afternoon, but we did have a good ride during the morning, however, there was nothing especially interesting to photograph, except for one home in Chaffee, MO. that was really decorated for Halloween. It wasn't that many years ago that the only holiday most people did outdoor decorations for was Christmas, but now, it seems many people adorn their homes for many seasonal holidays. Perhaps the sudden mushroom growth of the rental storage unit businesses everywhere has encouraged people to collect the huge arsenal of decor necessary to participate in so many home decorating opportunities. Anyway, Geri and I were comfortably in our expensive motel room before 4:30 PM and we plan to enjoy the luxury of how some couples spend the night when they are traveling!