Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Our 48th and final Missouri State Park by bicycle!!!
Geri looking east from an overlook near our campsite
Our campsite at Trail of Tears State Park

Day 37 - We slept well in our expensive motel room, but we did not find that it was any better than most of the less expensive lodging we usually stay at, in fact, we were quite disappointed at their free breakfast.  We have had restaurant quality and variety free breakfasts at many of the motels we have stayed at on this trip for almost half the price that we paid here. We relaxed until 10:00 AM when the Verizon store called to tell us that our replacement phone had arrived. We packed up quickly, picked up our new phone and headed east through Cape Girardeau on Hwy 146 to Hwy 177 where we turned north. Hwy 177 took us right past Cape Girardeau's Mississippi Riverfront. It was less than 20 miles north from here to reach Trail of Tears State Park. We stopped at the Visitor's Center first and we were enthusiastically welcomed by two of the Park's staff. It was almost as if they knew this was our 48th Missouri State Park and the end of our quest to visit them all from Higginsville by bicycle. We might be the first couple from Higginsville to do this! We spent a long time in the very educational Visitor's Center and learned much more about the horrible Trail of Tears. Our opinion of President Andrew Jackson took a huge nosedive as we learned that he violated a Federal Supreme Court decision and still sided with Georgia State government to have the entire Indian population in several states moved to Oklahoma. The huge loss of life of men, women and children from this forced march west during a horrible winter is unforgivable. Geri and I want to start a grassroots effort to get Andrew Jackson removed from our $20 currency! From the Visitor's Center, we pedaled our loaded bike to the Mississippi River on the east side of the Park before climbing the steep series of hills to reach the nonelectric campground. We unloaded our gear and detached the trailer at our campsite before pedaling to the best overlook we have seen in all the Missouri State Parks. It was a very fitting conclusion to our multiyear goal of visiting all the state parks in Missouri by bicycle and it happened on my 62nd birthday! It was a great birthday present for me and a very satisfying end to this "bucket list" project. We returned to our campsite and cooked a huge spaghetti dinner that we easily consumed. It is amazingly warm for being this deep into October and the weather continues to be great. I can't remember how long it has been since we have seen a cloud in the sky! It was a low mileage day with us covering just a little over 25 miles and our average speed was under 10 mi/hr with all the touring in Trail of Tears State Park and having to climb a lot of seriously steep hills. Our mileage will take a big jump tomorrow as we try to make it to Sainte Genevieve, MO. nearly 70 miles away.

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