Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip

Monday, October 11, 2010

Our campsite at Robertsville State Park
 Day 39 - It was a long, rough day of pedaling for us. With all of the goals of this adventure satisfied, we are anxious to get home, but our planned high mileage day beat us up with a seemingly endless series of long steep hills in the afternoon. When it was all over we had covered 70 miles, our 2nd highest mileage day on the trip, but we only averaged a little over 10 mi/hr because of the hills. Our day started out fine with a motel breakfast and an 8:45 AM start in the cool morning air. We traveled on Hwy 61 all the way to Festus, MO. We did have some challenging climbs on this part of the route, so we were ready for a long rest in Festus. It was lunchtime, so we stuffed ourselves for one hour at an all-you-can eat buffet before heading west on Hwy A. I was expecting this county road to be narrow and hilly, but it was wide, smooth and had a fantastic shoulder over a car width in places. There were many rockcuts so the grades were much easier than expected. After 10 miles we began heading NW on Hwy BB. This was our favorite part of the entire day, except for lunch! We pedaled through a colorful valley next to Belews Creek. The easy grades of the symmetrical hills allowed for fast travel. We were sorry when it ended because once we started pedaling NW on Hwy NN, it was an entirely different road. The hills were very steep and long. Any downhill sections were over very quickly, but we did hit our fastest speed of the entire trip at 47.5 mi/hr. We only missed our record speed by just a half mi/hr! This difficult section of the route lasted over 10 miles and Geri was near her physical limit, but fortunately we reached a much friendlier Hwy O that got us to Robertsville State Park 15 minutes before sunset. We have been to this state park before during our previous pursuit of Missouri State Parks, but we did not camp here at that time. We nearly had the campground to ourselves. We were not very hungry after stuffing ourselves so much at lunch and our exceedingly high physical effort today, so we just ate snacks for dinner and rehydrated. We look forward to getting on the Katy Trail tomorrow and leaving the hills behind for a while as we enjoy the peak fall colors along the Missouri River.

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