Day 33 – Houston to Bolivar MO

My mom often told me a story about how I used to eat breakfast. One of my favorite breakfasts was French toast and she always said that when I got to the end I was always faced with the same conundrum. The last piece was always too big for one bite, but too small to make two. She commented that she could always tell that I was pondering the decision, each time, anew. And that I always came to the same conclusion, and finished the breakfast in one glorious mouthful.

Nothing has changed. This morning I woke in Houston MO and I knew that it would be over 100 miles to finish at Lynda and Kerry’s place in Bolivar (my sister and brother-in-law). Too far for one day, but if I did it in two, it was going to be two days that were too short. When I had 50 miles in before noon, I knew  I was going to have a hard time stopping. By lunch I was 35 miles from their place and I knew that I wasn’t going to sleep in some RV park in Marshfield, so close to home. So on I came. I still had to ponder it, but I’m sure my mom could have seen how it was going to come out.

Despite doing over 100 miles today – it really didn’t feel that hard. It felt like I was losing altitude all day, and there was hardly a breeze at all. I’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather and although it got up to about 90, it really didn’t feel that hot. Or I just wanted to get to my sister’s because it feels like home.

I started the day leaving Houston (Texas county, Missouri btw) and crossing the Big Piney river. I remember floating this river more than once – I’ve done it with church groups and friends a couple of times. The “float trip” is a Missouri tradition which I didn’t appreciate much as a kid but now I miss. Seems like it always meant sunburned knees for me, but I miss the rope swings, jumping off the river bluffs, exploring the little river caves, and getting dumped in the water when the unexpected rock caught you the wrong way.

The Big Piney River.

The TransAm route took me up to a high ridge that had some great views, but those wide vistas just don’t translate well to photographs. The steep hills from yesterday have pretty much disappeared from the route and today it was all rolling hills. Super easy miles and I was glad for them. By 11:00 I reached Hartville and had an Amish “Fried Pie” for a snack – delicious, flaky crust. Clearly there was butter involved. Who knew I was going to see Amish every day across the county?

Bad news Houston.
We looked these up in Lynda’s flower book – they’re Blazing Stars.
Four attempted tortoise rescues today. I have no idea if it helps or they just get right back out onto that big long sunny rock with the fast things on it.
Nobody seems to do little bales of hay anymore – just these monster bales.
Spray painted on the side “NOT FOR SALE”. I guess the repeated inquiries were getting old.
You know what I’m thinking, right?
I met Phillip (Eastbound) today. He’s going from Seattle to Atlanta.


On old farms around here you often see these corner fence posts made with the rocks they picked up out of the rocky fields. If you don’t have bottom land around here, some of the farming is tough so you see a lot of cattle, turkeys, and hogs.
Power line hole again. I guess I should just keep these for myself until I have a poster of a bunch of them ready.
Lots of these old hay rakes around. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it is.
At the end point, the jourey is about the destination, and here it is. Oh crap if I keep moving half the distance to it, I’ll never get there!

I’ll be staying the next few days with Lynda and Kerry, visiting my mom, and catching up with a million things that I’ve put off doing until this break. So if you don’t hear from me for a couple days, that’s why. I do want to get some fireworks pics around the 4th though. In Missouri, unlike CA, it’s quite legal to set off small explosions until your heart’s content. I have fond memories of running around with firecrackers and bottle rockets all day on the 4th with friends. I can’t believe that was “normal” at the time and I suppose it’s lucky I still have all my fingers. This time maybe I’ll let the pros do the explosions.

The amazing meal I was welcomed with, steaks, sweet potatoes  and Sea Smoke Pinot!
Kelsey, Kerry’s super smart Golden.
Frisbee on the golf course

3 thoughts on “Day 33 – Houston to Bolivar MO”

  1. 100 miles, wow! Especially since you do that almost every day. We did 10.2, elevation gain 17 ft, to the Gold Coast Coffee Shop in Duncan’s Mills. Enjoy the holiday with your family

  2. Great post, Jim. We’ll have a French toast breakfast and do a float trip in your honor on the Russian River (no 100 mile rides, though). Happy reunion with your family and MO roots.

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