Last night a tornado touched down in Jefferson City, 55 miles away. All we had was a thunderstorm.
The storm extended from Oklahoma to DC. Locally it was tracking right along Route 66.
The weatherman said the storm was as dying out so I left the hotel around 9 a.m. I wasn’t on the road more than two minutes before it started raining hard.
It only lasted a few miles. Then it calmed and I could enjoy more Route 66 roadside nonsense like this enormous rocker.
The road was running right next to the interstate. About ten miles in I could see a big electric sign on the highway: Severe Thunderstorm Warning in Effect.
I began scanning for shelters. Just outside St. James in spotted a pole barn next to a VFW post. I checked the weather radar and decided to make a run for St. James about 3 miles away. As I pulled into town a lightning bolt flashed. I counted for the thunder. 5. It looked much closer than 5 miles away so I looked for a place to eat second breakfast.
Not one restaurant in town. The storm intensified so I put The Mule under the large wave of the Town Hall and went inside to wait it out.
The radar looked nasty.
After an hour my tummy started rumbling. The storm cooperated enough for me to ride 1/2 mile to a Burger King. They were having trouble with their cooking gear so it was a Burgerless King.
I ate lunch with a local man named Bill Clark. He told me about mountain biking with his kids near Branson, Missouri. He said he’d ride a bike across country but only if it had a 900cc engine. He was an entertaining guy. I’m glad I didn’t sit alone with my cellphone.
The clouds cleared and I was back on the road. As I progressed, the temperature and humidity increased. The hilly terrain made for some sweaty climbs but my bike and my body were up to the task.
I couldn’t complain after seeing this road sign for the Trail of Tears.
And whenever I started feeling worn out something silly would appear and improve my mood, like this sign:
Then there was this not so little guy along the shoulder:
The route moved away from the interstate for some hilly but very pretty riding. I especially liked the rocky cliffs along this creek.
Note how swollen the creek is.
Every so often I get off route, but this intersection has my name all over it:
About four miles shy of my destination, I took a break at the top of a long hill. I drank 28 ounces of Gatorade and ate an ice cream bar.
Two miles later was an intersection with several hotels but I really wanted to camp two miles further in the town park of Waynesville.
Waynesville is at the bottom of a long hill. I had a blast flying down it.
Then I saw the park. Next to a creek. The park was closed
The nearest hotels were back up the hill so I turned The Mule around and rode right back up.
I ordered a large pizza after checking into my hotel. It was cheaper than a medium.
It was that kind of day.
Miles ridden today: 61.5
Tour total: 501.5
Tomorrow should be my last day on Route 66.