I came back to the town park after dinner only to learn that much of it had flooded. And a big picnic was going on right next to my tent.
So I moved everything to higher ground next to a gazebo and nearly fell asleep sitting in a park bench. By ten I was in my tent too tired to change out of my street clothes.
I was too tired to sleep well but I was kept comfortable by a cool breeze. Around 10, I checked the radar on my phone. A storm was coming so I got up and put the rain fly in my tent.
Around 2 am I woke up feeling wet. It was raining inside my tent, much harder than last summer in Winnett, Montana. After that episode I sealed the seams of the rainfly, or so I thought.
I moved everything under the gazebo and negotiated a couple of hours of sleep from the sandman.
Using the google I learned that there were stores that carried tents in Springfield. After breakfast I rejoined Route 66 and headed for Ozark Adventures, a store catering to outdoorsy types.
Driving in Missouri is scary. I was passed or cut off dozens of times. The ride to Springfield wasn’t particularly hard, much easier than the previous three days. In Springfield itself, the drivers went from obnoxious to scary. I was stressed out by the time I arrived at the store.
As I was leaning my bike against the store front, my back wheel started coming off. Apparently I had caught the quick release lever with the hardware on my pannier. Scary!
Inside I was nearly talked into buying a one-person Big Agnes tent when a customer who was about my size told me how he hiked the Grand Canyon with a two-person Big Agnes tent. He said the very slight increase in weight was well worth the trade off in comfort.
The new two-person tent weighs less than half of my old one. I’m gonna be a happy camper.
After spending an appalling amount of money, I turned on the google for directions and headed to Ash Grove where there was supposed to be camping at the town park. I tried calling the police to get permission but no one answered.
I escaped Springfield using bike paths. After some time on a busy highway I picked up the 8-mile Frisco Highline rail trail to Willard. Bliss. And I had a tailwind.
Unfortunately, my phone was running out of juice. If something went amiss how would I find a campground?
I stopped at a cafe and plugged in my phone while eating some ice cream. The place was about to close but it was in the same building as the town library.
I went inside an catnapped while my phone charged during this hottest part of the day.
After two more miles on the rail trail, I turned west for eight miles of rollers. Something was different. I was going much, much faster than anytime during the trip. I hill hopped several of the rollers, speeding down one hill and flying up the next.
As I pulled into Ash Grove, I saw a man in a sedan parked on a side street. He was waving me off the main road. I pulled over. He then proceeded to lead me to bike touring paradise. The town park has a house with a kitchen, shower, bathroom, and indoor bike parking. Outside was a swimming pool.
I took off my shoes and socks and waded into cool, wet awesomeness. I had 15 minutes to cool down before the pool closed for the day. It was more than enough time.
Later I met Corey and Mark who were staying at the house while taking a rest day on their east to west ride on the TransAmerica Trail.
Tomorrow I (actually all three of us) hope to escape the Ozarks. I celebrated with a dinner of an apple and three peanut butter flour tortillas. And one of Mark’s IPAs.
Miles today: 62
Total so far: 631.5