Thursday, August 2, 2012

Well, here we are in Canton, Missouri.


Wednesday we left St. Louis and it seemed as if it would take us forever to get out of town. It just about did! 4.5 hours and only 30 miles… lots of stops, lots of turns, lots of traffic and only a few places to cross the Big Muddy, the Missouri river. We did finally get out of town and rode along the river for quite sometime. Last night we arrived at First Presbyterian Church in Louisiana,  Missouri. It was a cool little town. I’d go back!


Prior to arriving in Louisiana,  we saw the “last train to Clarksville”. So of course we had to stop at the Clarksville station. Very cool little place. It seemed out of place as it had the Napa Valley feel to it. Orchards,  shops, you could even rent bikes. But I don’t think I would have wanted one of those as we climbed up and over the bluffs the last 30 miles of the day. We did have a fresh fruit plate in the restaurant. All local grown fruit that was in season –  apples,  peaches, cantaloupe,  watermelon – this made the heat of the day just melt away.


We left Louisiana this morning about 6:00 a.m. and were immediately greeted with what would greet us over the next 4 to 5 hours.  A WALL of a hill!  Thankfully, the bikes worked perfectly,  the engines sputtered a few times. Our least favorite sign of the day was ‘scenic overlook 1/2 mile’. That meant there was going to be a hill that was at least 1/2 mile long. I’m not talking little hill, or one hill, in the course of 5 miles we encountered 4 hills that we needed to rest at the top. And for me that meant putting my lungs back in my chest a few times… as they were screaming at me “we need air!”


Ron figures he covered over a mile in the short 1/2 mile climb up the bluff hill, as he did the switch back method of climbing. My bike has a lower set of gears so I was able to simply pedal ever so slowly up the hills.  One time I made the mistake of putting my foot down (I suppose that was fear of falling again as I was going so slow),  I ended up walking about half the hill.  Walking up hill pushing a loaded touring bike is way harder than cycling up so I was sure to never do that again.


Our speed going up the hills may have topped out at 3 mph, but Oh, coming down was fun! I hit 39 mph and likely could and would have gone faster except my ‘hat’ on the helmet catches the wind at times and  it tends to cock my head back.   So I kept my head down and tried to maintain a constant speed.


Another note about the hills, the up and down; sometimes you can use the momentum of coming down to sling up the next one… that doesn’t work when you run  into a wall you need to climb.


Arriving in Hannibal,  Missouri we rode through down town, which looks much like Mark Twain may have seen it. Except for the tourist aspect that is everywhere! We ended up at McDonald’s which allowed us to to see the locals.


We left Hannibal and headed up HWY 61. No more bluffs! No more rock wall hills to climb,  just traffic,  the sun, the heat, and the threatening thunderstorm. By this time we knew we would not make Iowa as the first thing we saw on the highway was a sign that said Iowa was 63 miles away and it was already past noon!


The day was awesome, it taught us to continue to push! That with every hill in life, with determination and with prayer things can be overcome! and overcome we did! We didn’t get as far as we may have planned when we started out  but we are alive, we are well, we are experiencing the beauty of creation and we are having FUN!


Blessings and thanks!

Pastor David Sperstad

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First Lutheran Church
2100 Riverview Drive
Little Falls MN 56345
320-632-1050 fax

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Sunday Worship times:

8:30 and 10:30 a.m.

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