Monday, August 7, 2006

Scenes from Missouri

The Ozarks of Missouri (which I found comes from the French aux arcs, and means roughly "at the home of the Arkansas Indians) has been my first state where I can finally this is different. I'm not in the south anymore, and I'm not in the east anymore either. This is entirely different. And the cowboy hats and belt buckles just showed up.

Here's some pics.

I ran into Uma early one morning after camping at Fort Davidson State Park in Pilot Knob just southwest of Farmington, MO. I saw a figure coming down the road, and that figure turned out to be Uma from Oregon who is hiking across the entire country to South Carolina. She went from Oregon to Wyoming last Summer and Wyoming to where you see her here thus far this summer. Like everyone else who meets her, what struck me most were the little dog boots she had engineered for her pooch. She had stiched some pieces of cheap rubber gloves to the bottom of children's socks and then fastened them on using velcro. She was enthusiastic and a straight west coast kind of gal, fearless, and...well...just plain cool. Notice the Paul's Boutique t-shirt. Meeting hip travellers is the bomb.

I camped behind a church in Eminence the next night and awoke at 3:30 AM to rain falling through my un flied mesh tent. Then, a few hours later, ants began pouring into the tent. What a drag. So I brushed up my spirits by partaking of an all you can eat breakfast buffet at an old time soda fountain shop with fans run on a pully system....observe....

Not a great picture but a super cool thing to see. Next I headed down the road for some beautiful scenes along the Ozark National Scenic Riverway. By 8:30 am I arrived at the Jack's Fork where the day's boating had begun in earnest.

Wished I'd had time to float a bit with 'em but I moseyed up the road another few hundred yards and found Alley Spring which feeds the Jack's Fork and saw this...

and this...

And then saw and heard this very happy otter...

I could shoot myself for not recording the sounds of his happy morning barking bouncing off that beautiful wall of stone. The red color you see in the water next to him the reflection of the Alley Spring millhouse. The spring pumps a whopping 80 million gallons of crystal blue water daily.

By afternoon I arrived at Penny and George Frazier's home in Licking, MO for a quick and hugely memorable visit at their farm called Goods from the Woods which will receive its own blog entry. However, while I was there they took me to the county fair up in Rolla where I saw this man donned in a crackling fire lava shirt, wearing a...."look at the size of that" shark's tooth necklace and singing "forty-acres and a mule" post slavery frontier songs to educate all those young Missouri crackers on exactly where he'd come from. Stand back boys, these songs might burn ya.

Yeah, Licking MO was a pretty weird side trip and one most TranAmers miss. And here are some final highlights.

The End of the Earth. Looking back over my shoulder after a long hard climb out of a dried up and rocky river valley in the heart of the Ozark Plateau. After leaving Licking, I entered into some of the prettiest terrain of my trip.

I call this shot God in the Sky as that is what it felt like at the end of an amazing day. I had arisen that Sundary morning, had a cup of coffee with Robert Carr of Ozark Plateau Bison, taken a shower, put on my Sunday finest (shorts and a black short sleeve shirt with a collar), shared a Sunday school with three little ladies in their 70's at Mansfield Methodist and was touched with understanding re: forgiveness and repentance, ate with enthusiasm the delicious communion bread, was given a generous donation by two members of the congregation, returned to the Carr's for a lunch of Buffalo-maccaroni-cheese casserole, went out and visited the bison....pictured here....

then loaded up my bike, shook Robert's hand after he offered up some mighty fine Buffalo jerky for the road, then headed north up EE (they name roads after letters of the alphabet in Missouri...weird huh) to Baker's Creek Heirloom Seed Festival where I wandered around and met a few people including the host and extraodinarily young and impressive Jere Gettle whose reputation preceded him, before I bought about 10 packets of heirloom seed on sale for $1 a piece (Mitch and Elizabeth...guess comes part I of your mulit-part and extremely late wedding present....I love having a year to give a gift....the guilt helps too), and then I got on my bike around 6PM to ride 30 stunningly gorgeous miles up to Marshfield. All in all a pretty fabulous day.

Peace out y'all. Next time you hear from me I'll be in Kansas!

This entry was posted on 8/7/2006 1:11 PM

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