800+ miles to home. 350 to berea Kentucky. Before I got deep into the Missouri ozarks the day before yesterday I had a couple traditional cornhusk wrapped tamales at a roadside stand with some great salsa.
In a town that was part of a forty mile detour from my mapped route due to bridge damage sustained in this years flooding. The ozarks are crazy kind of like the weave of a cloth I would go up at a 7-9 % grade for an 1/8 or 1/4 mile and then back down for the same distance then repeat. At the bottom of most descents was a sign reading impassible when flooded and a depth gauge marked on the sides of bridges. Luckily the water was down. I chased a thunderstorm for a couple hours around and after dark finally catching it at the ozark national riverways park I spent the night at. It was a hot and muddy night but I found some fire wood anyway and had a fire and cooked dinner. The dinner roused the parks native in habitants a pack of 5 raccoons and I had a battle royale to keep them from my food while cooking if I turned my back they would be on the picnic table in a flash.
In the morning I walked to the river branch by my camp site waded out into the current and sat in the water in a pool of sun for a couple hours. It was a good experience and much more comfortable than the moped seat has become. I broke camp and headed toward Jonson shut ins state park over more of these short hills and rice crossings the park is a mustsee one of the last southern glacier glades and a nice campground and visitors center built with stimulus funds.
After finally hitting flatlands again at an old mining town I decided to head off route angling north to st Louis. To stay with a friend from college. What should have been a two hour ride stretched to four and a half repairing two flats from driving on the shoulder of a busy fourlane. St Louis wAs good had a nice bed an a home cooked meal. The next day Seth and I ride around and looked at urban decay. Exploring a turn if the century burned out apartment complex. My professors always said that a building was at it's best with it's bones laid bare and this one was no different. In the way back I got some st Louis style ribs and stopped by Burroughs grave. The monument to a man who did everything in his power to disappoint and abandon his family and responsibilities only to be brought home in death trapped with them for eternity. That reads as poorly as I sounded in my head. I changed out the transmission fluid before I left replacing 10w30 that I had mistakingly topped off with hd30 the day before. The tranny had sounded like it was dying when I pulled into st Louis. I used type f transmission fluid this time and was pleasantly surprised that the bucking I had noticed pulling away in first gear was gone the shift to second no longer required me letting off the throttle. A huge improvement. My new worry is a rear tire showing excessive wear and maybe a wheel bearing that is beginning to protest. After experiencing a high speed blow out the night before I figure that I can deal with those when they completely Fail.
I crossed the Mississippi and heade I to Illinois and ended up at devils kitchen lake campground after eating some egg battered chile relleños in a college town just north of there. I awoke to find I'd camped on an isthmus and had lake on bithsides of me. A cool breeze helped to fight what had been 101 degree heat the day before. Kentucky here I come