C2C Leg#3 Day 15 Stanton to St. Joe State Park: What goes down must go up

Jul 11, 2021

7/11/21

Day 15: Stanton KOA to St. Joe State Park

Miles: 70
Total Miles: 736.5
MyZone MEPs: 1199 and I earned everyone of them

With headlamps on, we prepared breakfast outside of our cabin and left Stanton KOA 6:20am.

We had a pleasant steep rolling 7 miles on old Highway Route 66 to Oak Grove Village before we turned on road “A”.

But today I’m feeling like I’m carrying too much weight.  We had shifted a few things around and are carrying 4 32-oz jugs of Gatorade.  There are big gaps between service areas and staying hydrated and keeping electrolytes balanced (because we sweat SOOO much) is a challenge.  And today, my legs feel tired and my bike feels really, really heavy.

Road “A” became clear that it stood for Deliverance Alley - as soon as we turned down this road, we could tell something was different.  It obviously was an impoverished area.  There were wrecked houses, yards of broken down cars, people living outside, trash strewn dirt roads, broken down mobile homes taken over by ivy and shrubs... and it got dark and started raining. (Cue the banjo horror story music).  I told Doug that we should stick close together. We did not want to spend any more time in this area than we had to.

We hit another 9% climb and I had to walk it.  I hardly ever walk anything so Doug knew something was up. We stopped at the top for a break.

Was it me or my bike? I knew my back tire was low on pressure, but the valve pin was bent and we didn’t want to risk putting in air and having it fail out here in the Ozark backwoods.  

I must have looked miserable because when we got to an area with a respectable driveway, Doug said pull over and we’d try with the air.  Turns out I only had 50 lbs of pressure and Doug was able to pump it up to 75lbs (out of desired 80). 

Now I knew that my legs weren’t really the problem, but it had been like riding with a flat tire.  My world just went from misery to knowing I’d make it. It was still plenty hard, but at least I didn’t feel like I was dragging 50 lbs behind the bike on every pedal stroke.  16 miles of pouring rain, unfriendly looks from people, steep climbs with short descents, and eerily quiet road.

We stopped at a school in Richwoods to get out of the rain for a bit.  While sitting under a cover eating apples, folks were parking to go to the Baptist church just across the way.  A big guy, Bruce,  saw us huddled under the walkway cover and came over to see what was up.

He asked what road we came from then said “Didja hear any banjos?  Remember that movie Deliverance?  I wouldn’t want anybody’s car to break down back there.  Glad you came through it”  Ok.  So we weren’t imagining anything and we we right to be worried.

We had a lively conversation with Bruce, retired Army (20 years).  He wanted to come back to show people what they could make of their lives with hard work, and that retired military were held up high (respected) and he appreciated that.

When I asked him why he loved this area he said loved the freedom.   “You want to build something?  Go ahead, there are no codes.  If it works, great.  If it fails, that’s on you” 

He told us that he has a house with a 2 car garage, a cement foundation, and a concrete driveway.  His Hard work earned it.  If someone wants to steal from him they should know that he is blunt, has a short temper and is a good shot and ready to defend his property, even if its a 50 cent can of Pepsi.

 

All day up and down.  (3) 9% hills, (1) 11% hill, and a dozen 7 - 8% hills, then I stopped counting.

A stretch of horrible highway with a double rumble strip that pushed us farther out into the road than we liked.  

Lunch at Hub’s Pub - baked potato loaded with pulled pork and butter and sour cream far superior choice to doug’s Cobb salad - since it did not sit well with him after our too-short lunch.

  

Forever backroads with a lot of map checks to get to the camp at 5pm - that was 11 hours of riding. 

St. Joe State Park is for ORVs and Horses.  We are staying in the ORV area and yes, that is a motorcycle with training wheels.

 

Made spaghetti dinner right away and good thing.  Weather turned and the rain came.  We threw everything into the tent for an early night of pouring rain and distant thunder.

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