This morning we packed up our gear and hit the road. The plan was to ride through the Ozark mountains 75 miles to the town of Summersville. I did jinx myself of saying that the Ozarks aren’t steep. They are! They have different characteristics than the Appalachians do. The North Carolina mountains were long steep climbs with several sections that increase in steepness. The Ozarks are short climbs but have some severe grades (how the steepness of a hill is measured). Today the average grade of the climbs was a 10% or 11%. There was one 14%. To put it into perspective for those that live in North Carolina, the hill on I-40 traveling west going up the mountain to Asheville is 6% grade. We climbed a total of 5800 feet in temps that reached 100 degrees. Needless to say it was a hot and long day. Here was the elevation profile from today.
This morning we passed one cyclists who was heading east from Tulsa to Pensacola, Florida. When I asked him what was in Pensacola he said, “a family vacation”. I guess I need to look into leaving for my family vacations in November a few days early to ride to Myrtle Beach.
The route had has going through the Ozark National Scenic Waterway. Which meant one thing…plenty of swimming opportunities. We found a sweet little spot on the Current River to refresh ourselves and cool down bit.
Even after cooling off in the river that type of climbing in that type of heat will wear on you. The downside of today was there was a section in the route where there were no gas stations or any other public establishments for 35 miles to get water etc. We had reached a point where we both were out of water and beginning to be in a daze. Things were not looking good. Then we came across the house of Tom and Diane Richards. What lovely people! They invited us in to the air condition, filled our water bottles multiple times, and took the opportunity to really reach out and make us feel welcomed as well as cared for. Tom even offered to drive us up the road over the next few hills if we wanted but we declined. Tom and Diane, if you guys are reading this, thank you so much! You do not know how much that meant to us.
Tonight we are staying at Rose’s Green Roof Inn. When you get here you just pick a room (they are all unlocked), make yourself at home, and when you leave you leave the money for the night and the key on the nightstand. Interesting way to do business but it seems to work.
Tomorrow looks like it should start to level out some, not a lot. We are going to try and ride 86 miles into Marshfield.