Monday, February 9, 2015
Too Nice Not To Ride
Not much goes on in Shannon County anymore, aside from the typical "hogs, dogs, and logs", though it is a factoid that Missouri's first copper mine was located there. Winona is only about 10 miles from Eminence, the county seat, on what true hillbillies would call the Jacks Fork (no apostrophe) of the Current River, all a part of the Ozarks National Scenic Riverways system. Since I had no canoe on the Enterprise -- an inflatable might be a possibility, I rolled up Highway 19 and on through Eminence in search of 'S' curves. I found them in abundance.
I think there's a stretch of about 20 miles miles where it is nothing except double yellow lines. When the road isn't twisting, it is going up and down. The bad part about that is that it has been winter, and we've had ice and snow, though not an excessive amount. The road surface has suffered, and there is loose stuff on it about where I'd usually pick my line. Once in a while, this caused me sufficient anxiety to generate some wobble. The Enterprise didn't seem to mind much, though, and it was a good exercise in getting back in form after not enough riding the past few months.
I was tempted to take a detour down to Pulltite but refrained. I had to admit by that point that I was starting to tire just a little bit. Lunch at Salem sounded better so I pressed on, settling for a quick Quarterpounder and coffee because I saw the Arches just beyond the intersection of 19 and 32. It is notable that something as nasty and unappealing a a McDonald's hamburger isn't so bad when you are getting tired and hungry. I actually pulled out refreshed and ready for the leg home which meant heading down Hwy 32 to Licking. By this time, the vest was off and in the hole with my jacket.
Unlike the previous stretch, the relatively short run to Licking was relaxing. Most of the turns on 32 were more sweeping without any drop-offs, and the surface is in better shape. At Licking, I turned south on 63 which now has a lot of that alternating three-lane setup. It doesn't ruin the countryside like four-lanes while allowing safe passing of trucks and dawdlers. The Enterprise made short work of the run to Cabool, and I was back to Highway 60 with a final stop for non-ethanol premium at a Signal station and back home.
With the two twenty-minute stops, I made the entire circuit of about 275 miles in 6 hours -- not exactly setting any land speed records but definitely enjoying the scenery. My face is slightly sun and wind burned below my shades, and I feel like a biker again.
I'm starting to think that an Iron Butt ride on the Enterprise would almost be cheating. For example, the GPS shows very close to 1000 miles to a friend's house in New Mexico with a time of about 15 hours. In the summer, with good weather, and adding a couple of hours for the bike versus the car, that's doesn't seem too daunting. On the other hand, as my older sister reminded me the other night, I am over sixty.