Encouraged by the campground owner's description of an off-road bike trail paralleling the River Road, I headed back east this morning rather than following US 61, even though 61 had a nice wide, paved shoulder. Alas, the part of the road with the off-road trail was the part I skipped by going to the campground last night!
I had hoped to get all the way to Cuivre River State Park today, but I drastically underestimated the hilliness of the Great River Road between Hannibal and Louisiana, MO. It was a beautiful ride, but very slow going. By the time I was ready to leave Louisiana, I knew there was no way I'd make the state park by sunset.
I had had to pack my tent very wet this morning, so I wanted to let it dry before trying to sleep in it again... so I went to the nearest campground, which was west of Louisiana, in Bowling Green. Out of my way, but at least doable.
distance: 37.8 mi
This morning as I was loading the Mac bag, I found a stash of acorns that someone -- squirrel? chipmunk? totoro? -- had carefully placed in the toilet-paper bag. Whoever it was hadn't touched my food, probably hoping it would be there later, along with the toilet paper for a cozy nest. I felt bad for spoiling such earnest preparations for the winter, but I couldn't very well return the acorns, so I left them under a tree.
Although I had a great visit at Sandhill, it felt really good to hit the road again today.
The only unusual thing that happened today was that a dog befriended me and followed me for about 7 miles. I finally enlisted the help of another dog owner to keep him in one place while I rode away. I enjoyed having the company for those miles, but I was afraid he wouldn't be able to find his way home, and he was getting very hot and thirsty.
I picked up the Great River Road at Canton and followed it through LaGrange to Wakonda State Park.
total distance: 51.84 mi
[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on October 6, 2004, immediately after the post about Sandhill and Dancing Rabbit]
Hi, folks! Sorry to send so much at once, but I was out of dialup range for quite a while. In my last message I promised to tell you why Abundance Ecovillage and Fairfield, Iowa knocked my socks off. Here goes...
[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on October 6, 2004]
Let's just say I misjudged the distance from Fairfield, IA to Rutledge, MO. I started getting anxious about the time before I was even in Missouri, but I called ahead to my destination and was offered a place to sleep in the barn that night. Encouraged by the prospect of not having to pitch my tent, and imagining at least three walls and some comfy straw, I pedaled on.
After breakfast at Sandhill this morning, I went to Dancing Rabbit for a tour. Somehow I had expected the place to be a little more together; what I found was an eclectic assortment of homes in various stages of construction, essentially none completed. Their organizational structure is more co-op based than communal, so that money is always changing hands from individuals to groups and back again, for phone service, electricity, water, time, cooking, composting, whatever someone needs.
This morning I got a great communal breakfast and a tour of the farm. Sandhill has been a commune for over 30 years. At present it has 6 adult members and one child, plus three interns and a steady stream of visitors like myself.
The commune produces 80% of its own food, sells sorghum and maple syrup, honey, and tempeh both wholesale and retail, and trades minor crops with other local farms. They produce 700-800 gallons per year of sorghum alone, all of which sells, so they're doing all right!
I bit off more than I could chew today... the maps I had made it looks like one day's ride from Fairfield to Sand Hill, but it was more than that, at least with the wind and hills I encountered. I was getting anxious about the time before I was even in Missouri, so I called ahead to Sandhill Farm and they assured me I could sleep in the barn. Encouraged by the thought of at least three walls and some haybales, I pedaled on.
Today was market day - not just the usual Saturday farmer's market, but a harvest festival with artist stalls and demonstration booths and live music. We got up early to bring in the harvest, but the lettuce had frozen overnight, so we had to wait for it to thaw before we could pick it.