Archive for March, 2008

The Cairo Wildcat Century

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Back in early July 2006 I drove down to Scott City with the bike, then rode south — this is what I do if I’m looking for a ride with no hills.   South of Scott City is what was once the great Southeast Missouri Swamp, drained in the early 20th century by the Little River Project.  What remains is flat as a pancake, the Missouri Bootheel.  Anyway, I rode south through Bertrand to Wilson City (formerly North Wyatt, one of the Delmo Housing villages established for displaced sharecroppers after the 1939 Sharecropper’s Strike, but that’s another story).

As I turned back to the north there, I noticed the signs saying “Cairo, 8 miles,” and I was tempted to go that way.   The facts that it was about 90 degrees out and I was 40 miles from my car dissuaded me at the time.  Ever since, I’ve had in the back of my mind the idea of doing a bike ride from Cape Girardeau south through Missouri to Wilson City, then across the bridge to Cairo, IL (this is where Huck and Jim got separated in the fog and missed the Ohio river on their way south), then back up the Illinois side to East Cape Girardeau, and across the Cape Girardeau bridge back home.

This year, after the success of the Advance Winter Loop, I decided  to try to organize the Cairo Century.  It’s actually a little longer than a century — about 105 miles — and since I didn’t want to do a whole lot of organizing with support vehicles, rest stops, etc., I thought of it as  a wildcat century, like a wildcat strike.  I’ve emailed the usual suspects, and several people seem to be interested.  So I put up a Cairo Wildcat Century web site with information about the ride.  Only about four weeks until the ride day, April 20. Email me if you’re interested.

Now all I need is somebody to  design a t-shirt.


Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Official rainfall is over 10 inches in the last 36 hours for Cape Girardeau.  The rain is slacking off, but we’ve still got a lot of water in the yard.
Lake Gathkinson

Of course, we had a drainage problem in this part of the yard anyway, but that’s about as big as I’ve ever seen our “pond” get.

Great Trailer Homesites of Missouri, vol. 1

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

I frequently go by here — sometimes it has a trailer here, other times not. At the moment it’s vacant, and what a great opportunity!

Trailer spot with graveyard

It’s on a fairly quiet country road, and it has a really nice view of a valley to the east — right out past those two big oaks. And as an added attraction, just to the right of the oaks, there’s this mini-graveyard:

Robins Mini-graveyard

There’s actually another little stone over to the left that didn’t make it into the picture.  Anyway, a great place to raise kids.  “Eat your peas, honey, or the Robins family will come get you in the night.”

Party like it’s 1988

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Allen in lobster hat

Hannah’s home for a few days, and yesterday we scanned a bunch of pics from old photo albums. For some reason I had missed 1988 previously, so we did a bunch of those, along with a few late 87 and early 89.

Here’s Sophie at Capaha park:
Sophie at Capaha Park

Cabell at my friend’s iris farm:
Cabell in the irises

And Hannah with me and Sophie in the back yard:
Sophie, Allen, and Hannah

Bike wreck

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

First of all, I’m fine.  I scraped a knuckle, and bruised my knee a bit, but it’s mainly my pride.  I was on my way in to work this morning, and feeling pretty smug about having successfully avoided various patches of black ice on the roads, when I got to the intersection of Cape Rock and Perryville.  There was a long line of cars stopped on Perryville before the four-way stop, and I decided to slip along the right gutter past them.

I know, passing on the right is illegal.  Also stupid.  A young woman decided suddenly to make a right turn onto a side street just as I pulled up next to her, and wham!

She was terribly worried and apologetic, and I felt bad for her, especially while handing her side mirror to her.  I repeatedly assured her that I was fine, and it wasn’t her fault.  She finally was persuaded and took off, and about then my co-worker Maija saw me and stopped to see if I needed help.  This made me feel even worse, since she’s always admonishing me about how dangerous it is to ride my bike to work.

My front wheel is now rather comically warped.  I disconnected the brake calipers so that it would rotate, and managed to wobble the rest of the way to work.  As soon as Cape Bike opens, I’m going to borrow Walt’s truck and take the bike in, and hopefully they can true (or more likely replace) the wheel and straighten the handlebars in time for me to ride home this afternoon.

Then Robin can tell me how dangerous it is to ride my bike to work.  Sigh.

Advance Winter(ish) Loop

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

After a two-week delay, due to a nasty weather forecast for the first scheduled date, the Advance Winter Loop went off beautifully yesterday.

The weather cooperated nicely — after a lot of wintry crap recently, the high yesterday was in the low 70s. Not without a lot of wind, though. It was 20mph out of the south all day long. We met at Cape Bicycle at 10 AM. While we were getting organized, four guys from Cyclewerx rode by and stopped to say hi — they were also headed south. We loaded bikes on cars, and drove out to Dutchtown. There we picked up a few more people, and got under way before 11 with 10 riders. It was easy enough, except for a substantial crosswind, and pretty soon we were overtaken by the Cyclewerx guys, who had ridden out while we drove. The 14 of us continued on, turning south on highway U. There are a few rolling hills there, but the main problem was the headwind. At one point I found myself going 12 mph on flat ground with a heart rate of 160. We stopped at NUT junction, where highways N, U, and T meet.

At NUT junction

The Cyclewerx gang said goodbye and headed east on N, while the rest of us took T south.  T has rolling hills followed by one major climb to Glennon.  If you look at the mapmyride entry for the trip and click on “show elevation” below the map, you’ll see right away what I’m talking about.  After that, it was downhill and then a long flat stretch against the wind to Advance.  That finishes about the first half of the ride, and we rested at a convenience store.  From there we headed east, then due north on flat terrain.  At one point going north we were doing 35 mph on the flat, and hardly working at all.

Anyway, we got back to Dutchtown and headed home.  A great ride, amazing good luck on the weather, and a nice start to the season.   First time I’ve ridden in shorts in months.  Of course, tonight and tomorrow we’re expecting ice and snow again.  I’m ready for spring.