…But this is ridiculous.

Tomorrow is the first Taum Sauk Ass-Ault of the year,  so today I thought I’d go somewhere totally flat and do a nice easy ride just to keep limber.  So I put the bike on the rack and drove down to Commerce.  About 30 miles south of Cape Girardeau you get to the old Mississippi flood plain — the beginning of the bootheel of Missouri, geographically.  It was once a vast wetland, but landowners drained the whole area back around 1900, and now it’s dead flat farmland as far as the eye can see.

Well, I intended to take it easy, but it’s such a treat to ride on flat pavement that I couldn’t help pushing it a bit.  I figured I’d ride south into the wind for an hour, then turn around.  As it turned out, that took me almost 20 miles, to Charleston, MO.  When I got there, I realized that I’d arrived on the weekend of the Dogwood/Azalea Festival.  I couldn’t very well leave without touring the old mansions and gardens a bit (a number of landowners got quite rich after draining all that worthless swamp…).

So when I turned around to head back, I already had about 24 miles on the trip meter.  I was cruising along at a good clip, and coming up to a small cemetery with a giant stone crucifix.  I was thinking how a crucifix, with Jesus actually hanging there, seems much more Catholic than a plain cross.  So I was wondering if I could identify any likely Catholic last names on the tombstones, and looking at them as I went by.  All of a sudden, I felt a bump as something went under my front wheel.  I looked down, and had a quick impression of reddish fur and something scrabbling at my ankle, and then there was a second bump as it went under the rear wheel.  I looked back to see a squirrel running like hell for the nearest telephone pole.

The family has a history of squashing wildlife recently, but come on.  On my bike?

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