Sunday, 13 June 2010

Masonic Lodgings

After breaking camp early from the front lawn of the Hartville Court House we wandered over to Subway for their “Footlong” breakfast special, ideal fodder for a long distance cyclist!

Keith the early bird had already got a head start on the flying Dutchmen as they stayed and had breakfast with us before pedalling off up the steep hill out of town. Me and Tony downed our second coffee (free refills in the US!) and were just about to leave when the heavens opened. A quick check of showed some big storms crossing our path so we sat tight and surfed for a while whilst watching the Main Street turn into a river!

Eventually after a few hours in Subway we ventured out and got going. In the rain and humidity a waterproof jacket is pretty much a waste of time as your soon soaked through from sweat. After an hour things got a bit brighter and our day was spent getting wet and drying out in numerous downpours.

During one downpour I was flying along the road to Marshfield MO when a pick up pulled up close alongside me, the window came down and a local in a baseball cap and dungarees sporting the best strap beard I’ve ever seen, lent over his sons lap and yelled, “Wherz ya fram”, I gave him the usual spiel whilst trying to avoid going off the road. “Jeez, you and your buddy are plain crazy, best a luck ya hear”. I was left wobbling in his V8 exhaust smoke as he disappeared around the bend.

Our lunch stop at “Freda’s Up Town Cafe” in Marshfield MO found me sampling a new delight from the US, Key Lime Pie, mmmmmm. To top that after a bit of marketing consultancy on getting the cycling crowd into her Cafe, Freda gave us the pies on the house. Her Cafe is well worth a stop if your cycling through.

The weather got better by the afternoon, but we had another one of those days when accommodation options just don’t fall right. Camping at 40 miles or 76 miles were our options! We decided to push for the 76, but even with a Monster caffeine juice drink in me I was fading in the afternoon sun, then a slow puncture kicked in. We were 8 miles from our destination at the small town of Walnut Grove MO and our maps listed basic services but no accommodation, we pulled up at the cross roads to try and come up with a cunning plan.

As luck would have it the local Missouri Law Enforcement Department had one of it’s smart Interceptor cars sat in a drive way running a radar trap. We cycled over to the rotund officer sat in the car, who looked like he  had been concentrating more on eating donuts than ticketing speeding motorists. “Anywhere to camp in town officer” Tony enquired, “Well I know they occasionally let cyclists camp over there in the park”. At that point a car pulled up blocking the path of the radar gun, “That’s the Mayor ask him” exclaimed the Police officer.

The Mayor explained that the local Masonic Lodge were hosting a Bluegrass festival in the park the next day and we were more than welcome to camp there overnight. We rode round to the park and were immediately set upon by a large group of inquisitive local Masons, they were a great bunch of guys and we were chatting with them for ages. The Mayor pulled up in his pick up chewing tobacco and explained that he had allowed us to camp and that if any local turds (youth) showed up causing trouble we had his permission to give them a good kicking! Now that's how a town should be run!!

So we now found ourselves acting as Masonic Site Security Services for the Walnut Grove 2010 “Pickin In The Park” Bluegrass Festival in exchange for the use of their pavilion and rest room.

As the last of the Masons headed home one came over and said “We’ll be back for a big cooked breakfast at 8 in the morning and we’d like to invite you boys to join us”……

This morning I woke up on a Courthouse lawn 60 miles away, now I’m sat courtesy of the local Mayor and Masonic Lodge at a picnic table in the town park in Walnut Grove MO, lightning bugs are flitting around, a cool breeze is blowing and the sunset was amazing, we’ve got a free place to camp, free breakfast and have been chatting with a great bunch of old timers……… You just can’t make this stuff up…….!!!

To top that we even managed to get connected to a local WiFi network……

Night all……….. ah hang on!!!

Just heard the most amazing noise way off in the distance, a pack of Coyotes started howling, really eerie! Tony said that all the dogs in the town will kick off now…… right on queue they did, a canine uproar that’s still going on.


  1. Hi Stu,
    I never came across any Coyotes when I lived in MO, although I have seen a whole bunch of them staring at me (at night) once here in Texas. You are in parts of Missouri I have never been to. Following your famous model, I went ahead and bought the Sansa Clip+ and a X-Mini speaker. The speaker kicks butt. The Clip+ is quite tiny and I took'em both on my ride today. So, thank you for doing the research on these products for all of us who read your blog :)

    Be safe out there!

    Peace :)

  2. Hi Stu,

    Enjoying reading your blogs back here - the best american drama I'm currently watching! I'll even let you off for a few rogue apostrophes and spelling mistakes as I don't think blog writing is your biggest worry!

    Also, key lime pie was definitely my favourite american delicacy! With maybe churros in second place...

    Take care and have fun,

    Jack S (or the wee man with the big monitor!)


Add your comments here...