Friday, December 19, 2014

2014: The Rule of Threes

My Connect the Dots Tour - Day 2, Hermann, MO to ???.  August 2014

The ride into Hermann took me through the old downtown along SR19, and a few blocks south to a 10 acre city park. A tree lined creek separated the park and its campground from the highway, with campsites along the creek, and a building with showers and restrooms nearby. There were only two other RVs parked among the dozen or so sites, so after checking that I wasn’t under a floodlight, I grabbed a site close to the showers.
Crossing the Missouri River - Evening

I started unloading my bike and set up my tent, and then I went right to work on dinner. The JetBoil quickly boiled two cups of water from my CamelBak, and I finished unpacking while dinner “cooked” in it’s foil pouch.

Along with unpacking, I started charging my my iPhone.  Later that evening I charged one of my backup batteries, since I thinking I would have a better chance at a charging as I traveled east. It would be 24 hours before I paid for that mistake. (I also learned I had brought the wrong charger for both, but that is another story.)

The sun was down by the time I finished eating, put things up for the night, and headed for a shower. I crawled into my tent, called Linda, then read for a bit before dozing off about 10:30.  I had very good nights sleep, with just enough quiet noise from the creek and tree muffled highway.

A church on the bluff above the river in Hermann, MO
I woke about 6:00 am, and prepared a freeze dried meal of scrambled eggs, letting it “cook” while I continued to break camp. It was a very dry morning, so I had little trouble packing the tent, and was ready to roll out a little after 7. My first destination a quick shop, where I loaded up two bottle with GatorAde, and topped off my CamelBak with ice.

It was heading toward downtown, exiting the park on a short steep hill, when felt a bump, followed by a thud, and my bike was dragged to stop. The seat stay supports on my rack had pulled loose, and the rack pivoted backwards to hit the pavement. The Arkel Camlocks worked perfectly though, keeping the panniers on the rack. I pulled the rack up, and moved the bike to the curb and out of the thankfully sleepy street.

I quickly unloaded the rack, and found all the missing rack hardware in the street. The worst looking damage was to my rear taillight. The lens and batteries were also in the street, and the rack’s tail light mount had been bent back; it had taken the full blow. Once I had the rack supports back in place, I straightened the mount, installed the batteries and lens, expecting the light to be toast. But the light came on, and aside from one deep gouge in the lense, functioned fine. I reloaded my bags, mounted and rolled on, glad for the lack of damage, and feeling sheepish for missing the stay bolts on my pre-trip bike check. (I have since added some pin to the stay to prevent that from happening again.

Downtown Hermann, MO
I crossed over the Missouri River heading north back to the Katy, remembering a similar crossing at the same time of day, in 1982, while on the tandem with Linda (our tour from Poplar Bluff to Moberly).  Just before the trail, I stopped at the Loutre Market for apples and bananas for the day; a very good move, it turned out, with this being the only reliable store within site of the trail between Columbia and Washington, almost 100 miles. I turned off of SR19 and back on to Katy, now on m first stretch of “new” territory of the trip.  I rode through McKittrick, and it was now 14 miles Trealoar, the next town. It was the start of a long day, with the goal of Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois, just shy of 100 miles.

It was a hazy gray morning, mildly humid as I rolled along at my steady 12 to 13 mph hour, to the steady “grunch” of a pair of bike tires on crushed limestone. I was hoping to make a good solid hour without a stop, but was still finding views of bluffs or the river that deserved a photo stop. At about halfway to Treloar, the trail had some bad erosion, and I while I did get front wheel around a 6” gully, the rear slid and hit the edge hard with a bang, followed by that mushy ride feeling of a flat tire.

I unloaded the rear panniers and top of rack load into a neat little pile (the second time for the day). I was expecting to find a blown out side wall, but the tire was intact. The tube had classic snake bite, so I must have hit a smooth rock or firm edge just right to cause that. In any case, my first (of two) spare tubes went in, and I exhausted my arm with my mini pump and remounted the wheel. My gear was all loaded and I was rolling in under 15 minutes.

Tube replaced, with the load about to go back on.
Less than 5 miles down the road and still looking for that first town, I crossed a gravel side road, and entered another section of washboarded trail. Just as I noticed an inner tube on the side of the trail, the rear wheel again hit hard, and I rolled onto another flat tire, less than 5 miles since the first one, all before I had finished my first hour of riding.

After going through the ritual of inspecting the tire, which was again intact, I found another pair snake bites in the tube. I pulled out my second and final spare tube and changed the tire. Only this time I made sure the tire was pumped hard as a rock; using both arms until they were exhausted. (I also vowed not to tour again with a mini-pump.)

Both my spare tubes were gone, and as I repacked my gear, I realized my glueless patches were still in my rack trunk, back in Columbia. This was turning into not so great a day. I got back on my bike, and gingerly headed down the trail, trying to do my best imitation of a rider 40 pounds lighter. I still had at least 80 miles to go, but at least I was past the rule of threes for the day, at least with mechanicals.

No comments:

Post a Comment