David Freeze Day 8: Things are looking up, with a busy day – Salisbury Post
Editor’s note: David Freeze cycles along the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa, to New Orleans. Contact him at [email protected]
Last night I went to bed with a lot of uncertainty. I don’t know if the expected heavy rains were coming, if I needed a room for another night, how I could plan everything for the tours and how to go down the river on Tuesday.
I have bad cell service here and had trouble making calls yesterday but decided to walk this morning to Mark Twain’s cave then take the guided tour and finally the excursion by boat. It was supposedly just a mile walk from the cave which turned out to be closer to two. Late for the cave tour, I took the truck tour first and a cave tour immediately after. Both are done from the cave site, but if I had been on time for the first visit to the cave, the timing wouldn’t have worked.
The cave and truck tour was first class and 1 hour each. Went back to town and had an extra 10 minutes before boarding the boat for another 1 hour tour. The day was again hot and steamy here, so I especially enjoyed the boat ride on the river and in the breeze. All three tours were exactly what I expected and packed with information about Mark Twain, the river, and the history of Hannibal.
Left with about an hour to wander downtown, I did and noticed a sign that Missouri was on the Great River Road, but hadn’t seen anything about it. I called the visitor center and was told, “Yes, we have a brochure on that!”
Completing my downtown tour consisted of two things. I had to whitewash the Tom Sawyer fence and did it with the brush and paint can provided. I met two new friends who photographed the event, but also asked me about my cycling history. We talked for quite a while and shared how many “god moments” had happened on my bike rides that he had to accompany. Two more happened within minutes of meeting this couple, also named David, moments after seeing the Great River Road sign.
The second thing is a bustling general store downtown that offers free ice cream cones, one per day per person. I picked up my vanilla, walked around the historic district for a while to see Huck Finn’s house and took a picture of Mark Twain’s house.
With time running out, I walked to the visitor center and picked up the map of the Great River Road to New Orleans. Honestly, I didn’t know such a thing existed and now I had found the answer to my concern about how to proceed in this adventure. What’s especially good is that the road is depicted on both sides of the Mississippi and shows bridges I can cross. So, now I have a plan, but I’ll decide by tomorrow when it’s time to cross Illinois and see a bit of the other side. Following these roads will lengthen my trip by several days. And there are long stretches where the Great River Road doesn’t approach the river on either side, but at least I now have options worked out by knowledgeable people.
A lot of other things happened on one of my best days on the road. I’m right across from the house of the unsinkable Molly Brown, made famous when she took a ride on the Titanic. It wasn’t until the second day, the Grand Canyon being the other, that I took a day off the bike for sightseeing. Now it’s back on the road tomorrow and nothing but hills on both lanes out of town. As the cave tour guide said, “Missouri is known for its hills!”
The sponsor again this year is Luis Villareal of Gear for Races in Raleigh. We have long had a wonderful business relationship with running shirts and gear.
Back here tomorrow. I hope you will be there too!