On waking up I was to find a dozen cows silently lined up across the dirt road all of whom were intently watching my every step as I broke camp. When I finished and started pulling my bike out they stormed away as though I was the Grim Reaper coming for some steaks. I can't explain what must have gone through their minds that they found me so menacing. I was just very glad that there were no bulls around looking to confront me on this perceived outrage to their domains.
I thought I had seen the highest of Missouri yesterday but I kept trending upwards before topping out somewhere around 2,000 feet. The rolling hills continue to be hard but today it was the wind that made it a monumental struggle to put any distance behind me. On a couple of occasions the wind was so vicious that I had to pedal, and pedal with difficulty, to move downhill. In conditions like this I kept expecting a presidential motorcade to stop by to hand me a congressional Medal of Honor but was disappointed in this regard. Luckily, if that's the right word, the winds were coming mostly from the south while I was attempting to make progress westwards. It's the reason I achieved forty something miles as opposed to be blown backwards several dozen.
This is the double-edged sword of what I call the brute force attack path to Seattle. When studying the map for the next day's course I always pick the shortest possible route. While the benefit is clearly less miles to ride (which also translates into a cheaper and faster trip) the downside is that I'm taking roads which are not necessarily the ones recommended for bicycling due to grades, traffic, scenery, bike-specific facilities, etc. So far I can't complain except that I wish I had the luxury of a more leisurely approach which allowed for sightseeing local landmarks and, heh, plenty more days off for resting!
I stopped to have lunch at a KFC and several of the customers engaged me in conversation and offered me their route suggestions along with the usual good lucks and prayers. I never mind talking to strangers who show an interest even when it takes away from prime riding time. Everyone seems to have an interesting story of their own or a useful anecdote. Many jot down my web site or give me their business cards and express an interest in keeping in touch. That's a great side benefit of the trip: new friends!