There is no denying it, I got my bitt kicked today by none other than Mark Twain. 72 miles today over an 8 hour period. The day started with some sustained climbs out of Branson on the Freeway early in the morning. Then the intense steep climbs started....I'm guessing grades of 7 to 15% grades....4.5 to 7 mph. Subscribing to my theory that "for every uphill, there is a downhill", the descents were pretty amazing but never quite enough to get me over the next roller coaster hill without being in low gear because of the weight of Bob. Literally no shoulders on the majority of the roads, lots of blind curves and steep drop-offs from the pavement to ditch. Drivers were great, always giving me a wide berth and slowing down to let oncoming traffic pass. Scenery was amazing. Lots of water, I'm in the Bull Shoals Lake area of Southern Missouri. World class fishing. Got a great pic of a small turtle crossing the highway. Great down to earth people, always wanting to talk about my ride.
Back to the ride. Rode through the Mark Twain National Forest today. Established in 1939 and named after the famous author Mark Twain. Missouri’s only national forest, The Mark Twain, encompasses roughly 1.5 million acres, mostly within the Ozark Highlands. Located across southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, the Ozark Highlands are an ancient landscape characterized by large permanent springs, over 5,000 caves, rocky barren glades, old volcanic mountains and nationally recognized streams. Portions of the Ozarks were never under oceans, nor were the areas glaciated. Greer Spring is the largest spring on National Forest land and pumps an average of 214 million gallons water per day. Now that's a lot of water!!!