So here’s the thing:
I love Autumn. It is my favorite season, falling as it does on the borderland betwen Summer’s sun-soaked riot of nature (red in tooth and claw) and the frozen white silence of Winter’s majesty. Also, being a Sagittarius, my own personal mojo starts to ratchet up with the arrival of the Autumnal Equinox, making me more perky, active, and super-duper annoying to all the Summer signs who are slipping into hibernation mode. Add in brisk mornings, an explosion of arboreal color, and weather blessedly cool enough for making bread, Caldo and other taste sensations, and, well, I’m as happy as an Alaskan wolf that hasn’t been senselessly slaughtered with military-grade weaponry by a bespectacled Valkyrie.
Yes, Autumn is a magical time at Casa Claire, and as my energy levels have stabilized after a very trying month or two, I’m pleased to report that my efforts to complete my virtual ride to Utah have continued!
It is not my intent to attempt to cover all the miles I’ve ridden in this post, so we will be forced to content ourselves with the cold facts of the matter for the nonce.
MILES BIKED SINCE MY LAST UPDATE: 180 (9.0 miles/day, with various rates of weekly success, the highest being 45 total miles, the lowest 27 total miles)
TOTAL MILES BIKED SO FAR: 464
WHERE I WOULD BE IF THIS BIKE HAD WHEELS: New London, MO
Having turned to the North in an attempt to avoid descending into the bowels of Missouri (sacrificing a trip to the Mark Twain National Forest in the process), I’ve followed the Mighty Mississippi to the quaint town of New London, Missouri – just south of the famous Hannibal, where Mark Twain grew up, looked around, and got the hell out.
OK, I’m being unkind. From what I remember of a very brief childhood visit, the town itself is quite lovely once one gets past its efforts to squeeze every red cent from its association with Twain. The ironic thing, of course, is just how much Twain himself would’ve hated the marketing and packaging and cheerfully soulless profiteering being done in his name…but I’ll bet he would’ve written something appropriately scathing about the whole mess, and thus society as a whole would profit. Eventually.
Speaking of Mark Twain, I’ve often wondered if Hal Holbrook‘s boyhood home in Cleveland will get the Twain treatment when he finally kicks off to join the real Twain. How surreal would it be to see a replica of Twain’s life in the house once occupied by the man best known as a replica of Twain? What if Hannibal and Cleveland decide to created inverted “sister” monuments, connected in real time? It boggles the mind! If colliding large hadrons doesn’t destroy the universe, the kitsch singularity created by the “Mark Twain Replica Memorial of the Cleveland Hal Holbrook Mark Twain Memorial” Memorial working in concert with the “Twain as Portrayed by Holbrook inside His Childhood Home Portraying Twain’s Childhood Home, as Portrayed by a Hal Holbrook Impressionist” Memorial certainly will.
But I digress. While Hannibal is but a short distance to the north, pulsing with the sickly green light of unchecked, gluttonous prostitution of its favorite son, New London is not without charms of its own. For example, one may drop into Abel’s Quick Shop for a hot dog (most likely with a Mark Twain theme, e.g. “A Connecticut Frankie in King Arthur Bread!” or some such rot) and soda, or maybe walk to the middle of town where, if one is lucky, one may be mown down by a passing car.
Damn it, I’ve got to start timing these miles so I end up in actual towns with, you know, STUFF.
Coming up next week: Canton, Missouri, which actually incorporates “Show You” into its home page headline. I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda hoping they keep the showing to a minimum.