Hartville, Missouri
Hartville, Missouri - Radio tower climbing! After 13+ flights of stairs I finally made it to the top. Look at the view...it's amazing!

Hartville, Missouri

I woke up to a woman propping open the park door at Mark Twain Scenic Area. The pastor from last night misunderstood the meaning of pavilion. I slept near two picnic tables and a desk, but by no means did four posts and a roof shelter me from the rain. I slept for maybe three or four hours due to a dog viciously barking down the road and a small, cricket mocking me with his loud chirps. I packed up all my camping gear and headed to the nearest church for a place to delve into “Kite Runner.” I frantically absorbed each page and before I knew it the sun rose and Wal-Mart opened. I got on my bicycle and pedaled to Wal-Mart praying that a new USB cable would fix my charging issues for my HTC One. I spent some of the money bestowed upon me from yesterday’s Bible meeting and hurried outside. I unzipped my bag, grabbed my phone and battery charger and plugged in the new USB…it charged! Now the real test…I turned on my HTC One and, “USB unable to detect device, cannot charge.” So once again, Android failed me and I bought another phone with a port charging problem. I turned off my phone and hit the road.

Hartville, Missouri
Hartville, Missouri – Radio tower climbing! After 13+ flights of stairs I finally made it to the top. Look at the view…it’s amazing!
Hartville, Missouri
Another view looking out over Highway 38!

The roads smoother and terrain much flatter made my legs at ease today. Ten miles into the trip I doubled back after I laid eyes on a huge radio tower. I waited for cars to pass and quickly pedaled behind the building, which read, “No Trespassing Don’t Climb the Tower.” It’s in my blood though and I couldn’t help myself. I propped my bicycle against the wall of the building and my thumb punched the power button to my GoPRO. Action! I walked up the rickety steps holding onto a side of the metal railing. My legs trembled and shook as I climbed up the steps to the locked Radio Tower. The wood beneath my feet creaking and the railings swaying a few centimeters in each direction of the wind. I made it to the top after a few minutes and my eyes stuck to the pointy tops of the thousands of dark green evergreen trees beneath me. Going on and on for miles. I sat on the top step and gasped for air. All I could think at the time: Unbelievable! I sprinted back down the steps to stay out of sight from any civilians or police officers and hopped back on my bicycle continuing on down Highway 38.

Hartville, Missouri
I love the fisheye in this picture.

Twenty miles later I read the sign, “Welcome to the city limits of Ben Davis.” I propped my bicycle up against a tree and walked into the general store where I used the rest of the “charity” money to indulge in a few sweets, snacks and a blueberry red bull. I chatted with the store clerk about the TransAm Trail and the recent cyclists he encountered. We talked about my hometown, and Missouri, which I found out is big for its quarries and saw mills. Those are the leading industries for the states income. We chatted for a while and I inquired if he knew of the nearest Sprint store so I could get a new phone and have them fix the defective one. He pulled out a map and set it down on the table in front of me. He said, “Take Highway OO, which runs parallel to Route 44. There will be a Sprint store in the Battlefield Mall in Springfield, Missouri. It’s about ten miles off the TransAm Trail, but that’s your best bet at getting a new phone.” He even cracked open the phone book and gave me their phone number. I thanked him and as I pushed open the door to leave he informed me of a pavilion to sleep at in Hartville. “Once ya get into Hartville there will be a four way stop after you cross the bridge. Make a left at there stop sign and head down the road. There’ll be a gas station there on the right and a small lake down the road with the pavilion nearby. Ya can’t miss it.” I thanked him again for his helpfulness and set out for Hartville.

Hartville, Missouri
Finally picture looking out over Hartville. I miss this view!

The ride did not take all that long. Maybe an hour or hour and a half to cover twenty miles. Most of it I flew downhill with the breeze blowing through my hair and tearing up my eyes. A few steep climbs kept my legs tense, but I enjoyed the rides through the scenic country. Hartville was six miles away at this point and I continued to race down the steep hill trying to beat the car behind me so I could cross the bridge. Little did I know this car pulled next to me and read, “POLICE” in big bold black letters. The officer said, “Do ya know why I pulled ya over…ya were doing 26 mph back there…just thought I’d clock ya so ya knew how fast ya were goin.” I laughed and said, “Haha…enjoy your day officer.” That made the last few miles more enjoyable. For a second I thought he wrote a citation for riding without a helmet. I continued on and attracted a stray dog who followed me for two miles until pulling off to the side of the road, slobber running down the sides of his mouth, spilling onto the pavement. He laid down in the shade for a break and I continued on ending up in Hartville where I found shelter at the pavilion right before the scattered showers struck the town.

Finally made it to Hartville. Looking out over the lake just reading a book!
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Brian Cray is not a cyclist. He’s not a hitchhiker. He’s not a train hopper or an adrenaline junkie. He’s just an ordinary man with gypsy blood in his veins, who can’t seem to settle down. Nothing defines him. He goes wherever this world takes him on this journey we call life, roaming the world, at will, by any means. He aspires for a life of indefinite travel, a tiny home in the woods for him and his wife, and any work that keeps him wanderin’. Brian Cray is a travel writer at heart, sharing his stories with the world one keystroke at a time.


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