Joey is recovering from this morning’s trauma.
We were chased. By two dogs. For a mile and a half. At more than 15 mph, made possible by the happy accident of smoothish pavement, a route briefly perpendicular to the wind, and fear-induced adrenaline. The dogs barked and growled, but perhaps it was not directed at me. I seemed to be an excuse for them to egg each other on.
The dogs gave up. I caught my breath and continued at a sutainable pace over rough pavement and into a strong headwind.
Soon Arthur drove past and, intrigued by the sight, flagged me down.
Arthur said that in the 1960s, local farms were 160-240 acres; now farmers’ holdings are measured in square miles. Refugees: Arthur is a student of history and knows whence we Americans came. Foreign policy: he’s skeptical of efforts to impose E Pluribus Unum American ways on people who have a tribal worldview. Corn: the same varieties in various fields look different because of planting schedules. Local ethnicities: Italian and German. The local economy: in the past, his entire extended family farmed; now everyone is in a medical field. Arthur too! He’s “retired” but works as an EMT, and for the water authority. Arthur warned me that I face several days of headwinds, and said a redhead like me must beware the sun. We’d’ve kept talking but both of us had places to be.
I stopped at the Union Miners Cemetery in Mt. Olive . . .
. . . and found, to my surprise . . .
. . . the bones of Mother Jones, the famous labor organizer! America’s rich and powerful hated this Irish refugee from the Great Famine. America’s poor workers, especially miners, loved her.
A scenic relic of old Route 66:
This place makes great fish sandwiches and slaw.
Tim, a retired veteran, asked questions about the Ride; he and some of the restaurant staff expressed concern for poor refugees who must present their cases without a lawyer to help.
Bad roads were interspersed with fine interurban bike paths on which we went miles and miles without seeing anyone.
On a paved path, I met the first fellow bicycle trekker of this Ride. Steve, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, recently retired a second time, from Boeing.
He’s biking from California to Albany, NY. I gave him some advice about the route east. He told me what to expect as I go west. We spent some pleasant time trading stories from the road.
Today I saw many animals. Turkeys, cardinals, a heron, many other birds, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, a snake, a lizard, and more. One wild critter, and several domestics (not including those dogs!), held still long enough for a photo.
Wind, sun and rough pavement delayed, but did not prevent, our rendezvous with the Father of Waters. Midway over the McKinley Bridge spanning the Mississippi:
From the bridge, St. Louis looks inviting.
Up close, the city’s waterfront needs work.
But I did enjoy a warm welcome at a hotel that wonderful Nancy took hours to arrange (rooms were hard to find because of a baseball game). The hotel manager, Andrew, is very enthusiastic about the Ride. He told Sam about it . . .
. . . and Sam found me at dinner and asked to shake my hand.
It’s not me. Really, it’s not. Explain things to Americans and they like the principle: when asylum applicants need help, we should help if we can.
With our help, Human Rights First can.