Last night in the dorm with five adults “of a certain age” was just what one might expect (someone was always getting up to use the restroom). But it was nice to not be alone in such an enormous space.
Back on the Katy Trail today, I had the odd experience of being recognized by strangers, with people greeting me by name. The word had spread that some guy named Robert was walking across the US.
One Chicago couple, Jim (a dentist) and Mary (a pastor), knew of me from Ron, the retired professor, with whom they’d eaten breakfast that morning. Another young man, Kevin, who’s hiking the Trail carrying a backpack, had been at The Barn, a B&B, when I’d called this morning to make a reservation; that’s how he knew me. There were a few others as well.
Before leaving home, I’d read Stephen Ambrose’s book about Lewis and Clark, and today I walked along the Missouri River (it is wide!) where their expedition passed.
The proprietor of a small grocery store in a town along the Trail has garnered some poor online reviews for being inhospitable to cyclists, as well as for being a grump. That’s what happens on social media. You can’t escape it. Personally, I did not find him grumpy at all. What the guy is, however, is an easy racist, injecting into our two-minute conversation the fact that there are currently three Black men living (with white women) in town; a short history of slavery in the region; and that in the next county I’d be running into people who had long, unpronounceable German names. “They are not regular white people like you and me.” Needless to say, I did not reveal my secret identity. I just paid for my Moon Pie, Snickers, and Dr Pepper, and got the hell out of there.
After eating dinner with Doug, the amiable host of The Barn B&B, I settled into bed.
20.3 miles today. Heavy rains are expected tonight.
@ Bluffton, Missouri