Beau: What a shit day.
Sara: Oh, man… Just… The worst.
B: Like — there was a point today where I just started waiting for another nail in my tire. Because that was the kind of day it was.
S: It would've fit in perfectly with the rest of this shit shit shitty day. But…
B: Yeah: But.
S: But we did see a bald eagle today.
B: Yeah we fucking did.
S: You even managed to get photos of it.
B: What a creature.
S: It was … huge. Absolutely wild. Oh, but hey — remember that other time today, when we tried to stop so you could use the bathroom, but the store was super creepy and had exactly two signs on the door: "You are now entering a Redneck Zone: Expect American Flags, Armed Citizens, The Lord's Prayer, and Country Music" and "NO public restrooms"?
B: And so I had to hold it for 35 hilly miles? Hours? Oh, I remember. But what about how we tried to ignore the Bridge Closed signs?
S: You mean how we biked 6 miles up and down hills to a closed bridge, then biked 6 miles back, then took a 14-mile detour on bumpy cracked asphalt? I seem to remember something…
B: In our defense, it worked once.
S: Yeah, back in Virginia, where we just rolled through the construction site, and the bridge was generally intact.
B: But this bridge was not intact.
S: No. This bridge was gone.
B: And this is not Virginia.
S: No, it is not.
B: And then, on the way back — do you remember? After we'd realized there was no getting through—
S: On the way back, I was suffering… My feet had been damp and numb inside my shoes from the long, cool, misty morning — but as soon as we paused and I put on all my warm gear, the sun came out hard and we started roasting. And as I was taking a breather from struggling up yet another hill, a barking dog came at me, and I slipped trying to get my foot back into the clip to get away from it, and fell over with the bike, and was fine, but had a big old cry anyway. And apparently a woman sobbing on the edge of the road is about the only thing that gets people in southern Missouri to even acknowledge you exist.
B: But then, once we were on the detour, we saw the bald eagle!
S: There was a rustling in the trees to my right and I thought, "Oh another vulture" — and then there it was, swooping out of the trees and across the road in front of us! Wingspan almost as wide as the lane!
B: The first time I just watched it, but then when it swooped out again I was able to get these few photos. Oh, but hey — remember the detour?
S: What, like how it went on forever, up and down and up and down and on and on? Or how it didn't need rumble strips, because the whole road was a rumble strip?
S: What about Hartville, once we finally finished the world's shittiest hilliest detour?
B: You're asking if I remember all the Civil War murals? Especially the large one of the Confederate soldier praying over a Bible on a tree stump? Or were you thinking of the Welcome to Hartville sign, which also had a Confederate flag on it?
S: All of it. And then the cafe where we got lunch.
B: We had to stop.
S: We'd done 55 miles at that point, almost 20 of them extra, and the sun was out, and we were beat.
B: And then I ordered a chicken club, which came out like this:
S: (Fozzie Bear voice) That don't look like a chicken club to me.
B: At least they brought lettuce and tomato and onion when I asked.
S: Though never your chips. Which, according to the menu, came with the "club."
B: Not a chip to be had. And they had no chocolate chips, either, when I tried to order pancakes for dessert. (We eat. So. Much. Food.)
S: At least they had ice cream. Hey: remember that bald eagle?
B: That bald eagle!
S: I've never seen one in real life before.
B: Me neither.
S: It was amazing.
B: You know what was less amazing? Having 28 miles still to go after Hartville —
S: Oh, you mean those 28 more miles of hills in the high heat of the day? With everything hurting?
B: Oh, my aching pickathing.
S: We hunkered down and pumped those miles out, though — especially the last 10. Music helped me. I'm glad you had Cake's "The Distance" stuck in your head this morning. That helped me beast it out.
B: And we made it to the hotel!
S: PRAISE BE. But it was getting late, and I really wanted to send off our absentee ballots. So I hustled over to the UPS store while you showered. Ballots sent! Huzzah!
B: And then you got back and were so excited for a bath —
S: They actually had a bathtub! I splurged on epsom salts at the Walgreens!
B: And there was suddenly no water at the hotel?
S: HAHAHAHAHA YES I REMEMBER THAT.
B: And the woman at the front desk was like, "Um, I think it's out everywhere around here? Our maintenance guy isn't here? I don't know, I guess just wait?"
S: So we did. And ordered pizza in the meantime. And wings. And salad.
B: So. Much. Food.
S: And we ate it.
B: And the water eventually came back. And you got your bath.
S: And you got one, too.
B: And hey.
B: Remember when we saw that bald eagle?!
Day 35: Houston to Marshfield, MO, 83.4 miles (which should have been 65), 4850 feet of climbing, all of the bullshit, TWO VOTES, ***ONE*** ***BALD*** ***EAGLE***