This morning I awoke with a slight, sleepless night headache.
Getting up at 9 a.m. from a tent is typically not my usual routine; however, I tossed and turned due to the colder temperatures at the top of the bluff.
Although it was a partly cloudy day, blue skies could be seen from the east. I showered and rode into town for breakfast, coffee, and blogging.
First stop was a place called Java Jive on Main Street (one of the few places not named after Mark Twain).
Famished, I ordered a ham and swiss quiche and a cafe au lait. In a few bites and gulps, no trace of either could be found. Before driving to the library (for blogging), I listened to some retired locals discuss technology and how fast it changes.
Spending nearly three hours at the library (and on the blog), I routed parts of my next destination: Burlington, Iowa.
Following the marathon library blogging, I drove back downtown to the Mark Twain Museum where many artifacts from the writer were on display. In addition, Norman Rockwell works depicting both Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer could also be enjoyed.
Twain definitely had an interesting life to say the least. He's yet another reason why this trip fascinated me. Knowing he traveled along these waterways piloting steamboats would inspire any would-be writer.
Following the museum, I strolled along Broadway looking for a grocery store. Several blocks later, I found the local Safeway where I could purchase some water. En route, I took shots of buildings. In Hannibal when a building is under construction, the sign states "under restoration."
Apart from Main Street -- much of the outer downtown area needs restoration.
Large two story buildings with commercial options on first floor and residential options on second floor were going for under $100,000. I saw one for as little as $80,000.
If states could find a way to purchase such properties and use them to lure young investors, perhaps new blood might bite.
I headed back to the Main drag, and walked into the Alliance Art Gallery. Local artists were having their monthly business meeting; they were perfectly fine with me admiring their one-of-a-kind pieces while they spoke finance.
Many interesting pieces caught my eye including Jim Henson-like creatures made from wool; playful, tactile-friendly glazed pottery; and intricately designed quilts and textile pieces.
I could go on and on about the copper jewelry, too.
Instead, I opted for a small textile interpretation of lollipops or water towers.
Based on their bios, many artists live and work in Quincy, Illinois (just northeast of Hannibal) only a few were originally from the Missouri area.
Apparently, images of lollipops kick-started my sweet-tooth.
I venutured back to Java Jive for an cherry soda (club soda with syrup). A few doors down, I found Chocolaterie Stam where I ordered some of the dark stuff. Because they had gelato (and made it in house), I ordered a kid's size of their Raspberry Jalapeno flavor.
Dark chocolate and gelato: I could not resist.
Before heading back to my primitive tent, I took an extremely steep ride up to Lover's Leap.
If you want a spectacular view of the Mississippi River in Hannibal, I implore you to drive up this incline.
Below is a wannabe better sunset. Unfortunately, the sun fell behind the clouds with little colorful fanfare; still, I was pleased with my vista.
While at Lover's Leap, I met a young woman from Hull, Illinois. She drove there to see her tiny town from afar and remember what it looked like.
Her pulled back, curly strawberry blonde hair made her look more like a teenager than someone approaching their mid-20s. I learned that her parents were once upon a time, avid motorcycle riders and recently got back into touring. She, too, enjoyed riding in the back with her dad.
I encouraged her to try it on her own sometime...
She wished me well on my journey, and drove off.
I stayed a bit longer to soak in the view...
Upon my campground return, I ran into a cyclist named Stephen. He was sitting near the bathroom and laundry facilities area.
He had departed Columbus, Ohio just a few weeks ago.
Los Angeles, California.
Pedaling about 60-miles a day, he hopes to visit an old college friend who has no idea that he's on his way.
I asked him if it was a love story: it was not.
Stephen just graduated college and was in the midst of making his next move.
Perhaps, he should have met the young woman from Hull.
Two twenty-somethings... searching for... answers from afar.
Before calling it quits, I showered and journaled.
Although I fell fast asleep, I awoke around 4 a.m. with the chills. It's getting colder at night the further I go.
Time for some long johns.
In the midst of my unexpected wake-up call, I began to budget how much to spend per day to make my savings last for 75 days.
The goal: $90 per day.
When you include the cost of housing, $90 is not a large daily sum.
Camping can run anywhere from $12 to $20 per night (as was the latter cost in Hannibal).
A tent? A shower?
It does sound a bit steep, and for one person, I agree.
Now add restaurant meals (dictated exclusively by the town and its options), and $90 goes pretty quickly.
Library visits add air-conditioned time to my stay at no additional cost; thus, budgeting will be key to make this trip last as long as possible.
Side note: ever wonder why homeless people frequent libraries?
A free bathroom; free ac; a quiet space; no one bothers you.
Makes sense doesn't it?
On Thursday morning, I said good-bye to Stephen, and the campground somewhere around 9 a.m.
I checked my phone to see if one of my good friends had any of her people still living in the area.
Betsy's text: yes.
However, getting a hold of them was a different matter.
As of 3:30 p.m., still no word from anyone. I also sent a last minute couch-surfing request.
Final option: a campground.
My drive to Burlington was picturesque in only a few sections where I could actually see the Great River.
Like Missouri, Iowa has rolling bluffs. Although in the Buckeye State, the valleys are wider thus making them seem less exciting.
Some spots offered agricultural scenery while others factories and plants and others consumer America outlets.
My conversation with a gentleman outside the gas station in Keokuk, Iowa. He was pretty excited about my journey, and I told him I was having the time of my life.
His response: "I bet you are!"
Until we meet again, my friend.