Within a half hour of finishing my breakfast, I was feet first into the Big Piney River. So much for the 30 minute rule. Rolling out of Houston on Route 17, it only took me a few minutes cross the Big Piney River, a couple miles out of town. To my right was Dog's Bluff. Tony had mentioned this days earlier; I had to make the jump.
It was just before 9, the place was empty. Shirtless and shoeless I crossed the shallow end and clawed my way up the slick ridge. It had just finished raining before breakfast so I was pretty messy, but that was easily cleaned up.
The bluff had spots to jump from 30, 50, and maybe 60 feet. I'll save the bigger stuff for the locals. I'm not trying to drown on my bike trip across America. The feeling was exhilarating. I let out an unintentional scream in that brief moment of free fall. What a memory; for a moment that place was mine.
It hit 90 again today but it felt much cooler than the previous two days. I ran into my first tandem bike. The couple was from California. Because they still work, they were trying to cross they country over three or four trips. It seems I've entered the sweet spot of the trip where I'll cross paths with a pair of east-bounders just about every day.
Pulling into Marshfield at about dinner time, I asked a group of locals about tonight's festivities. They spoke highly of the rodeo at the fairgrounds, followed by fireworks that can be viewed from your seat. The firework show is supposed to be the best around.
That was exactly the kind of stuff I was looking for. I locked my bike behind the ticket booth (they said they'd keep an eye on it, God Bless), and then I grabbed a seat in the grandstands, trying my best to avoid butt splinters. These bike shorts weren't really designed for anything except a leather seat.
This was my first rodeo. I had a blast. All the events were unique and simulated real cowboy life. It was pretty wild watching a grown man jump off a horse and tackle a baby bull by the horns in under 4 seconds. And boy could those cowgirls whip around the three barrels they set up. I think three of them recorded a time under 16 seconds. Fun night in Missouri (or as some of these folks call it, Missourah)
Hopefully when the place clears out I'll be able to get some sleep. It's a traveling rodeo so I have a feeling it's going to be a late night. I'm trying to take shelter under a pavilion by the fairground. These guys just don't shut off the music. No matter how tonight turns out I've been giving this asphalt cowboy life my best shot and I'm just about as happy as anyone else in the entire world.
Freedom isn't free. Act like it.