Approaching the Big Climb

Each of the last few days we've thought, “This is it. We're going to start some serious climbing today.” But we haven't. Instead we have navigated the run up to the Ozark Mountains with some decent hills, snaked through passes that saved us altitude and enjoyed the plateaus in between. The bigger challenge has been the weather, delivering some huge winds that battered us physically and mentally, and rain that delayed us for a morning. But that's all par for the course on a trip that is at the whim of the elements.

The one constant on our way north through Arkansas has been the scenery, which can be described with one word – gorgeous. The greenery is incredibly lush with the wet spring, and new varieties of wildflowers paint the countryside. We've been traveling on Scenic Byways which have been reasonably quiet, enhancing the pastoral views of farms, animals and wooded countryside. Towns are few, which makes for long interrupted stretches of gliding through nature's beauty.

What more can I say? I think pictures tell it best.

Rich pedaling through the countryside

A quiet rest area makes a nice stop...for resting!

Feeling a sense of accomplishment after crossing our first foothills

Convenience stores aren't scenic but provide welcome warm-ups

Buttercups fill the farm fields

A 1933 tourist cabin built of native sandstone and field stone

There is no doubt that our prelude to the Ozarks is about over. Tomorrow we enter Ozark National Forest and the topographical map view tells us all we need to know. That big climb is approaching.


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