It was so hard to leave the comfort of Al's Place in Farmington Missouri! We didn't leave too fast, we had reloaded our pannier bags on our bikes the night before, but it still seemed to take us a long time to actually leave. We finally filled out the guest book, made our final check and locked the door behind us. Breakfast was what we needed to take care of now, luckily we had discovered a great little cafe just around the corner we knew would be open for us! Fresh coffee, fresh breakfast sandwiches made on yummy warm focaccia bread and Cinnamon Rolls! This is becoming a luxury trip! Along with breakfast we had a local cyclist give us the best of his advice on the road ahead. Love the conversation!
The ride was beautiful. Really beautiful. Just us on a quiet back country road, no dogs and a cool morning. We really enjoyed the ride. It was great. It reminded me how much I love to ride in the quiet of the country!
So today the decision was do we stop at a short day or push on to Cape Girardeau. 40 miles or almost 80? It really comes down to the road, the hills and the heat. We are meeting Mike's brother Doug in Cape Girardeau tomorrow. He will be on his way to Louisiana to help his son move so there was no real pressure to get to Cape today. If we stop and choose not to go the whole distance we will hve to stop in Marquand because there is no other place to stop until we get to Cape Girardeau. We had made an inquiry yesterday at The Belmont Inn Marquand, MO,its good to know the place exists in the event we decide we were going to stop in Marquand. We did not make any permanent plans for the Inn just in case the event we decided to push on. The ride was so beautiful, the roads rolling and fun and we were quickly losing elevation as we drop into the Mississippi River flats, we thought maybe we could go further! It would have been a big day and we decided we just didn't have to push it, lets stay in Marquand!
Oops, no cell phone service when we got to Marquand! So we could not call the Belmont Inn, no one lives on site, kind of a problem! But Brenda came to the rescue! A lovely local that gave us all sorts of information, especially why we could not reach anyone at the Inn since the caretaker would be at work, maybe we could call from the grocery store which we did! And while we did that she texted the caretaker, he called us back thru the grocery store phone and the rest is history! We are in a most homey and lovely historic house , now The Belmont Inn! And once again we have it all to ourselves!!!! It is just so awesome! Absolutely everything we need and more!
And if the Inn wasn't fun enough, there is a winery here! Durso Hills Winery and Bistro. A town of 200 with a post office, an Inn and a winery! A winery with really good wine! We had a long chat with the owner. He owns 30 acres here in town that he grows his grapes, the winery is right in town and he is expanding! We saw the new building on the way in! Who would guess all this in Marquand Missouri!?? We have had a lovely afternoon! Went to the winery Bistro for a salad and crusty loaf of bread as an appetizer . . .and of course wine! He was kind enough to send me home with a wine to go! A very generous wine to go, we stopped at the local grocer and bought hand cut rib-eye steaks, a pile of veggies and went back to the house to cook our own dinner! What a nice change from eating out! This is turning into quite the luxury bicycle trip!
While we were at the winery we not only had a chat with the owner and local Vintner, we also had a long conversation with Billy, a local born and raised in Marquand. He was telling us about his life growing up here. No electricity until 1972, no indoor plumbing, having to walk to the creek for to cart buckets of water back to the house. He was about our age, or not much older so his childhood would be comparable to the timeline of ours. He only had good wonderful things to say about it. He then went on to tell us about his son who lives and teaches school in Saipan! I don't even know if I had ever heard of Saipan! It was just such an interesting story! Billy has been there several times and shared his experiences. There is so much diversity in the world, stories of how life puts opportunities in front of you and you can end up in places in the world you never expected you would find! And you hear these stories where you least expect to hear them! Isn't life good??
After dinner back at the Belmont Inn, Denny the caretaker stopped by to check on us and make sure we had everything we needed! Yes we did and more!! He sat for a chat and even more fun stories! He was such a nice guy, so enthusiastic and busy in such a small town! He was director of transportation in Frederickstown for the county, and he was the director for the arts and theater production company in Marquand! What???? There are 201 people who live here but they put on 10-12 productions each year! Small town America and the wonderful exciting, kind people who live here! Denny only helps to manage the Belmont Inn for the owner who lives in St Louis but he has his own farm and acreage. When we told him about Warmshowers and the amazing organization it is, he was all excited and ready to join! We will have to make another bicycle trip thru to check it out when he is all ready!!
Tomorrow we are meeting Mike's brother in Cape Girardeau! We have seen so many people along the way, all of these visits have been unplanned and so fun!
Once again, thanks for checking in! So glad you are all here with us!