b'another since the Continental Divide. We hope this is our final challenge.hall in reciting the pledge of allegiance, then say our goodbyes and head off to St. Louis, We jump on this soon-to-be interstate and travel the required 1.5 miles over theGateway to the West. For us, of course, it is Gateway to the East. Missouri River, our sliver of the road far too narrow as we endure the blaring horns ofPedaling the hills of the Rockwoods Reservation, our early morning ride features only impatient drivers going five times our speed.the occasional car. As the morning progresses, we encounter more and more trafficthe When we exit our map is of little use since it only shows the main arteries. But I docommuter kind. Riding past Ballwin, Frontenac, and Ladue, we frequently find ourselves have a compass and I know Eureka is south of us. So we jump on the smallest roadsswerving to avoid glass, metal, and rocks in the small space between the curb and the car possible and use the compass to help piece together a zigzag pattern of feeder roads overlane. It is no surprise, as we close in on Clayton, Missouri, that the tire on Emilies bike the next 17 miles until we reach Kiwanis Drive and the entrance to Camp Wyman.goes flat, and then my tire goes flat a few miles later. What a mess to take all of the gear The Camp is just as it was 7 years ago, with quaint simple cottages and a south-facingoff our bikes, remove the tires from the rims, patch and replace the tube, put the tire ridge of trees that form a backdrop behind a large open field. The main dining lodge is atback on the rim, pump it up, load the bikes, and start out again. We encounter another one end of the field and the camp pool at the other. David Hilliard, who runs the camp,round of flat tires an hour later. What should have been a short jaunt into the city from greets us and his wife Tina offers us cold water, dinner, and a place to stay for the night.Eureka becomes an all-day affair. I take Emilie on a brief tour to show her the pond, the pool, and the rustic cabin in theWe work our way to Brentwood and University City, then pass the St. Louis Art woods where I lived with eight teen campers in the summer of 83.Museum and St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park. We end the days ride in the Central West At the camp adventure lodge I am thrilled to meet up with Dave Knobbe, my boss inEnd. From a pay phone in front of a pub I call my friend Joe Patke and tell him we have 1983 and now the Camp Director. How fitting it is for Dave to be part of our bike trip.arrived.He is the person who first taught me the outdoor skills weve relied on over the past 6We have routed our trip from Seattle to New York to see as many friends as possible weeks, including the use of a compass, which helped us arrive safely to Camp Wyman onalong the way. That is the reason we started in Seattle, then made our way to Whitefish, this day.Montana, and are now in St. Louis. We know that Louisville, Northern Virginia, and Ocean City, New Jersey are also part of the road ahead for this reason. BEGIN: Clarksville, MO After 2,732 miles and 50 days of travel since leaving Seattle, we arrive in St. Louis, END: Eureka, MO Missouri. DISTANCE: 51 milesTRIP TOTAL: 2,692.2 miles BEGIN: Eureka, MOEND: St. Louis, MODISTANCE: 40 milesDay 50 TRIP TOTAL: 2,732.2 milesJULY 17As we travel across the country, waking up each morning is its own mini-adventure.Day 5155There is the moment when I come out of the fog of sleep and, before being able to fully assess my surroundings, ask myself, Where the heck am I?JULY 1822Often, in those first few seconds, I am looking up at the nylon of our tent. Other times,On this adventure, sometimes our hosts are generous souls, sometimes they have the it is the indistinguishable ceiling of a random hotel room. And then there are times whenamenities we need at that moment, and sometimes their home is in the perfect location my first sight in the morning is the unfamiliar decor of a kind strangers home. Today, thefor a stopover. Joe and Michelle Patke exceed all these criteria and more. Their home is first few seconds of my consciousness take in the sound of little boys laughing, the barklocated in the trendy Central West End of St. Louis, with bars, shops, grocery stores and of a dog, and the intoxicating smell of bacon on the griddle. Where exactly am I? restaurants all within walking distance. We can park the bikes and give our bums a rest. It takes a minute to remember that I am on the living room floor of the home of DavidBut theres so much more than that. For the first time in 50 days, there are things we and Tina Hilliard at Camp Wyman in Eureka, Missouri. The Hilliards are getting readydont have to do. We do not have to check our shoes for bugs before putting them on. for the day.We do not have to roll up our tents or sleeping bags or tarps before setting off for the Emilie and I eat a bikers breakfast special with Tina and the kids, picking up whereday. We do not have to check the wind direction before deciding which way to ride, or we left off the night before with stories of our travels across the country. After breakfast,get greasy while adjusting a derailleur or brake cable. We do not have to change a tire, we join the Camp Wyman counselors and campers at the flagpole outside the diningrinse our clothes out in the bathroom of a public park, stock up on jerky or boxes of 46'