DAY 54 – SATURDAY AUGUST 31

WINFIELD TO ST. CHARLES Rain overnight. The pavement was still wet and the skies were overcast as I ran south out of Winfield, Missouri down Missouri Highway 79. Roadkill frogs are more frequent now – step aside raccoons and possums. Victoria took over running in Old Monroe and we cut back to toward the River on Dalbow Road. That’s where things got interesting . . . We’re running bottom lands now. The Mississippi is on our left and the Missouri on our right. This land was under water much of 2019 (and 1973, 1993, 2008, etc.) The landscape tells the story – …

DAY 53 – FRIDAY AUGUST 30

ELSBERRY TO WINFIELD Breakfast at Rachel’s Restaurant with Terrie, Sue, and Larry. This is the first time we’ve seen grits on the menu and had to order some. They were delicious as expected (especially with a little melted butter). We probably ate too much before running, though . . . Ran south out of town. Past Forrest Keeling, past the white house, past the caves. Down State Route 79. It was an uneventful journey – the calm before the storm, so to speak. Tomorrow’s journey will prove to be a bit more interesting . . . I ran into town …

DAY 52 – THURSDAY AUGUST 29

LOUISIANA TO ELSBERRY We had no idea what was in store for us as we set out from Louisiana, Missouri. I mean, I’d seen the itinerary, but only really glanced at it—it was to be a full day. Boy was that an understatement. Overflowing would be more accurate!  We woke at Cindy and Greg Blaylock’s place and got going with a quick goodbye to Greg who drove up from the house on his way to pick up supplies for the machine shed he’s building. It’s a beautiful structure, just like the guest house where we spent last night. Also built by …

DAY 51 – WEDNESDY AUGUST 28

HANNIBAL TO LOUISIANA We ran out of Hannibal, Missouri on Main Street and up the bluff past Lover’s Leap – passing the Hannibal Cannibal 5K and 10K turn-around marks on the way. Rock outcroppings and beautiful vistas . . . Bluff is a misleading word. It sounds gentle but the truth is very different. These are hills – big steep long hills. Rising from river valley to bluff top and descending back down. Repeat until exhausted. This is a mountain range we didn’t learn about in high school geography. Victoria ran into Louisiana, Missouri – down Highway 79 and south on Third after the …

Gathering a “Relay of Voices” along the Mississippi River

Victoria Bradford Styrbicki collects stories of the river, from its headwaters to the Gulf. by Jesse Davis for Memphis Magazine Artist, athlete, and cultural producer Victoria Bradford Styrbicki has been thinking about water recently. Maybe that’s the norm in these days of rising heat indexes, or maybe it’s just her Louisiana roots asserting themselves. Styrbicki originally hails from Lake Charles, Louisiana, a place where water is in the very name. Three bayous flow through the city, and it’s bordered by the Calcasieu River. Maybe that goes a little way to explaining why Styrbicki is running (and biking) such a long way …

DAY 50 – TUESDAY AUGUST 27

HANNIBAL LAYOVER Our morning started off right. Old dog, young dog, and “kitler” or Elsa (which is her proper name, although disputed in the Richards house)…. Tom and I are soaking up some pet love, let me tell you! The tails are wagging and the paws are kneading. Kitler is doing so much twisting flopping, I think she and I have fallen in love! But on with it—our morning had to continue, and Mary Lynn, our human host, met us at City Hall and took us around town to see all the amazing parks that Hannibal, Missouri has built up over the …

DAY 49 – MONDAY, AUGUST 26

QUINCY TO HANNIBAL The road to Hannibal, Missouri wasn’t very friendly for running or biking. Narrow highway, big trucks, rough gravel road at times, and an interstate highway bridge to cross. Despite that, it was a successful journey into town. Mary Lynn Richards met us as we changed as discreetly as possible, roadside, in the van, just outside City Hall. She introduced herself right away, and suggested we COULD have changed at her house where we’d be staying the night… We all had a good laugh and Mary Lynn went back to work, Tom and I went on to grab a bite …

DAY 48 – SUNDAY AUGUST 25

WARSAW TO QUINCY The Quincy, Illinois bike club met us at the Warsaw Brewery. I started our journey toward Quincy on foot, retracing part of yesterday’s route to capture some missing video. The bikers gave me a head start, but eventually passed me as they cruised south toward Quincy. Tom gave them all high-fives as they passed the transfer point and he waited for me to arrive. I was faster than usual, pushing hard so Tom could gain ground on the bikers, and Tom took off on the bike in pursuit of the pack.  They rode through the bottoms – thousands of …

DAY 47 – SATURDAY, AUGUST 24

NAUVOO TO WARSAW One more morning with Sharon and Larry, and another fabulous breakfast to top it off of course. We packed up our things and made our way to the Red Front for the launch to Warsaw, Illinois. Tom ran south along the most scenic stretch of the Mississippi River (at least that’s what the locals told us.) It was beautiful! We were right next to the river almost the entire way. No railroad – just water lilies separating us from the main channel. Lots of water lillies. Mayor Mike and wife Diane met us at Ralston park. We were planning …

DAY 46 – FRIDAY, AUGUST 23

NAUVOO LAYOVER Tom drove into Casey’s for coffee. Our hosts don’t drink it. The lady at the counter is still pushing donuts on him, but he didn’t give in. Breakfast at the Nicholls home was slated for 8:00 AM—a full serving of scrambled eggs, hash browns, fruit, toast if you want it, and orange juice! We thought we’d take the morning easy, not having a set appointment until 11:30am with the Mayor at the Catholic Church. However, Sharon had suggested we visit The Flood Museum and the proprietor said a morning visit would be better, so we got on our way to …