The day started with dragging myself of bed and onto the open road, appropriately named Farmland road. The roller coaster-like ups and downs persisted throughout the whole day as I headed towards the famous Ozark Mountains. The name "Ozarks" is possibly derived from "Aux Arcs" which is French and short for "in the country of Arkansas". The Ozarks Range is considered one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world and is worn down over time through erosion and shaped over the years by wind and water. The huge area of about 103600 square km, most of which lies in Missouri will take me a couple of more days to get through, but the steep gradients make the Ozarks quite tiring to traverse on a loaded bike.
Creeping over a steep hill on my way to Hartville, I suddenly heard barking and as I turned my head to the right, I saw two medium sized dogs running towards me. Having grown up with dogs I am usually not very jumpy, but when you encounter them on the road you never know what to expect and this was one of the main reasons I carry the bear pepper spray. It is easy to tell when they are playful, but these guys were seeing me as an intruder in their territory. I screamed and barked as loud as I could at them but when they started snapping at my heels, I released my right foot and gave one of them a hard kick right on the nose, which made them both stop. The one I hit shook his head and snorted as he went back to where he came from.
When I got to Hartville, I stopped outside a Subway restaurant trying to decide wether to eat or not since I was not that hungry, but when I saw that my phone had automatically connected to the wi-fi from outside, I thought I might as well sit down and update the blog. After spending a couple of hours talking to home, I got going up and down over the hills. It seemed like I was going mostly uphill, even when it seemed I was at the highest point in the vicinity the road somehow continued upwards. The weather was now cloudy and made for very nice riding. The view of the tree-covered surroundings from the ridge I had climbed up on was just wonderful and when I passed by a tower, I couldn't resist climbing up to get a better view.
The whole day had been pretty quiet and I hadn't met any cyclists - westbound, eastbound or recreational. The last part of the day was tedious and I was getting pretty tired as I closed in on Houston, Texas (county). I was also very hungry so I stopped for a pizza before calling the sheriff to get permissions to camp in the park. I saw that swimming lessons were held in the pool in the park, so I asked the teacher if I could borrow a shower, and the night was saved.