Day 6: Big Spring Missouri

Thankfully I woke up feeling a lot better than when I went to sleep.  Lambert's Cafe gave my stomach a good beating, but I bounced back surprisingly well and was ready for another day in the saddle.  We weren't expecting to do much sightseeing as we crossed Missouri, so the plan was just to hit the highway and put down some miles.  That all changed by lunchtime, when we stumbled across a historic marker in Van Buren, MO.

Van Buren was exactly one tank of gas away from Sikeston and since the next decent sized town was a couple hours away, we decided to get an early lunch after filling up with gas.  A couple local police officers recommended a Mexican restaurant in downtown which probably wasn't the best choice after last night's "pig out", but with few other options we decided to give it a try.  The lunch turned out to be good, but I decided to play it safe and take a stroll around downtown before jumping back on the bike.

The Chamber of Commerce was located right across the street from the Mexican restaurant and had a number of monuments and historical markers describing the history of Van Buren.  As I read through the history of the town, a sign describing a placed called "Big Spring" caught my eye.

A quick conversation with one of the employees at the Chamber of Commerce provided me with everything I needed to know and soon we were heading south on a twisty back road leading into the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.

I have to admit that I couldn't imagine how a spring could be that impressive.  I spent my childhood on the creeks and rivers of Eastern, NC and have seen my share of springs over the years.  Well, the springs we have back in North Carolina are nothing compared to Big Spring, MO.  Soon after we pulled into the park, the road began to follow a crystal clear river filled with vibrant green aquatic plants.  A couple turns later the road turned into a large parking lot and the river seemed to end at the base of a large cliff.  Once we got off the bikes we could see the water churning out from under the cliff, forming the headwaters of the river.  Pumping out 250 million gallons of water of per day, Big Spring is a sight to behold.  At the spring itself, the water has a distinctive blue green tint which soon becomes clear as the water moves downstream.

After leaving Big Spring, we cruised the rest of the way to Springfield, MO without incident.  For the third night in a row we camped at a KOA campground, this one located just off of the famous Route 66.  Besides having plenty of Route 66 memorabilia in their gift shop, they also had gemstone mining onsite, complete with a sluice!

Another plus was this campground had the softest grass by far and at first glance it looked like we had the entire tent section to ourselves.  This of course was not the case and by the time we had the tents in place, it was readily apparent that we would be sharing the tent area with a swarm of hungry mosquitoes.  Somehow we must have timed our arrival with the last hatch of the season, so we retreated to the TV room, ordered a pizza and watched a little football until the mosquitoes settled down for the night...

We logged around 240 miles today, so we are making good progress.

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