Twenty-Two: Don’t Call Herman (Farmington to Ellington)
Settled into Al’s Place, I didn’t want to hit the road today. I deployed the toaster, coffee machine and computer — all of the civilized man’s tools — delaying the inevitable. I walked to an ATM to pay my bill and hit the road about 9:30 a.m. The first 20 miles were cake — Trevor had texted me: look for five dogs 15 miles in and more importantly that crushed ice and water’s available at the Convenience Barn. Crushed ice is on a whole ‘nother level.
The grades were substantial but gentle, including a nice five-mile descent out of Pilot Knob, where I ran into Nikki and Josh (in a Stone Brewing jersey), who started in California. They let me know there’s an unlisted hostel in Ellington, and to go the pizza place for directions. And for the love of God, not to call Herman. Herman’s on my maps as the contact point for a church cyclists-only lodging, which is no longer available, according to ACA addenda. I guess they stopped hosting a while ago, and he’s tired of phone calls. We compared notes on what was coming up, and the headed our separate ways, me with a bounce knowing I wouldn’t be camped in Brawley Park tonight.
I stopped in Centerville (pop. 191), where I learned that the place (the only place) to eat is 21 Diner. Lunch was the special: French fries and mini tacos. Both conveniently deep fried. After my meal, I oozed out of the booth on to the courthouse lawn and 93 degree heat where I spent an hour dodging the sun, letting my lipid levels lower. Around 4 p.m. I headed off for the final 15 miles to Ellington.
The last leg was a slog. I was full of grease and sluggish, and the grades picked up. I was glad for the steep descent into Ellington. I found the promised pizzeria, where the first thing she asked me was, “You didn’t call Herman, did you?” I told her I was too scared to call anyone. I guess she’d given him a buzz and he’d given her a piece of his mind. Squared away, I headed down the road to the hostel, which opened this spring. It’s a small place, but it’s got A/C, a hot shower and a few cots, as well as fabulous wood paneling. There’s a bottle of Manischewitz in the fridge, too. Welcome home. It’s great to see towns adding (free!) cycling accommodations for weary tourists.