The ride is starting to be measured in 5 mile increments; ride 5, rest and rehydrate, continue on. Then at some point that drops to 3, and then 2 miles. Sometimes I'll stop in the shade just before a big hill to let my heart rate and body temp come down a little before they shoot back up on the hill. At this rate, time expands and every mile feels like a marathon. The water in my bottles is hot from the sun and there's no relief in the shade. As I push up a hill, I can hear my heart throb in my ears as the sweat pours down my face.
The uplift of that night carried over to the next day, where the steep hills of the Ozarks gave way to beautiful rolling hills. The weather was threatening to rain all day, but held off until literally 5 minutes after we got to camp (and under a pavilion) and then the sky opened up like floodgates! Two hours and several inches of water later the clouds cleared into a beautiful evening.
Except for this little Mexican restaurant that welcomed us enthusiastically. The group settled in there and the drinks flowed freely. We had a fine dinner with wonderful hospitality, and the owner/chef made a berry cobbler just for us!
Much later, we reluctantly left and went to bed.