Home » 2016 Bringing the Boat West

Greenville, IL to Miami, OK

Thursday, September 22, 2016 - 6:15pm by Lolo
373 miles and 7.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Zenith Climbing Center in Springfield, MOZenith Climbing Center in Springfield, MOWhen we hit St. Louis, rather than continuing west on I70, we headed southwest on I44 to eventually link up with I40, a much gentler alternative, in terms of mountain passes and steep grades, than I70 or I80.

I didn’t think I could take another day where the highlight was stopping at a Subway in a truck stop, so I suggested we look for a rock climbing gym to get in some physical exercise, and break up the monotony of the drive, and hopefully combat the ill effects of a diet of Subway heroes.

My first step in implementing this bold plan was to use the Waze phone app to plot our route. Then I performed a search along route for terms that might appear in the name of a climbing gym, such as “rock,” “granite,” “climbing,” etc.

Bingo! I found the Zenith Climbing Center in Springfield, Missouri, just 7 miles south of I44.

The second challenge was to find out if we could park our 45-feet of tonnage somewhere nearby. I called the gym to ask, and was told that there was a church nearby with a very large parking lot where he felt confident we could fit.

Great! We were quite excited.

I have rarely met a climbing gym I didn’t like, and Zenith was no exception. It was practically brand new and almost completely empty, because most of the staff and people that climb here were off at a climbing competition in nearby Arkansas, a competition that Herb had actually heard of. It’s called 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell, and is very unique in that you are scored on how many routes you can complete in a 24 hour period.

So, basically we had the gym to ourselves, which was great. It took us awhile to get used to the route grades here. Every gym tends to rate the difficulty of climbs differently, so we had to kind of figure out through trial and error which routes were appropriate for our abilities. In the case of this gym, the gradings were really stiff, meaning that they were really hard for their grade. While in some gyms, I can comfortably do 5.10s and even the occasional 5.11a, I struggled through 5.9s here – much more realistic to outdoor climbing.

Invigorated from our climbing session, we continued on another 2 hours before settling in for the night in a Microtel Inn in Miami, Oklahoma.

I don’t even remember what we had for dinner, but if I was to guess, it was a Subway hero or salad.


Driving I44 towards I40 with a stop for the night in Miami, Oklahoma

Greenville, IL to Miami location map in "high definition"

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