The fourth day was much more interesting than the third. Our first stop after Jefferson City was Tebbetts, site of a popular hostel offering beds for $6 per night. Later, we met a group of elderly ladies who had spent the night there and had a wonderful time.
Jesse James supposedly lived here for several years. Enlarge this picture and read about “the singing outlaw.” When you see a picture like this, just click on it and you’ll be taken to the original on Flickr; you can click on the picture there to enlarge it.
As we continued towards Mokane and Portland, we crossed several “creeks,” many of which could carry more water than a river in Colorado. Note the sign to the right of the bridge:
Looked pretty ominous, so I stopped to take a picture
Eek! A nuclear power plant? In this bucolic wilderness? Apparently so. But if the sirens went off, indicating that there was a radiation leak, we’d be cooked, since our bikes didn’t have radios to listen to the emergency broadcasts, and we certainly couldn’t leave the area quickly enough.
Mokane and Portland, Missouri, certainly benefit from the employment, and the tax generated by the power plant. Their schools are among the best funded in the state. The trailhead was particularly nice.
The state parks department erected railroad-like mileage signs, which followed the original markings from St. Louis. The actual trail ends north of St. Louis at Mile 26.9; we joined the trail at Windsor, 247.7 Mokane is 125.0. However, the last stretch from St. Charles (just north of the St. Louis airport) to Machens is apparently in poor condition with nothing to see, so we elected to stop in St. Charles, Milepost 40.
A few miles on, we passed a landmark Standing Rock, which marks the periodic floods that devastated the area and the railroad, and was the cause of the closure of the railroad in 1986. This spot is nearly a mile from the river; it’s hard to believe that floods could have been this deadly.
We then passed through Portland, Missouri and around the town of Rhineland. The latter is one of only two spots on the whole trail where it appears that someone snatched the right of way before it was purchased, so you have to go around town, behind a rodeo ground, then get back on the trail on a very busy road. No reason to stop here.
But then there’s Hermann, which is across the river from McKittrick.
Georgia and Maggie were waiting for us, and took us the the AirBnB we had rented in the lovely, quaint town with a rich German heritage. I found a great AirBnB in Hermann, and we stopped there for a minute before lunch:
There are many choices for German food and curios, and we picked a brewpub in an old flour mill near the Amtrak station. The beer was cold and frosty, and the bratwurst was delicious. Since we arrived there about 2 in the afternoon, it wasn’t crowded.
Then we decided to put on an additional 20 miles by riding to Treolar, so that the last day would be shorter. Our friendly support staff took us back to the McKittrick and agreed to meet us at Treolar in a couple of hours. I’ve never been so glad to see them as I was when they came to pick us up at Treolar. It was hot. It was dusty. The beers and the bratwurst were leaden. Really not the best idea.