Sedalia was the home of ragtime composer Scott Joplin, there’s a festival celebrating his music every summer.
Sixty miles from Sedalia to Boonville to not far from Columbia. Lots of scenery, bridges and animals. I knew about railroads, and Gene knew about the flowers, trees, insects, small animals, fish and snakes along the road. He also had read a book about the Lewis & Clark expedition in the early 1800’s, whose route followed the Missouri river. And what we didn’t know, we learned from the informative signs on each of the trailheads.
Except for the bridges and an occasional telegraph pole, most of the remnants of the MKT railroad have been removed. However, there were a couple of block signals still in place. The last time this signal flashed “high green” was thirty years ago.
The infrastructure on this rail trail is remarkable, uniform and understandable. Before every town, there’s a sign that tells you its name and the services available.
You’ll see lots of pictures of the shelters along the way. There’s one every few miles, and each has a clean toilet facility and shade, most have water, and all have interpretive signs. A few even have bike repair stations.
And the trail went on and on.
Our lunch stop was a small cafe in Boonville. This is where we met the Missouri River. which had a museum with replicas of the Lewis and Clark expedition boats.
Then we realized that I had made a planning mistake. The plan was to ride to the nearest town to Columbia, home of the University of Missouri. It’s a big city and we ended up staying near an interstate surrounded by chain restaurants and hotels. We should have stopped in Rocheport, after the only tunnel on the route.
Rocheport is a wonderful community that has prospered because of the trail. You’ll find several bed and breakfasts, restaurants and other cool places to stay and visit.
It would have evened out the mileage, and was a real missed opportunity.