Our last day was not long but it was eventful. As we were unloading our bikes from the Treolar trailhead, a van pulled up with Illinois plates and out came four ladies of a certain age (our age or older, it looked). Two took out some pretty good looking road bikes and tooled off. We thought we could catch up with them easily, but after five miles were disabused of that idea. Gene finally caught up with the slower of the two, who told him that she was celebrating her 80th birthday by riding the length of the trail the second time (the first had been to celebrate her 75th birthday). Her companion, who disappeared like a shot after leaving Treolar, was a mere 73. The other two ladies in the car were a friend, and the mother of the 73 year old lady. They were from downstate Illinois, regularly rode with a group of friends, and considered this a pleasant spring trip. The four ladies met up at the next trailhead for tea and pastries. That was inspiring. But the bike repair shop owner in Sedalia told us that the oldest rider he’d heard about was 93 years old, an former bicycle racer, who completed the whole trail in 3 days. It took us five.
I was surprised when what looked like a black tree limb started to slither across the trail. It was about six inches in diameter, and perhaps 4 feet long. Not wanting to find out more, I ran over and either killed or maimed what Gene told me later was a deadly water moccasin.
A couple of miles farther, Gene saw and photographed a copperhead sunning itself on the trail.
Onward. Augusta has many interesting shops, galleries and restaurants to explore.
The trail signs included menus for some of the restaurants
and a sign at the trail invited you to explore more.
The trail then went through an area that was completely isolated from roads and improvements, or any sign of civilization. The vegetation reminded me of photos of a tropical rain forest.
Matson, Defiance, Weldon Spring passed by quickly. We knew we were approaching St. Louis because the number of riders, joggers and walkers on the trail increased dramatically. At Defiance, the water was off at the trailhead, but a few feet from the trail, we stopped at Terry & Kathy’s Tavern, and Kathy filled our water bottles with a smile.
The area became more industrial, although since we were on a former railroad track, it was hard to tell where we were. But the two road overpasses from St. Charles to St. Louis made it clear that we were nearly done. Apparently, you can ride on one of them, but not the I-70 bridge.
Our adventure ended in St. Charles, at the Lewis & Clark Museum. I noticed with interest that the parking lots had several trucks, busses and vans from the tour companies that provide Katy Trail shuttle services. But the black skies to the southwest and the winds suggested that we ought to wait in the entrance for the museum. Good idea; a rain – the first we’d encountered – hit a few minutes after we had arrived.
We put the bikes on the rack, gave a thumbs up, and our adventure was done. There’s a story about the jersey I wore. Ask me about it sometime.