Katy Trail Day 5 – Treloar to St. Charles

Relive ‘Katy Trail, Day 5’

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.

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Onward.  Augusta has many interesting shops, galleries and restaurants to explore.

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The trail signs included menus for some of the restaurants

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and a sign at the trail invited you to explore more.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Katy Trail Finish - St. Charles, Missouri

 

Katy Trail – Preparation and Planning

In June, 2017, we attended the memorial service for  Warren Humble, a good friend from Rifle.  At the service, his wife mentioned how much she and Warren had enjoyed their rail trail bike trips, starting with the Katy Trail in Missouri.  Gene Byrne, another friend from Rifle, and I talked about it later, and as it turns out, both of us wanted to ride the trail…so we talked over the winter and planned it. Our wives, Georgia and Maggie, agreed to accompany us and be our sag wagons.  We decided to meet up in Kansas City and ride at least some of the new Rock Island Spur to the Katy Trail to St. Louis.  Unfortunately, the trail won’t go all the way, but it is close. 

We decided that we were a bit beyond the camping stage, so I found several AirBnBs along the way, and we alternated them with hotels.

As one of the oldest and longest rail-trail conversions, there’s a lot of material available online and by mail on the Katy Trail.  Almost too much information. 

Sources

Books & Pamphlets

  1. The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook by Brett Dufur is invaluable.  It’s also well written and filled with useful information about the trail and your trip.  It cost about $20 and you can buy it through Amazon or directly from the publisher, http://www.pebblepublishing.com.  Make sure you get the most recent edition, which as of 2018 was the 10th.although the website still advertises the 10th Edition
  2. The Missouri State Parks maps of the Katy Trail and the Rock Island Spur.  These are free, and are the best parks maps I’ve ever seen, full of ideas and tips.  They’re available at each of the trailheads,

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and you can request a copy by mail at  https://mostateparks.com/park/katy-trail-state-park or by writing to Katy Trail State Park, 5901 South Highway 163, Columbia, MO 65203.  Phone 573-449-7402.

Online

  1. http://www.bikekatytrail.com/ has a wealth of information and advertisements including facilities available at each of the towns along the way.  The web style is 1995, and some of the information is outdated, but it’s still by far the best resource available online.  There is also an active message board of others who want to take the adventure.
  2. The Rails to Trails conservancy’s website, http://traillink.com, has maps, photos and reviews of the Katy Trail, the Rock Island Spur, and every other worthwhile bike trail in the US.  Consider joining the Conservancy.  It’s a §501(c)(3) charity, so your membership may be tax deductible. 
  3. Google and YouTube list hundreds of personal blogs like this one and videos of adventures along the trail. 
  4. The chambers of commerce and tourist bureaus of the towns along the route have websites of varying usefulness, and listings of hotels and traditional Bed & Breakfasts.
  5. The ubiquitous AirBnb has listings in many, but not all, of the towns along the route.  We were very pleased with the AirBnB in Hermann and Jefferson City.
  6. The Missouri State Parks website includes information on an annual supported trip along the trail.  If you want someone else to plan for you, and you enjoy camping with several hundred of your new friends, this is a good option. If you don’t, several companies offer shuttle and reservations for a semi-supported tour; I have heard good things about Independent Tourist.  The senior-oriented educational group Road Scholar (formerly known as Elder Hostel) also advertises Katy Trail adventures.

Advice

These are my subjective opinions.  Take them for whatever they’re worth.

  1. We went from west to east in 5 days.  It was just the right amount of time for the trip, and I’m glad we went in this direction since the winds and afternoon sun were favorable, and the trail got much more interesting the further east we went.  We went in early May, and the weather was perfect.  Until the last day, no thunderstorms.  We also didn’t see or hear of any tornadoes or flooding.  But it happens. Same, I understand, for the bugs. I wouldn’t want to go in the heat and humidity of July and August, but September and October sure look appealing.
  2. Bring sunscreen and insect repellent. 
  3. The Rock Island Spur is new, interesting and worth taking instead of the Katy Trail from Clinton to Windsor. 
  4. Our overnight stops weren’t chosen well; I didn’t read the fine print in the guidebook.  If we had it to do over again, I would stop at:
    1. Sedalia
    2. Rocheport
    3. Tebbetts
    4. McKittrick/Hermann
    5. St. Charles
  5. If we’d taken Amtrak to Sedalia, and were interested in a less ambitious schedule,  I would have stopped at:
    1. Rocheport
    2. Tebbetts
    3. McKittrick/Hermann
    4. Augusta
    5. St. Charles
  6. There are, shall we say, better overnight choices than McBaine/Columbia and Jefferson City.
  7. The old Sedalia depot, now a museum/gift shop/bike shop is worth an hour, and is a great place to buy souvenirs, jerseys and T shirts, but it closes at 4.  The museum in the Boonville chamber of commerce (located near the Boonville depot) is worth a stop to learn about Lewis & Clark.  You’ll see lots of interpretive signs about their expedition along the trail.

Questions or comments?  Please contact me using this form:

 

Biking, 2017

My goal for 2017 was to bike more than 2,000 miles.  I thought it was pretty impressive, but as it turns out, many of my biking friends in the area consider 5,000 miles to be a more ambitious goal.  But then I’ve been biking seriously again only since my motorcycle crash.

Here’s my 2017 results:

 

I achieved my goal in late October, about a mile from our house. 

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Later, my friend Allen and I rode the “Tour of the Moon”  over the Colorado National Monument.  I was wearing a jersey from a friend I discovered on Strava; he and his wife retired and live  in the French mountains; he was an architect and she was an educator.  He rides about as often as I do, although he’s faster.

Here are some random scenes as I racked up the miles:

With Michael Starks along the Poudre Trail in Fort Collins

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With Allen along the Rio Grande Trail from Glenwood Springs to AspenIMG_20170727_144755152
  Our favorite coffee stop, Bestslope Coffee in Fruita, Colorado
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Ridgway, Colorado
Ridgway, Colorado
Other photos along the route:
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Reeder Mesa
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Merry Christmas 2017

We wish all of our friends and acquaintances a very Merry Christmas and a happy 2018.  Or at least a year that doesn’t have as much dismal national news as 2017.

Georgia and I have spent the year doing the usual things that retired people do; if you follow us on Facebook, you know probably more than we remember!  You can scroll down the posts here to see what some of our activities have included.   I’ve been riding my bike a lot (achieving a goal of 2000 miles this year) and working with my amateur radio (my call is KØGUZ). Terry also has a ham radio license (KEØHNW) and he has had a lot of fun packing it in to mountaintops and contacting other hams, using battery power.  I’m not into climbing a 14,000 foot peak, but if you can drive most of the way there, I’m game.  This is me, my radio and antenna and computer, on an unnamed peak in Utah:

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Georgia, with the help of  friends, has learned how to quilt, use her sewing machine and play the addictive and very complex game of Mah Jong.  She hosts regular games with three neighbors. 

And of course we’ve spent as much time as possible with our grandchildren – three live nearby in Grand Junction, and the youngest lives near Durban, South Africa.  Our oldest just started high school.

We took a couple of weeks to visit friends in North Carolina, and a week with Sue and Charlie Fienning and their friends in Pawley’s Island,

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and we went to Wyoming to view the solar eclipse.  Paula (Georgia’s sister) saw 90% of it from Cheyenne, but Paula’s husband Michael and I drove north about 75 miles to see the 100% eclipse.  It was awesome.

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Above:  Michael and me just before we we were abducted by space aliens during the total eclipse.

The population of Wyoming more than doubled as hundreds of thousands of Colorado residents streamed northward to view the event.  It was really worth it.

Our year is ending with a visit from our South African granddaughter and her mommy.   After a couple of days here, they flew to San Diego to be with Jackie.

Arrival from South AfricaEnjoying the beach

We hope that this is a sign that 2018 will be a good year.

Steve & Georgia

Merry Christmas 2016 & Happy New Year 2017

This is our annual Christmas themed blog entry; this year, we’ve taken several trips and most of them are outlined in entries.  Just scroll down and read whatever interests you.  One trip that isn’t mentioned (yet) is one we took to Brooklyn, Iowa to visit a family reunion for members of the family of Georgia’s grandmother Georgiana Kreiss/Mitchell.  It was one of those surprisingly warm and wonderful meetings with people you never knew before with whom you have more in common than you thought.  We combined this with a trip to visit her family in Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.

Steve has been riding his bicycle a lot – and we even took a trip to Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois specifically so he could ride on rail trails there.  He’s also been working on the family history – click here to see if you recognize anyone.  If you’re related to us, request a user account and you can find out things about yourself and your family and correct any misinformation.

Like many, well be glad to see 2016 in the rear view mirror.   We hope that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Steve & Georgia Carter