Map source = BikeKatyTrail.com
Note: In this post, Barry's words are in italics, Emily's are in normal text.
At last it was the fourth and final day of Barry's Katy Trail adventure. In case you missed the previous day's posts, you can read them by clicking here:
On this fourth day of his tour, I dropped Barry off at the Marthasville trailhead in the morning so he could finish his trek to the eastern terminus of the Katy Trail in Machens. After he reached Machens, he'd have to backtrack 3.1 miles to the tiny, tiny "town" (if you can call it that) of Black Walnut, which isn't even shown on the map above. That's the last place I could park to pick him up as there's no park access or parking in Machens (which is even smaller than Black Walnut, I guess!) The hotel I'd booked for us was farther west in Wentzville (not on map but a bit west of St. Charles) to help us get a head start on the drive back to Kansas City the next day.
As I was riding up to the Greens Bottom Road trailhead, I saw two ladies stopped there, and couldn't help but notice that they were riding Bike Fridays. Since both Emily and I also have Bike Fridays, I had to stop and chat with these adventurous ladies. They were pulling trailers and doing a self-supported tour of the trail. One of them even volunteered to pose for a photo next to her bike!
While waiting to check into our hotel in Wentzville, Paisley and I hung out in a nearby city park. I didn't even take any photos there as it was a nondescript, smaller park, mostly just a couple of ball fields and a kiddie playground. In the 1.5 hours we were there, no one else even came to the park other than a couple of cops talking in their cars in the parking lot. At least I felt safe!
Escorted by a Sheriff in Black Walnut.
Finally we were able to check in, so I changed into my bike gear and hit the road to Black Walnut. Our GPS could not even locate it, that's how small it is. But I figured out the route using google maps before I left the room. The only thing I missed was exactly where the Katy Trail State Park access and parking area was. I figured there'd be a sign pointing my towards it. But when I finally got to a sign saying "Black Walnut", I only saw a couple of farms and no Katy Trail sign at all. Huh? Every other town had had brown informational signs leading directly to the park, but not here.
Once I realized I had missed it, I saw a sheriff's patrol car parked in a gravel area beside the road, so I pulled in behind him and asked if he knew where the Katy Trail parking was. Not only did he know, he escorted me right there! Turns out it was just off the one turn in Black Walnut, and if I'd turned around and gone back on my own, I would have certainly turned down that road and found it, but getting escorted by a sheriff was pretty cool! Wish I could have gotten a photo, but my camera was not easily reachable, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
The Final Stretch.
Barry and I had been in phone contact, so I knew he wasn't too far to the west. I took off on my bike, and sure enough, I met him after about 5 miles of riding. I wish I'd been able to make it to the St. Charles trailhead. It looks charming from the photos Barry took.
Today I hit the lowest point on the trail (436' elevation). You can see the relative flatness of the trail as the high point, which I passed on Day 1, was only 519' higher.
We then continued riding east to Machens and the end of the trail. He did it!
Four day totals: all 237 miles of the trail, plus 15 more miles riding to/from lodging. The weather was great, I met some wonderful people on the trail, and knocked one more item off my bucket list. Time to rest up until the next adventure!
Reward Meal. Mexican of course!
The Super 8 hotel in Wentzville was definitely the least desirable place we stayed on the trip and really needed a facelift. The best thing it had going for it was a great Mexican restaurant almost right next door, so we treated ourselves to a reward meal to celebrate the end of the trail.
That's all for this trip -- stay tuned for our next adventure!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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