Map source = BikeKatyTrail.com
Note: In this post, Barry's words are in italics, Emily's are in normal text.
On Tuesday morning, we awoke to a nice hot breakfast at the Comfort Inn in Boonville. A hot breakfast is a rarity in the budget to mid-range hotels we stay in, so this was a plus before a long day of cycling for Barry. The new biking buddies he had met the day before were also staying in our hotel, as it turned out, and would be staying in the same Baymont Inn in Jefferson City tonight as well! Turns out there were five men in total in the group (two had been riding a bit behind the first three the previous day due to flat tires and other mechanical issues). Plus they had George, who was driving the support car along from place to place, like I did. They were all super friendly and fun to talk to, and Barry would see them along the trail off and on for the next two days.
Today's ride was one of the shorter ones of his tour (relatively speaking!), which was kind of nice as it was a bit chilly in the morning, and Barry was able to wait to leave until it warmed up enough for shorts and short sleeves. Here he is taking off from the hotel to make his way back to the Katy Trail.
Today the trail hugged the Missouri River for most of the day. That meant a mostly flat ride, but a steady headwind made it seem like it was uphill the whole way.
The "support crew" moved on as well...
Paisley and I had time to kill after checking out of the Comfort Inn at the last possible minute, so after making the drive to Jefferson City and determining that it was too early to check into the Baymont, we made our way to a park close by I'd found on google maps.
The Jefferson City multi-use greenway went right through the park, so we were able to take a walk and we catch a glimpse of the Missouri state capital dome. Yes, Jefferson City is the capital of Missouri. Don't feel bad if you didn't know this; until we planned this trip, I didn't either!
By the time I was able to check into the hotel (2 pm), Barry was arriving in Jefferson City and had to negotiate his way on a spur trail and over the Missouri River bridge to downtown.
Barry's arrival in Jefferson City
Including riding to/from the trail to our lodging I ended up with a little over 56 miles today. I wasn't sure what to expect when I left the trail to ride into the capital of Missouri, but a nice new bike/pedestrian bridge over the Missouri River made it easy, and traffic was much lighter than expected downtown as I rode to our hotel. Check out these photos from the bridge - the ramp up to the bridge was amazing!
Downtown Jefferson City
After Barry arrived safely at the hotel and took a shower, we set off on foot to get some food and check out the downtown a bit. It was a very quaint and historic downtown area. We didn't realize our hotel would be so close to downtown, but we got lucky this time. Since we had to book pet-friendly lodging, we were very limited in our choices, so this was an unexpected bonus.
We also got to see the Jefferson Landing state historic site, which was all closed up for the season, but it was nice to see the buildings from the outside. The current Amtrak station is still in one of the buildings here.
After checking out some of the sights, we bought a takeout pizza at the well-known Arris Pizza and hustled back to our room to chow down. We were so hungry we forgot to take a photo, but we got the "Homer", with spinach, artichoke hearts, roma tomatoes, feta, and pizza cheese. Could have used more spinach, but it was delicious otherwise.
Stay tuned for Day 3 -- Jefferson City to Washington!
Note: In this post, Barry's words are in italics, Emily's are in normal text.
Barry had set a goal of riding the entire Katy Trail this fall, and after riding the Michelson Trail in South Dakota, most of the MoPac trail in Nebraska, in addition to plenty of long rides in the Kansas City area, he felt ready. He just needed a weather window. It can be tough to string together four days without rain or a cold front, and he was hoping to avoid the weekend trail crowds, so when it appeared that the second week in October was going to be nice -- and on the warm side -- he decided to go for it. We'd only been back from our fall trip to the Dakotas and Nebraska for one week, and here we were packing and hitting the road again! But this time, our travel time was pretty short, taking us just over the border from Kansas to Clinton, Missouri, to pick up the western terminus of the trail on Monday morning, October 7.
Map source = BikeKatyTrail.com
I originally thought I would do this ride in five days, but I ultimately decided to combine the two shorter days and into one to avoid any really short riding days -- also because it appeared the wind would be out of the west, helping me along. Riding the trail in four days would give me an average mileage of over 60 per day (including some riding to/from the trail).
I dropped Barry off in Clinton, Missouri to begin his first day of riding at the western terminus of the Katy. After a few photos, he was off!
It was a little chilly at the start of the ride (low 50s) but nice and sunny. I also had a nice tailwind for most of the day.
The Katy Trail is relatively flat, with the high point, which I reached this morning, at only 955 feet above sea level. The low point, which I'd reach on the final day, is at 436 feet.
Meanwhile, back at the support vehicle...
In the meantime, Paisley and I had some time to kill before we could check into our hotel for the night, so we found a very nice city park in Sedalia to hang out in. There were beautiful flowers and even monarch butterflies, much to my surprise!
While Paisley and I were hanging out in the park, Barry called saying that he was almost at the Sedalia railroad depot, right by the Katy trailhead in town, so I drove over to meet him there. There's a nice little gift shop, so I bought him a Katy Trail t-shirt and a refrigerator magnet for our collection before he continued his eastward trek towards Boonville.
By now it had gotten warm enough that he decided to peel off his tights and long-sleeved jersey for the afternoon's riding.
As I was leaving the Sedalia trailhead, I met three friendly men riding the trail together. From the trailhead, it's necessary to navigate city streets to reach the continuation of the trail. It wasn't very well marked, so we got lost several times before some helpful local residents pointed us in the right direction. Once back on the trail, the miles flew by as I chatted with my newfound friends.
Once Paisley and I were able to check into our hotel (a Comfort Inn, which was very nice and pet-friendly to boot), I quickly changed into my bike gear and headed out on the Katy westbound to meet up with Barry for the last segment of his day's ride. The trail was a bit hard to find as it was hidden down a gravel road off a little-used paved road behind the hotel. No signs at all until you actually got onto the trail. Fortunately I saw a couple of riders coming out the gravel road or I might have looked even longer than I did.
I rode as fast as I could to meet up with Barry, and I found him taking a break at the Pilot Grove trailhead with his new buddies he'd met up with that day. They were all friendly and happy to meet me since Barry had been telling them about me. They were impressed that I was riding and wondering how to get their wives into cycling too! I told them I didn't come to it late in life but when Barry bought me my first "adult" road bike in 1987 (a very smart move on his part!)
We all got going, and naturally I had the most "gas in the tank" since everyone else had been riding all day. It was fun for me to be leaving a group of men in my dust as it is usually quite the opposite!
I beat Barry up the hill on the road to our hotel at the end since he had a lot of miles in his legs, so I was able to snap a photo of him pulling into the parking lot -- 72.6 miles done! I only got in 18 miles, but that was fine with me -- I still had a great day.
I was quite tired at the end as this was my longest ride of the year and my longest mountain bike ride ever!
The Comfort Inn was right next to a truck stop (see photo above) with a Wendy's, so we headed over and brought a big feast back to our room for supper.
Stay tuned for Day 2 -- Boonville to Jefferson City!
What a wonderful trip we had! We'd originally thought we'd go to the Pacific Northwest for our fall trip, and it is still very much on our "gotta visit" list. But we'd been driving so much after trips to the southwest US in July and to North Carolina and Ohio in August that we decided on this trip instead. It turns out to have been a good decision as the PacNW got quite a bit of rain during the time we were enjoying glorious weather with only one partial day of rain! We really did get lucky. Most days, the skies were bright and sunny and temperatures were moderate. This allowed us to do plenty of hiking, cycling, and sight-seeing.
Here's a map of our trip route. We left the Kansas City area on September 12 and returned on September 30. The numbered pins show the order of our travel, beginning and ending in the Kansas City area.
Here are our blog posts, in order, from the trip for easy reference [note that we spent one night in Watertown, SD on the first night of our trip (pin B on map), but it did not get a blog post]:
We were very fortunate to get out of the Black Hills area of South Dakota when we did. Just over a week after we left Hill City, where we spent eight days and nine nights, this happened:
Hill City is only about 40 miles south of Deadwood, so looks to have been in the area that got some of the highest snow totals. Tragically, thousands of head of cattle perished in this freak early October storm, unusual even for this area. It is hard to believe we were riding bicycles in shorts and short sleeves on the Michelson Trail just over a week earlier.
A final bit of good fortune is that on this trip we were able to visit several national parks/monuments before the government shutdown closed the gates in early October. If our trip had been just a couple of weeks later, we wouldn't have been able to enjoy and experience these wonderful places. However, I know many others were not so fortunate. Keeping politics out of the blog is my intent, so I'll just say that I hope this standoff is resolved ASAP.
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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