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!
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.
Favorite Travel Blogs