Day 69 07/29/22
Slept great last night! Could not wait to start riding the much anticipated Katy Trail. Before we left the hotel the woman who sets up the breakfast bar went out of her way to put together two bags of trail mix for us. I could see the pleasure in her eyes as she handed us the bags. It is better to give than receive. We arrived at the trailhead and for some reason I had a different picture in my head. I expected some people to be there but it didn't matter, we were at the trailhead.
The trail was flat and smooth and better than expected. It is very similar to the Prarie Spirit Trail as I wrote about in another post. The weather could not have been better. A cool morning in the low 60's with no wind and clear skies. We rode to the town of Calhoun and found a great coffee shop called The Pour Poet. The owners told us it was their first week being in business and they had already been overwhelmed with customers. We drank our coffee and moved on but it was fun to hear their story. Each little town we passed had an old train depot that had been restored; great reminders of the past. At one point we rolled up on four gentlemen sitting on a bench.
These guys were out for a ride and we stopped and talked for a while. All of them were retired and lived in Sedalia our destination. As we rode on Sarah said it was encouraging talking to them probably because they all had some skin in the game. We talked about tires and the fact we had yet to get a flat after 2,800 miles. True to Murphy's Law, we had a flat in about 9 miles. So much for no flats, but thankfully it was cool and we were on a trail and not the side of the road.
10 minutes later, the tire was changed, we arrived at the Hotel Bothwell in downtown Sedalia.
It is a wonderful building, restored to the grand charm of when it opened in 1927. Many people of fame have graced it's doorway; President Trumann, Bette Davis and Clint Eastwood to name a few. We checked in, showered and headed out to eat at the No. 5 Bistro and Bar. The food was excellent and the history of the building was equally amazing.
It was one of the five original buildings where Levi Strauss had their jeans manufactured. It was a working factory until 1999. We visited the local library which is a Carnegie library built in 1900.
Right across the street was an architecturally superb Roman Catholic church. It really stands out and points to the transcendent nature of the living God.
We poked around in few antique shops but we started to run out of gas so we headed back to the hotel to relax before dinner.
Rode 42 miles today.
Day 70 07/30/22
Last night it was cool enough to sleep with the hotel windows open...nothing but fantastic!! We also slept in long enough to eat breakfast at the hotel which was nice since we paid for it. Normally we get on the road so early we miss out on the food. We headed for the Katy trail. Our first stop, Pilot Grove, a small town about halfway to our destination. The only thing open was a gas station where we bought donuts and milk. Our diet has been the subject of much discussion lately. Home cooked, healthy food has been replaced by a diet of junk food. We keep wondering how we are going to break these new habits when we get home. O well, a worry for another day. In the meantime, I am enjoying my new found liberty. As we were approaching the town of Booneville, the town where we planned to stop for the day, the trail became a -1% grade with five miles to go. We flew along it with fury. Sarah commented how fun it was but probably too fast for the trail. We stopped at the trail depot and a lady directed us to yet another great coffee shop called "The Derailed."
While there we met a couple who were locals and we talked their ears off. It is interesting how encouraging and necessary other people are even when you are with someone 24/7. We headed from there to the Franklin Hotel which is another restored hotel sitting right next to the Missouri river.
We arrived too early to check-in so we walked around town but first we had to walk down the road to get a look at the Missouri river. The rivers sure do look different out here, muddy.
It was really a great day of riding but neither of us felt done. Unfortunately, we had booked all these hotels in advance because we were unsure of the weather. We plan to get back to camping this week, weather permitting. Finally, we got checked in and went out to eat dinner. Back at the hotel we listened to some live music before we called it a night.
Rode 37 miles today.
Day 71 07/31/22
Today was just fun. We started off by sleeping in which has been is short supply lately. We only had 13 miles to ride as I explained in the last post. Checkout was 11:00am and check-in, at our BnB in Rocheport, was not until 4:00pm. So we decided to visit a church and go shopping for groceries, in that order.
Arriving back at the hotel, we packed up and left. Once on the road we crossed over the Missouri river and picked up the Katy Trail on the other side. Describing the denseness of the trees growing over and around the trail would not do it justice. At one point we came upon a detour where the trail had been washed out and a new bridge had been built. We quickly came up a short hill to the complete surprise of a man standing fifteen feet in front of us with his back to us. It was a very, very akward experience for him and for us. He was caught in the moment just before relieving himself. When he realized our presence he quickly tried to disguise his actions by throwing his hands up in the air like he was stretching. I was ready to make a joke but somehow I held my tongue, not to mention, my conscious was sitting on the seat right behind me. Amazingly he went right into a conversation about the building project to repair the bridge. Within minutes another couple pulled up and it was our cue to move on. We rolled through the old train tunnel right into Rocheport around 1:00pm and ate some pancakes at Meriweathers.
Rocheport is a very quaint town with many BnB's and beautiful homes. We checked into the Katy Trail BnB and loved it from the moment we stepped onto the property.
The town is small so it didn't take long to visit it's shops eventually heading back to Merriweathers for dinner. This would be a fun place to spend a few more days but we have to move on tomorrow. It looks like the heat is going to be back this week but hopefully not as hot and not as long.
Rode 13 miles today.
Day 72 08/01/22
We were expecting more hot weather today which made for an early departure in the dark. Walking out the door was like walking into a steam shower. My glasses immediately fogged up to the point I had to take them off to see. Does anybody love humidity? Our ride was nice but much of the same scenery. We fired up a playlist of songs that my Father-in-law loved. The music flooded both of our minds with great memories of our Dad's. Fortunate and thankful are the words we use to describe the childhood our parents gave us. The miles flew by and we soon arrived in Tebbets at The Turner Katy Trail Shelter.
Upon arriving, a gentleman who was a Trustee (we never got his name) of the shelter was walking in the front door and he said, "Just go on in and make yourself at home." We went in and looked around, for $10 per person it looked descent enough so we started unpacking our bike and bringing in our gear. At that moment the trustee, who had invited us in said, "I am going to have to ask you to step outside, you don't want to be in here because I have to deal with a squatter." That was a notable introduction to our new accomodations. As we stood outside the trustee got on his cell phone and called the Sheriff. Within a couple of minutes a guy in his late 20's to early 30's walked right by us without saying a word and hit the road. The Trustee assured us that those incidents are rare occassions and not to worry. At that moment Sarah asked if we could lock the front door at nightfall. I think that was about the time he handed us the key and told us to hang it outside on the telephone pole when we left in the morning. We chalked it up as part of the journey and got settled in. The sun was hanging high and the heat was still rising which left us a lot of day to clean the bike, play games, listen to some podcasts and cook dinner.
Around 6:00pm, the front door opened and a young guy (Ali Mohammed) stumbled in looking for a place to stay the night. He was obviously overcome by heat exhaustion as he had ridden over 100 miles during the hottest part of the day. We showed him around and just then another guy (Stanley) showed up.
We all sat around the table that night sharing stories and learning about each other's journeys. It was lights out at 9:00 because we were getting up in a few short hours to pedal on.
Rode 48 miles today.
Day 73 08/02/22
3:50am rolled around fast! Ate breakfast, a protein drink and two pieces of toast, dressed, loaded the bike and were on the trail by 4:40am. I know I have said this before but I love riding in the dark.
Our first encounter with wildlife this morning was while we were riding under the tree canopy in the dark of night with only our bikelight illuminating the way. Out of nowhere an owl swooped down and flew just above our heads proceeding in front of us and then dissappeared. It happened so quick! Just as sudden as he was gone, he was back again swooping up from behind us and flying low over our heads. Into the view of our headlight we could see his wings effortlessly sweeping with such majesty and then he was gone again. He reappeared for a third time and finally figured out we weren't a threat and went back to doing owl things. We both remarked how we had never experienced anything like that while riding in a car. Most of our time today was riding like crazy to keep from being in the heat. One thing that has been amazing and annoying while riding the Katy trail are all the spider webs that cross the trail hanging from tree to tree. Because I am riding in the front I get to be the one who breaks the webs with my face. We're not just talking ten webs or fifty but hundreds and hundreds of webs. When we stop for a break my helmet looks like it has hair flowing off of it and the bike is covered. Sarah gets shielded from most of it but not all of it. I will not miss those webs when we leave the Katy trail and head to Illinois tomorrow. A highlight of the day was stopping for breakfast at the Caboose Cafe. Just as the name implies it is an old caboose car turned into an eatery right off the trail. We met three guys who were sitting outside ordering food. One of the guys, Bubba, asked if he could sit and chat with us.
Bubba owns a bicycle touring company and has done many long distance tours so he had lots of stories to share. He and his friends were doing some scouting for their next tour to find the best ammenities for their customers. We had a great time of conversation and as we were getting ready to leave he insisted on paying the bill. It was another encouraging moment that will standout in our memories. We arrived in Augusta where we stayed at a BnB.
Kathy was our host and ran a nicely appointed establishment. We were both tired and took a nap for a few hours. Kathy cooked us breakfast for dinner because we would be up and out at the crack of dawn. She was an excellent cook and we enjoyed our first home cooked meal in months. We will see you all next time from the other side of the Mississippi river and over 3000 miles behind us!
Rode 67 miles today.