Archive for the ‘Missouri’ Category

Day 33, Not in Kansas anymore

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

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We woke to an extremely dewy morning in Mound City, it might as well have rained. Fall seems to be making an entrance in the Midwest. Today we were headed to Clinton MO the western end of the 225 mile Katy trail, 80 miles away.

This was also our second day off route using standard road maps instead of our special adventure cycling maps. Although we don’t have the advantage of all the additional service information our bike maps provide, it was kind of fun to strike out on our own, not knowing what to expect from the next town.

On our way we passed through the Mine Creek Battlefield and the Marais des Cygnes Massacre sites. Not getting as much attention as VA in civil war history, the Kansas-Missouri border area hosted some critical events of the period.

Even though today was a relatively easy 80 mile day, I was happy to get off my bike in Clinton, with an aching shin and ankle. We ended our evening by getting dinner at The Golden Corral buffet. If you’ve ever wondered why Americans have weight issues, make one visit to a Golden Corral and all questions will be answered. What is an all you can eat buffet’s worst enemy? A hungry cyclist.

Day 34, On the Katy

Friday, September 25th, 2009

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We got a bit of a late start this morning. After taking advantage of the free continental breakfast, I decided it was time to swap my front and rear tires. My rear tire has completely warn down to the point that the hard layer of under belting has begun to show through. I guess that’s what 2300 miles will do, especially when it’s bearing most of my weight and a trailer full of gear. If we ever come across a decent bike shop I might look into getting a replacement, otherwise I’ll resort to using the spare I brought along for emergencies.

After a little wandering around in Clinton we found the trail head for the Katy Trail. It was pretty much as I expected, a 10-12 ft wide hard fine gravel packed path. At points cutting across open fields, other times carving a tunnel through the brush and forest. Best of all no cars, trucks, or RV’s to worry about. Also the grades are smoothed into very gradual climbs and descents as opposed to roller coastering. Perhaps the greatest challenge was the kamikazzi squirrels who constantly chose to dive in front of us at the very last moment. We also got surprised by the occasional black snake or turtle we had to dodge. I finally was able to secure the elusive peanut buster parfait at Dairy Queen which I had been searching for since Colorado.

The rougher surface does take a little additional energy to ride so the going is a little slower. We decided to make it a relatively short day and stop at Grove Point 68 miles total. We grabbed dinner at the bar/grill by the trail head and got permission to camp at the town park. Tomorrow we’re going to try and do a 100 plus miles, so we’ll be in easy striking distance of St Charles and the Mississipi on Sunday.

Day 35, Gimme Shelter

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

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Our planned early start this morning was delayed by rain. At 4:30am, we were forced to move our tent because of the rain. Luckily there was a covered picnic area, we spent the rest of the rain storm camped out there, and kept our stuff relatively dry. After the rain stopped, we had really lovely weather and Mike and I were enjoying our second day on the Katy trail. The scenery is beautiful, we have been following the Missouri River, and parts of the Lewis and Clark trail.

We had planned on a long day today, 103 miles to McKibben MO, but our rain delay and an extra long lunch put that goal out of reach. We settled on 78 miles to Tebbits, where we found a hostel to stay in. The Turner-Katy trail shelter is a two story building set up to give cyclists on the trail an inexpensive place to spend the night. It has about 20 bunk beds and a shower. Tonight we are sharing it with 3 other cyclists. The only drawback – there in nowhere in Tebbitts to buy food. So, we finally ate the cups of noodles that we bought in Middlegate, NV and the chili from Rico, CO. Tomorrow we will have to restock.

– Sarah

Day 36, Meet me in St. Louis

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

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We finally got the early start we were looking for in Tebbets. We wanted to finish up the Katy Trail today and had over 90 miles to ride over hard packed gravel. Since there was no resturaunt in Tebbets we had to cook our own breakfast.

There’s something to be said for getting an early start especially in the countryside. It was really beautiful and peaceful, though since the spiders on the trail had been busy building traps the night before we found ourselves constantly dodging, sometimes hitting the many webs stretched across the path.

We kept a steady pace throughout the day trying to make good mileage. The closer we got to our destination, the more bike traffic we found on the path, most not posessing our singular focus.

We crossed the Missouri River into the outskirts of St Louis a couple miles short of the end of the trail in the early evening. Eventually we meandered our way to a hotel still on the outskirts in Maryland Heights, total mileage 99.9 miles. Just down the street we were able to find a laundromat and a really good Indian resturaunt, in a strip mall. This was our first non Mexican, non burger, non steak dinner almost since the trip began. Tomorrow we work our way into downtown St Louis and start working our way South along the Mississippi.

Day 37, Still in Missouri

Monday, September 28th, 2009

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I know that we promised not to start anymore posts this way, but today was a hard day. It was hard physically and mentally. The terrain has gotten hillier, and we spent the day feeling like we were riding a really slow roller coaster. We also miscalculated our mileage. We thought that we had an 80 mile ride to Chester IL, but we figured out pretty early on that the mileage is really about 110. Also, we spent a little more time getting through St. Louis than we had planned. Even if we had been physically able to ride the whole way, there just weren’t enough hours of daylight. I think that this is going to start being more and more of a problem. Mentally, I am feeling anxious. Tuesday night my sister, Kate, is driving up from Memphis to visit us, and I am really excited.

So, we set out this morning and had to ride about 25 miles to downtown St. Louis. We saw the arch, but had trouble taking a picture because it is so big, and we were so close to it. We also stopped by a bike shop, they didn’t have the right size tires to replace Mike’s worn out tire, but they did have a really cute bike shirt (on sale) that I bought, a new rearview mirror for Mike and some cleaning fluid for our bike chains. We’ll just have to replace Mike’s tire with the spare that we brought with us.

After our shopping trip, we stumbled around the city a bit more, looking for the bike path that runs along the river (we never did find it) and tried to get frozen custard at Ted Drewes (they were closed for the season). We ended up just grabbing lunch at McDonalds.

Finally, we made it out of the city, and started hauling for Chester. We decided to take 231 to 61 south. In hindsight, we might have crossed the Mississippi in St. Louis and taken route 3 through Illinois. As it is, we didn’t make it to Chester, we have not crossed the Mississippi and we are still in Missouri. Poo. The route that we did take, although almost the whole thing is a signed bike route, very little of it even had a shoulder, and when it did, there was usually a rumble strip. Also, there was some road work in progress, and Mike and I found out that the road was closed about 65 miles in, with no detour. The road portion that was closed looked short, so we decided to just go for it. Unfortunately, there was also an unfinished bridge involved. Fortunately, the bridge was completed enough for us to carry our bikes over. After 90 miles, we finally made it to our motel in St. Genevieve. It was a long day, but we did pretty well, and tomorrow we will finally cross the Mississippi River and make our way across a new state.

-Sarah


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