When I was seven, my parents moved our family to a house they had built in the woods. My ten years there left an indelible stamp on my psyche. Not fast-moving trucks just feet away sharing the lane with me, but squirrels, trees, falling leaves, moisture, humidity in the air were my norm. We even had a creek running through our property and our very own bridge over it. Therefore, the transition from dry Kansas to abundantly moist Missouri, that echoed the transition I experienced from Texas to Louisiana on last fall’s cross country ride, was a sort of homecoming for me.
To begin yesterday’s ride, I had to get out of Jefferson City. This involved some very steep hills, impatient traffic, a very closeup view of the elegant capitol building, crossing the Missouri River in the pedestrian/bike lane, and negotiating a squared off bike ramp down from the bridge to whichever route I would take. Here’s the video of the bike ramp.
I received mixed reviews about the Katy Trail, weighed them, and elected to go for a ride in the woods. The early fall ride opened with splendid sunshine. The trail wasn’t perfect. Perfection is overrated. There were half a dozen sinkholes large enough to swallow a bike but they were well-marked. There were about 40 feet in 75 miles that were sandy enough to mire the bike so I had to walk it. I cycled over the tail end of a tail of a lovely green snake. Because of the season, things fall — dead leaves, branches, walnut pods, horse poop. The trail paralleled the Missouri River for a very long way and there were lots of creeks that fed into it, thus I encountered at least a dozen bridges. Here are videos of crossings of two of the bridges. https://youtu.be/1sU1Ybbhy6E,https://youtu.be/Ep8Q3N-zfGs There were bluffs to my left and historical markers of the Lewis and Clark expedition along the way.Early in the ride, the strident “should” voice in my head screamed at me to go do the 8 miles of accordion pleat hills near Bluffton MO on the RAAM route. Sandra drove them and reported road construction, one lane, no shoulder, and very fast drivers. Had the kinder quieter voice not won that wanted to cut me some slack after being sick just two days ago, I’d not have met three lovely family groups on the Katy Trail.
Marilyn and Ken retired from California to open space, livestock, and fresh air in Missouri. Their son, Chris, had recently returned from serving in Afghanistan. Marilyn has run ten marathons and is organizing one in Missouri. Ken is fit and has done lots of cycling.
Bryan and Angela were on a getaway from Illinois where Doug is a fire chief. We talked several times along the trail. Angela was on a bit of a heavy bike. I rode by her and said, “One pedal stroke at a time, we’ll both reach our goal.” At the end of their ride, Doug asked if I’d had any media coverage. I said I’d had some. He said, “Let me see what I can do.” Within two minutes, he had arranged a TV interview with KMOV-TV.
Sisters Ruth and Linda, both nurses, were enjoying a quiet moment by the water, listening to the eddies in the river, when I cycled up. Our lovely conversation produced a suggestion for dinner in Washington, MO, the Blue Duck.
Katy did. The Katy Trail redeemed Missouri for me. I was moved at the individual people identified at the Jefferson City trailhead who made the trail happen – Pat and Ted Jones prominent among them. I thanked the trail employee driving the maintenance vehicle for his contribution to trail maintenance.
Moments after I finished cycling for the day, Susie and friend, Connie, drove up to the Katy Trail trailhead in Dutzow where we were shutting down for the day. The four of us will have some R&R time in St. Charles/St. Louis, then Susie will resume sag and get me to Bethany Beach and Sandra will return to Denver. Thank you, Sandra, for your superb sagging through Kansas and Missouri!
We transported the bike to Revolution Cycles in Washington MO for a great checkup by Blaise, my fourth bike mechanic angel on this voyage. Martin and Kristi of TS 30 back in Fort Scott, made this happen, too.
We closed the day with dinner at Blue Duck as suggested by Ruth and Linda. We arrived in daylight and got a view of the waterfront. As night came, we saw trains go by on the tracks between us and the Missouri River.
It was a full day that fed my soul.
Start location: Jefferson City MO
End location: Dutzow MO
Distance: 74.9 miles
Cumulative distance: 2003.3 miles
Elevation gain: 777.6 (all in leaving Jefferson City)
Special features: Mile 2000 completed (photo)
Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/729308938