Last month, MV and I did the Katy Trail, a rails-to-trails path across Missouri. We loaded up our bicycles, shoved them in the back of an Amtrak train, disembarked in St. Louis, aimed our bikes at Kansas and went for it.
And the Missouri River looked like this the whole way. Actually, at this time, the river hadn't yet crested.
After we passed, parts of the trail were actually closed. Thankfully, most of the trail looked like this.
In the mornings, there was always the mystical scent of the forest that no matter what they may claim, laundry detergents just can't replicate.
Of course, just like anywhere in the Midwest, storms just hide behind trees and bluffs and suddenly jump out from behind you and throw everything they've got at you. And no matter how many water pistols and water balloons you bring, you will be outmatched by the storm. Also, the lightning will not turn its bass down for nothing.
There we were, innocently peddling along under the shady trees and clouds when ...rumble...
Me: "Was that thunder?"
MV: "May have been a truck. I don't know."
MV: "Yeah, that was thunder."
We checked our map - we were about a mile away from the Tebbetts trailhead, and its little information depot boasting its solid wooden roof. It was the fastest mile we probably made the whole trip.
|arriving in Tebbetts|
But Fortune was with us that day, not only did we get to park out bicycles inside the Turner Katy Trail Shelter, the town was throwing its annual picnic! We waited out a furious 30 minutes chowing down on hot dogs and hamburgers.
The rain was so tremendous that we couldn't see the cars across the street for a good 10 minutes. Everyone was happy to chat with us, and commented on how lucky we were. In fact, if I hadn't of had a flat tire that morning, we would have been past Tebbetts and peddled straight into the teeth of the storm.
So we carried on. This is near Cooper's Landing. At least 4 cars passed us on the road to the left of the trail.
We were lucky with storms again. I had to book a room with the Hotel Frederick in Boonville (awesome place to stay) because there was no tent camping nearby. I'm glad I did, because at least two severe storms rolled through in the early morning hours. How do I know they were severe? One, the thunder waking me up was a clue. I've slept through a tornado in a tent before so you can safely infer that thunder usually doesn't wake me. Two, well... this:
|MV is less than thrilled about our cycling adventure at the moment|
We climbed over 23 trees in the short stretch between Boonville and Pilot Grove before we ran into the DNR clearing crew. Happily, they informed us that it was clear all the way to Sedalia.
I also noticed a thorn in my front tire at mile marker 199. The tire lasted all the way until marker 216 when the thorn finally fell out. I also learned that you can't patch an inner tube with fix-a-flat already inside of it. It oozes out of the puncture hole so the glue on your patch won't stick. Even when you duct tape it onto the inner tube.
Despite a couple of setbacks, the trip was awesome and we spent more time laughing than cussing out a couple of flat tires. We also discovered a couple of very tasty brews and wines at the many local wineries. Everyone we met was nice and courteous, including locals and other cyclists. I couldn't have asked for a better summer vacation, and one so close to home!
I'd recommend checking out the official website http://www.bikekatytrail.com/ for history, mileage and other very useful information.
Hopefully, the Kansas Flint Hills Trail will be up to this standard soon. We're working on it!
All photographs are copyrighted by D. Dalton 2011. All Rights Reserved.