KATY Trail 2010

Susan & Mark’s Katy Trail Adventure

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2011 Katy Trail Report

Susan & Mark’s Katy Trail Adventure II 

Read about our 2011 KATY Trail fully self-supported bike tour.

 


A week ago today we rode the last miles of the Katy Trail State Park in Missouri.
Entrance to KT in Clinton
We began at the beginning – the Clinton trail head and ended in St. Charles:  240 miles in total – 227 miles of the Katy, 13 miscellaneous miles, 6 days of riding. Glorious riding.
 
 

Red line is our route.

We decided to ride the Katy from west to east because logistically it made the most sense. Plus, typically the wind blows from west to east this time of year and we looked forward to riding all week with either no head wind or if we were really lucky – a tail wind. Every cyclist’s dream.

We arrived in Clinton the evening of Thursday, May 6th. It was an easy drive taking us just over 5 hours. The bikes were safely tucked inside and had pizza and drinks in tow so no need to stop.

 

Pre-ride lodging was at the Hampton Inn in Clinton. We couldn’t stand it so we rode around a bit in the parking lot just to test things out. We cleared it with the hotel then took the bikes up to the room via the elevator. I really wanted to ride mine through the lobby.

We left Clinton early in the morning and headed out into the wind and cold. It was cloudy but rain was not in the forecast. We decided to ride through downtown Clinton before catching the beginning of the trail.  This was the way we rode the entire trail – taking our time, enjoying the sites.

Stopping when the mood struck us.

 

There were many moments that stood out.

Riding alongside Mark, buzzing down the trail side by side.  Countless birds flying in and out.  No other sounds but our bikes and the birds.
Miles and miles of trail with heavily treed canopy.

Sunlight filtering in, birds leading the way.

 

Informative depots at every trail head on the Katy Trail covering the next town/trail head.

 

Endless miles of spring flowers along the Trail.

Silence. 
 
Iridescent blue of the Indigo Buntings and the more common, but still beautiful blue of the Eastern Bluebird.
 
 
 
The ring of Condor’s bell – which I rang to say hello to others on the trail and also to celebrate seeing an indigo bunting.

Miles of trail alongside the wider-than-I-expected Missouri River.

 

 

 
Hotel Bothwell and the endless noises throughout the night. Finding out the next morning that some believe it is haunted. Add me to that list.
 

Recognizing on day one that we had significantly over packed and actually sending as much stuff as we could cram into a large duffel home via UPS. Nice, helpful people at UPS store in Sedalia.

Surprisingly few number of people on the Trail.
How clean and well maintained the Trail was. A donation from us coming their way.
Wishing Oklahoma had something like this. Being glad the Katy is so close.
Headwind for the majority of days. Rain only one. Cool temps most days. All in all good weather.
The sun and tailwind on day 2 our longest day – 53 miles.

 
 
Beautiful skies.
The two of us inhaling a large pizza for lunch in what was probably less than 5 minutes.
Crossing the Missouri River at Boonville, the butterflies/vertigo over how high we were but more so about how strong the crosswind was.

Bob Irish and the pictures he took of us.

 
 
Arriving in Rocheport late in the afternoon to the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Katy.
 
 
 
 
Partying with the locals at the General Store.
 
Our longest day and no dinner. Thankful for the large pizza at lunch. Our ongoing laughter at how fast we ate it!
Remembering how friendly people that ride bikes are.
Beautiful fields and farms.
Taking note and pictures of all the truss bridges for our son-in-law, Tyler.

Feeling like most of the time we were going slightly uphill.

Riding along the churning Missouri River.
 All the friendly, kind and just overall wonderful people we met along the way.
Randy and Jeanette at the  
Briar Rose Inn in Jefferson City – their warmth and hospitality. The huge suite and beautiful antiques. Dinner at Arris’s. Our very early start to avoid the thunderstorms.  The lunch they packed that saved us.
Bone soaking rain all day. Grateful that it was just rain and wind. Started out with temp in high 40’s.
Tree downed from storm over the trail but park service already clearing.

 

Appreciating the lifestyle of small towns. The kindness and friendliness of the people.

 
The simpleness and straightforwardness of riding a bike.
Countless pictures of Condor and Traveler.

Tim Johnson aka fellow Brooks sufferer.  Riding cross country from Jacksonville, Florida to Oregon.
Feeling like a couple of punks when on the way home I read on Crazy Guy on a Bike website that the day we rode 43 miles in the soaking rain Tim rode 140.
Elden and Maggie at Meyer’s Hilltop Farm – Mark’s dream place.  The perfect breakfast for cyclists.  Beautiful farm, Oscar and Leon, Katy, the warm and inviting site of Elden on the porch and the glow of the candles in the windows.  Showing up and looking like a couple of drowned rats.  Good as new the next morning.
Dinner at the Stonehill Winery and looking out on the vineyards at dusk covered in mist.
We weren’t nearly as buzzed as we look.

Augusta – wine tasting and hill climbing. In that order.

 

 
Thinking about the next hill…
Gene and Jacqui at Swan Haven Inn.  Great conversation, felt like friends.  Incredible home, built in 1860, updated throughout, simple on the outside, elegant on the inside, crumpets in the morning, delicious omelet.  More great conversation and a late start to the day.
 

Spending the evening walking around Augusta in place of eating. Hoping we would find something open.  Of course we didn’t.

Condor and Traveler’s home for the night.

Mix of feelings about starting out on our last day.

 

 

The couple from Michigan riding a tandem recumbent.  Just starting their ride.  Exuberant.

My butt’s growing fondness for the Brooks saddle.

Father and son walking the Katy Trail.

Those beautiful indigo buntings.

And flowers…

The HUGE tree just before St. Charles.

 

George and his buddy at Katy Trail bike rentals in Defiance and their help with Mark’s cleat and pedal.  Great ice cream.  Good prices.  Nice people.

Defiance.  Sounds like a place Mark and I would fit in.
Spending so much time at George’s that a storm was moving in when we were ready to leave again.  Riding as fast as we could to beat the storm.  We did.
Slowing down and enjoying our last miles.
  

Feeling stronger on the last day than the first.

 

 
 
Celebrating over dinner at The Vine on Main.
 
 
 
 
The week exceeded any expectations either of us had. 

 

Next time I will post on our ride with my netbook as we go.
We would do it again tomorrow.
We are doing it again in October.
Finally…
Nothing
Compares
to
Traveling
by
BIKE!

Want more info and pictures on riding the KATY Trail? Read the posts about our 2011 self-supported tour of KATY –

Susan & Mark’s Katy Trail Adventure II




Ready to Roll

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Condor and I are ready for the Katy Trail.

Finally.

I have had a helluva time to say the least getting my fit on the bike dialed in just right.  Condor fits me, in that I bought the right size frame, but there are several different positions you have to get just right or you will suffer.  Only so much suffering is allowed in bike riding, unless you get paid to ride.

Long story, but won’t bore you with details that wouldn’t make any sense anyway.  Saddle change was the crux of the problem,  but after numerous adjustments I think we are good (she said hopefully with fingers crossed).

I changed out the stock saddle to a legendary Brooks Saddle.  The B17S to be exact.  Condor is just the type of bike that a Brooks was made for.  Plus, after learning about *Anne Mustoe and reading her books about her legendary bike tours and the comfort of a Brooks, I had to have one.

Looks like a classic doesn’t it.  I think it’s beautiful.

You know what though, the truth is that it feels like I am sitting on a board.  A seriously hard board.

The idea with a Brooks is you have to break them in… guess what you break them in with?  You guessed it, your butt.  Actually my butt.  I’ve been told by various Brooks owners, (a club for people that can endure pain I’m thinking) that it takes anywhere from 100 to 1000 miles to “break them in”.  I think they mean, break me in.  Sigh.

But, being the woman I am, and liking the looks and functionality of a Brooks, I’m sticking with it.  At least for now.

I am so committed to my Brooks, (you’re probably thinking I need to be committed) I will be sitting atop her while I ride Condor all across Missouri (could be come to known as Misery) along the Katy Trail.

I did my final tweaking (until I need to tweak again) of the Brooks today.  We are good to go.

Wish me luck.

*Anne Mustoe’s bike was named Condor, in honor of her I named my touring bike Condor.



Riding the Katy Trail

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Sunrise on the Katy Trail

This coming week Mark and I begin our excellent bike adventure; our first ride on the Katy Trail.

The Katy Trail extends 225 miles across Missouri covering most of the state.  We’ll ride the length of the trail from west to east, beginning in Clinton, MO and finishing in St. Charles.

We’ll break the ride up into 6 days of biking which should make for a very doable pace with plenty of time to stop and enjoy the surroundings and visit the many wineries and towns along the way.

Much of the trail follows Lewis and Clark’s path along the Missouri River.  The Katy Trail is part of the Rails to Trails Conservancy which is an organization devoted to building a nationwide network of trails utilizing former rail lines.

One of the best parts about riding the Katy and the rails to trails system in general, is that it allows us to ride our bikes on an off the road trail and not have to compete with cars for our little piece of turf.

When on the road rule #1 for cyclists is: Cars always win.  It will be a welcome relief to not have to contend with that.

The downside is I just read tonight that the biggest threats to cyclists are:  severe weather, poison ivy and snakes.  Any one that knows me knows what I think of threat #3.  Yikes!  As far as the other two go, it will be just like being at home.

Another plus, no camping and no carrying our own gear.  Because this is our first tour together we splurged and used a company that will transport our luggage (although we will carry a few things on the bikes) and arranged lodging (for the most part in B & B’s) in the various towns we will be staying.  So not exactly roughing it.

We are very excited to be just days away from starting our bike tour. 

Happy Trails!



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