Whalechaser's Musings

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Friday, October 29, 2010

The Katy Trail -- Sedalia to St Charles

I signed up with Road Scholar to do a biking program on the Katy Trail in Missouri. Mind you most of the folks that were in my group were older than me and I just turned 60something. Anyway, we met in St Charles, got some idea about the week's itinerary and then shuttled to Sedalia, Missouri, mile marker 229. That is a city that is about 30 miles east of Kansas City, Missouri. We stayed in a motel that night and the next day (my birthday) we began our trek across Missouri on the converted railroad line...now a biking trail, the longest in the rails to trails program in the United States. Our destination was St Charles, Missouri (just outside of St Louis).

We stopped in a McDonalds along the way and I got this shot from one of the pictures they had on the wall. I thought it was appropriate as a starting shot for this entry.

Here we are getting ready to start the trip from the parking lot of our hotel in Sedalia. We had the sag wagon stopping at various points along the way; anyone who felt they could not go further on the bike could load it and ride the van. Only one person did that because she had a biking accident. All the others managed to ride the entire trip as planned.

I had been practicing every day making sure I got at least 10 miles in, often I would do 15 or 20 miles. I tried to make sure I was in shape for this trip, but I think I was a little light on the miles. The first day we went 37 miles; that was more than my very best day of 36. The trail had at least three long sections of uphill (not severe, but still) which were enough to make me realize that this was going to be a challenging week.

We stayed in Boonville the second night, mile marker 191.8 and had dinner at the Isle of Capri Casino. I got this shot from the trail the following morning.

I behaved myself at the buffet and then got a little naughty with the slots.

They treated me well and I ended up $45 to the good. I appreciated the generosity and accepted it as a birthday present for my good behaviour.

We headed out first thing in the morning on Tuesday because we knew we had a 52 miles day ahead of us. Lordy, the last three miles were the longest miles I have ever done. The muscles between my shoulders felt like someone stuck a knife in them. I could not turn my head even an inch. I was seriously considering walking the last mile or two, but we were already running late and I was the last one in the group still on the trail; somehow I managed to finish the 52 miles but I was really glad I brought Advil with me. That helped a lot; the following day I found doing a series of stretching exercises for my neck and shoulders I could prevent the severe pain from recurring.

We stayed the third night in North Jefferson; mile marker 143.2. On Wednesday we headed out and continued to Hermann at mile marker 100.8. We stayed at the Harbor House and we did a tour of the Stone Hill Winery before having dinner there as well. It was a perfect setting, the foliage was turning gold and brown and the rows of grapes were mesmerising.

All in all it could almost make one forget the pains of the day. The German wursts dinner was delicious and everyone seemed to enjoy the mood.

The most spectacular bluffs were found in the Rocheport section of the trail; they seemed to go on and on..bluffs on one side, the Missouri River on the other. We were never at a loss for something gorgeous to look at
Like this beautiful weathered barn
They took what appeared to be the ends of a caboose and created this make-believe piano at the depot in Sedalia, I pretended to be a great pianist...see how I have those keys jumping?

Have you ever seen the scene in the desert where cars are half-buried vertically? Well, this appears to be Missouri's version of the same thing, but with boats.
A little wild life on the trail. The snake I saw was too quick for a picture.
The last day, I rode straight through and checked in to the hotel, then went searching for lunch and found it at an outside cafe. They had a special soup 'n half sandwich. Since I was starving, I had the baked potato soup and a turkey BLT...I think it was the best meal I had all week. So delicious!

One of the "fru-fru" shops in Old Town St. Charles...it really is quite picturesque

Here is a shot of the sag wagon and my speedometer showing the trip mileage at 200.69 miles.

My dusty old bike happy to be at the end of the line in St Charles, mile marker 39.5.

Augusta was such a special stop that I will be making a separate posting about it, since it has nothing to do with biking!

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