DAY 1 Great Start!
We are a little over our halfway point on our first day and stopped for fresh ice water and a little break.
From East Side of KC to Indy
A few minor mishaps, but nothing Ken couldn’t quickly fix. Only 3 and a half hours of peddling took us to our home for the evening, Sedalia, Mo. Tomorrow we will hit the Katy trail and I am looking forward to a tree lined path and breathing exhaust-free air.
Day 2: We Hit the Trail
There are still remnants of the train tracks that once claimed this trail
Passing over I70 meant this day was about to come to an end
Tomorrow is going to be tough. We need to get an early start to avoid the afternoon storms that have been forecasted and get our tandem through a ditch due to a bridge closure….through a ditch or a 7 mile, very hilly detour. We’re opting for the ditch.
Day 3: Good Start for the day
After a massive thunderstorm in the early hours, Ken and I decided we should get an early start, we knew we had some challenges ahead of us. The morning was cool, cloudy and threatened more rain. The trail was wet from the previous nights storms which made the ride a bit sluggish.
We quickly came upon rocky “cliffs”
The skies started clearing and the threat of rain seemed to be over but we still had our “detour” to get through. We passed the “Trail Closed” barricade and expected to find the the bridge out a couple hundred yards down the trail. Five miles later, we found our challenge
With help from a couple fellow bikers, we got through tge ditch in about 20 minutes and got back on the trail.
Traveling on we met up with three bikers who questioned us about the trail closure. We explained that it was “passable” but probably not during the week when construction workers would be there. We all headed down the trail in the same direction but they were soon far ahead of us, until. ……
Again, we had help from fellow bikers. The three we met were stopped by a tree that had been downed by the previous nights storms. They were waiting for us to help us get our bike up and over the fallen tree. This actually happened twice. One again they headed down the trail at a much quicker pace.
We met up with them one more time at a little cafe in Hartsburg
While there, we told them of our plans for the evening and they suggested a hotel that would be much closer. We were able to change our reservations and we parted ways.
And came to what we perceived as the end of the trail for the evening. Where do we go from here? We stopped to talk with a couple and get directions to our hotel. The lady we spoke with was a member of the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce and gave us excellent directions. The ramp to take us over the Missouri River was interesting. In order to keep the incline at a minimum, they built a fun looking ramp so we could peddle all the way to the top.
I’m looking forward to going DOWN the ramp tomorrow morning
This may look like some kind of fence, but it is actually a 3 tiered ramp that took us up and over the river.
This was added after the bridge was built specifically for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
A short ride into town took us to our home for the evening, The Capital Plaza Hotel.
The hotel was right next to the Missouri State capital building.
Day 4: Quicksand!
After nights of heavy downpours, the trail is downright “spongey”. It’s slow going. We got a very late start, almost 10am before we hit the trail for the day, so we keep the wheels turning.
For the first time on the trail, we are passed. The biker (Mark) asked about our journey, and we tell him our story. Turns out, we are headed for the same town, Hermann, MO. He tells us this is his third trip on the Katy between Jeff City and St Charles. His only stop today will be at the ” big rock”…..
we’ll know it when we see it. We part ways and he heads down the trail.
In our short bicycle travels, this place had to be the worst! I can’t even fathom the health code violations happening here. But, the chicken salad was pretty good.
The trail proved to be a constant challenge, hitting a couple “potholes” that resulted in fishtailing and dragging us down, we were relieved to reach our destination for the evening, a charming German town, known for it’s wineries, Hermann, MO.
After checking into our roadside motel for the evening, we walked about 7 blocks to the downtown area and had dinner at the oldest continuous running tavern west of the Mississippi, The Concert Hall and Barrel Est 1878. I, the stoker, got to experience the local wine (delicious) and the meal was pretty good too!
Day 5: Empty Threats
We decided to get an early start. The local weatherman promised rain without a doubt. We always start our morning with a good breakfast, but that was not happening with the continental breakfast offered at the little roadside motel where we were staying. We noticed a little dinner next door the evening before. …. closed! So, a sausage and cheese croissant from Casey’s General Store would have to suffice.
We headed down the trail with the threat of rain looming overhead.
On the positive side, there had been no rain for at least 24 hours and the trail was starting to dry out. We were able to move at a quicker pace with less effort so, with a little luck, we might be able to keep the rain behind us. Also on our side, the trail seemed have a slight downgrade.
We met up again with a rider from yesterday (Mark) who gave us more information about the trail and the best way to get to our hotel once in St Charles. After chatting with Mark for a while, we were on our way. Thanks Mark, for your time and help!
We continued to look over our shoulder, keeping an eye on the skies. We stopped for lunch in Augusta at the Augusta Brewing Co which turned out to be a very cool place with really good food. I think there was a meeting of retired men also having lunch, or at least a really good time. They all arrived on their bicycles!
Looks like Ken’s got another hitchhiker!
Today, the trail offered a continuous change of scenery, from corn/bean fields to the high rise bluffs we have become accustomed; and dark, gray threatening skis to a soft blue evening sky that never produced that first drop of rain.
But we can always count on snakes on the trail!
and look forward to taking a day off from riding and exploring this historic city tomorrow.
Day 6: Relaxing in St Charles
We took a walk back in time through historic St Charles Missouri. Most of these buildings are around 200 years old.
St Charles Borromeo 1791 log Church
Inside log Church
The first State Capital of Missouri.
Day 7: Scenery Changes
After getting an early start and saying “goodbye” to St. Charles, we ride 13.3 miles and also say goodbye to the Katy Trail….
goodbye to the beautiful overhead bluffs and an almost continuous canopy. Time to hit the State Hwy system, at least for a while and a full, hot day of brutal sun.
Then we were lucky enough to have our own bike lane on a bridge accross the Mississippi River into Alton, Illinois.
We are now accompanied by the mighty Mississippi River.
After several miles of highway,
We are back on a bike trail that is paved but was “blocked” about every half mile or so, and we had to dismount and walk the bike around the blockade then immediately up a steep embankment.
The Tower was a nice stop and a welcomed break from the heat, butwe are getting close to our stop for the evening. In less than an hour, we arrive at the Comfort Inn in Edwardsville IL that overlooks our next destination
Only one problem, St Louis is in sight, but we didn’t pass any restaurants and upon checking in, we were told that there really aren’t any within walking distance. Mike, the manager of the motel offered to get dinner for us and even brought it to our room. … and, he brought a bottle of wine for the stoker! Thanks Mike, for really making us feel like royalty!
….looks like we beat the storm too!
Day 8: Rain in St Louis
Still a lttle overcast as we cross the bridge and take a ride downtown for lunch.
Dinner at the Bamboo Bistro.
Then the sun came out…. so we went back to the arch.
Just after we crossed the river back into Illinios, we were a little confused as to where to turn to get back to our hotel in Edwardsville. Right then another rider came up from behind us. Keith just happened to be from Edwardsville. He not only stayed back with us, but took us another way back. Such a beautiful ride. He then gave us a tour of part of the complex, but incredible network of trails in Edwardsville, and showed us a few great places to eat tonight. Thanks Keith, you are part of what makes a very friendly and accommodating town.
On the way back from an excellent Mexican restaurant, we coasted downhill almost all the way back to our hotel with a beautiful sunset in front of us the whole way.
Keith told us our hotel was once a Holiday Inn years ago. This hotel, in room 124 August 1977, is where Jackson Browne recorded two of the songs on his “Running on Empty” album. All of the rooms were raised in 1993 for the newer Comfort Inn but the lobby still stands today. He writes about this in his album notes.
Day 9: Perfect Day
We have left behind all our points of interest and now the weather is perfect. Blue skies, light, cool breeze and mild temperature. Only 20 miles of trails left today and we hit the road. We actually traveled on one of the most popular roads in the country, Historic Route 66. Ok, maybe for just 10 miles….but we did it!
Day 10: Land of Lincoln
We could have gotten a very early start. The motel fire alarm went off at 330am and we spent almost an hour outside waiting for the fire dept to give us the “all clear” sign. Ken tried to awaken me at 6am….I have no recollection of that. After a couple stops, we finally hit the road around 10am. We were told about a scenic route by a local cyclist, but it would have been a longer day and we decided we needed to get some miles behind us.
One last try at pictures of the ever fleeing egrets.
Now we’re moving East to the land of Lincoln. From the Lewis & Clark trail to the Lincoln Heritage trail. From Historic Route 66 to the Historic Old National Road.
A quick stop at the old State House building in Vandalia.
We took a selfy in front of the building. Then, after crossing the street, we sat down and talked with Abe himself. Kelly found out Abe has a few of the same hobbies as us!
Day 11: Still in Illinois
Now, speaking of Casey….. Casey Illinois was a small town full of big things. The worlds largest knitting needles, the worlds largest wind chimes, worlds largest crochet hook, the worlds largest golf tee and the
future home of the worlds largest rocking chair. Wow, we couldn’t just peddle that by.
Day 12: Goodbye Abe, Hello Rain
The weather forecast for today was rain, thunderstorms and lightning and even tornado watch. So we left by 8:10am with a few people by their phone in case we need to be picked up. It turns out it rained a very light rain all day. All day except for 1 hour. During that hour we were inside a restaurant eating lunch.
So, after 2 hours of riding, we found ourselves on a trail that led right to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. This is us in front of Seths dormitory.
Still more rain as we ride
The clouds are still rolling over and sending threatening thunder signals, but we are safe and sound at my parents house in Greencastle Indiana.
Day 13: Finished!
We knew we would end our trip somewhere on the far West side of Indy, maybe even Avon. But we decided to end at Noodles and Company at the Metropolis Mall. Again, Sarah picked us up in our van.
Thanks to Sarah, we were able to do this trip. Sarah dropped us off in Kansas City, then drove the van back home, she stayed at our house to “cat sit” our two cats, she then had our van ready for us on the West side of Indy where our trip ended. Thanks Sarah, we can’t say how much we love you.
Thanks to all the wonderful and helpful people along our way who dropped what they were doing and went out of their way to help us out, even if it was just directions to a more scenic route, thank you for upgrading our experience to first class.
Thanks to my parents for a place to take a warm shower, a warm bed to spend the night, home made spaghetti, apple sauce, and my favorite, apple cake. Thanks so much! We love you too.
What we learned was that one does not have to travel to another continent to see beauty or feel heavenly bliss, we don’t need to fly to another country to see wildlife or natures best kept secrets, its right here in front of us if we can just slow down and take the time to see it. Sometimes if we just attempt the very act of looking for Gods beauty, we soon find ourselves surrounded by Earths natural beauty.
Just before we turned on to one of the last trails of our trip, we thought we had seen the best of the best in past few days and on this windy day we were just “trying” to get home…
Then we made that turn
Like guests of honor at Mother Nature’s Court with leaves and grass softening the ground and the trees lining the trails arm in arm like excited onlookers swaying together in the wind, we took this last dance through the Vandalia trail like royalty. The Vandalia trail is right here in Indiana and the trail was just waiting eagerly to greet us.
I’m so pleased I was able to witness these moments of beauty and places of history. Most of all, I was able to share this with my wife at my side….
well ok, she was right behind me, because she “had my back” the whole way! I Love you Honey!