Friday, May 31, 2013

Katy Trail: day 7

Friday 31 May
Columbia to Jefferson City - 32 miles NOT by bike. It looked like we might have a 4-5 hour window to ride to Jefferson City today before the next line of severe thunderstorms arrived. However there were also reports of widespread flooding and the Missouri River was nearing flood stage. So the trail that was so bad coming into Columbia would be worse and today's section of the Katy Trail is along the edge of the Missouri River. We decided to play it safe and rent a vehicle that could handle all our gear. 

Billie called every possible rental company but nothing was available. Finally she put on her jacket and headed out the door and said, "I'm going fishing." She was back in about 15 minutes with a big smile, "Pack your gear. I got us a ride." Aldo is the concierge at the Tiger Hotel. He'd provided us with amazing service during our stay. He did a load of laundry for us, ran to a local restaurant to get us a sample menu, brought us extra treats, and much more. When Billie told him of our dilemma, he said, "My cousin has a truck, I'll call him." We were so grateful.

Because this solution was probably out of the scope of Aldo's job, we were discreet. While cousin Edgar waited down the street at the corner, Aldo helped JD load everything into the truck and tie everything down. Then JD drove the truck to where Edgar was waiting to do the real driving. 

We were soon in Jefferson City.  Trail angels Aldo and Edgar, thank you!

State capital:

Lunch at Downtown Diner where it was

Free Pie Friday.

The governor's mansion looks a lot like Rivercene B&B. One of the Kinney daughters had a good friend who spent a lot of time at Rivercene.  Later that friend married a man who would become governor at the time when the mansion was designed and built. The similarities were deliberate.

The mansion overlooks the Missouri River. 

A great place for ice cream, all made on site.

At about 3 pm the severe thunderstorms began, the street in front of the hotel flooded. Even the cars in the parking lot were relocated to higher ground. Again, I'm so glad camping was not on the agenda today. 

Katy Trail: day 6

Thursday 31 May
Rest day - ahhhh. Today's goal was not to get on our bikes at all. Legs and butts were grateful. Our hotel is right downtown making a walking tour easy.

Revitalization of downtown, known here as The District, includes lots of public art.

There are 7 colleges in Columbia, including the University of Missouri, Columbia College, and Stephens College.

Each year the city chooses an artist to paint one of the traffic control boxes. On the other side, you see the back of the cat.

When you look "through" the windows, you can see the representations of the buildings that exist.

Lots of walking meant an afternoon treat at the Velvet Cupcake was in order.

Tiramisu cupcake and a peanut butter and jelly cupcake. Delish.

In the late afternoon, the rain began. Severe thunderstorms and local flooding are expected over the next two days. We will keep a weather eye and make a careful decision before leaving tomorrow.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Katy Trail: day 5

Wednesday 29 May
Boonville to Columbia - 32 miles. The first part of today's ride was more open and less a tunnel through trees.

Pearson's clay-tile grain elevator.

The 1893 MK&T train tunnel.

After passing through Rocheport, the trail followed the Missouri River on one side,

The Manitou Bluffs on the other side.

Cut into the bluffs, a place where explosives used to be stored.

Site of camping for Lewis & Clark in 1804.

At milepost 169.9, we took the spur trail to Columbia.

Because of the recent heavy rain, the trail was very rough in places.

So rough that Billie's saddlebag jumped off her bike.

And the there was mud so thick and gloppy. I kept saying to myself, "keep pedaling" hoping I wouldn't get stuck. We may not leave Columbia on this path if the forecast for heavy rain happens.

We're staying at the Tiger Hotel (no camping once again :). The staff brought us a bucket of water and fluffy white towels to clean our bikes before taking them to storage in the basement.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Katy Trail:day 4

Tuesday 28 May
Sedalia to Boonville- 39 miles. It's overcast again, but that's a good thing, much cooler. As soon as the sun comes out, the temps climb rapidly into very humid 80s.  Sedalia's restored depot.

A very muddy turtle laying eggs - it sure looked like an uncomfortable process.

One of the last remaining signal lights on the trail.

The terrain is more rolling hills now, but the climbing isn't bad since the grade is only 2-3%.

Lunch in Pilot Grove at Becky's Burgers and Cones.

Rivercene B&B. Once again, no camping for me which was a good thing since there was a tornado watch until 10pm. Our room was on the third floor. We were briefed on the evacuation plan should it be needed. Rivercene was built between 1864-1867 for $25,000 by the Kinney family who owned riverboats on the Missouri River.

Don, one of the owners gave us a tour.

Katy Trail: day 3

Monday, 27 May
Today we began riding - 41 miles - Clinton to Sedalia. The jacket came off right away. The hotel was cold, but outside at 7am, it was 70 degrees and humid. Thunderstorms were predicted.

The Clinton trailhead. The Katy Trail is the longest rails-to-trails path in the USA. It used to be the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad.

The trail is not paved but rather hard-packed crushed limestone. Most of it is through a thick corridor of trees.

A couple of guys rode up beside me, the second one asked where I was from, etc. They were brothers from Hershey PA. One was a talker, the other was a Hershey bar. Of course I didn't understand what he meant. After the talker's brother retired, he wanted an easy job. He finally found the perfect job dressing up as a Hershey bar and traveling around representing the company at events. $15/hour and a truck. He frequently travels with 2 other guys: a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and a Hershey's Kiss.

It began to sprinkle as I got to Green Ridge. Other bicyclists arrived as the rain intensified. For a while, we were able to sit on the bench on the leeward side of a narrowly covered information "depot." Then it started to POUR and it was drier to stand on the bench. The 7 of us stood there for 2 hours until the storm moved on. We looked like chickens on a roost.

Before starting to ride the final 12 miles, we went for coffee at a convenience store (Dick, there are no Starbuck's out here) where Billie showed me how to make a pretty good cup of coffee: half coffee + half mocha from the cappuccino machine. What a discovery!

Sedalia humor. Tall post to receive airmail.

The second one is a high chair and a box of baby rattlers.

I should have camped tonight but chickened out

and got a tiny room at Hotel Bothwell.

This is not my bike, but does show what all our bikes looked like before cleaning and taking them into the hotel. There were at least 7 cyclists at the hotel tonight and we made quite a mess out on the sidewalk. Better there than in our rooms, I guess.

Dinner at Fitter's, the only place open in town on Memorial Day. At left, Harry and his friend Scott who will ride back to Clinton tomorrow and then drive back to Topeka.