Monday, June 30, 2014

Chugging along, Katy day Four

Encore, Encore!!!
We got round two of the Pancake Man this morning and Pancakes it was!!! All the flipping and tossing and fun with pancakes that you can stand.
Off we go with today's ride a bit shorter than we have become used to. About 37 miles to Sedalia.
The ride today was a little different than what we have been doing the first three days. A little more variation of terrain. A bit more in change from just flat to riding some incline and declines.
Some of our riding was under the tree canopy like usual.
But we also had elevation changes. We got away from the river and rode through cuts in the rocks. The uphills were very gradual over a few miles and the following downhills the same. On the Katy due to the surface it seems you have to keep spinning the pedals but as you look at your speedometer that is how you can tell you are going up or down. Same pedaling and if you are going 8 to 9 miles an hour....uphill.....13 to 14 miles an hour....down hill. This was also the first day that I felt the headwind we had all week came into play. Anyway the chage of terrain was welcome....something different to ride as we worked our way over bluffs and rock cuts.
Saw my second snake of the trip. It zipped out of the grass on my right, I braked pretty hard to avoid running over it and then, slither, and it was gone over the other side. Another one of those big glossy black ones. Count for the trip....2-snakes, 5-turtles.
There was also some coal mining history to read about here. Both strip and shaft coal mining went on in this area and powered Missouri in the late 1800's for the industrialization of this part of the country. Those dudes worked hard at their jobs.
When we popped out into the open areas of the trail you had to put your head down and just bust it a bit into the wind
And just like that we rolled into Sedalia by lunchtime. Sedalia has a refurbished train depot and for us they had food vendors set up to choose from. We all goofed about a bit and ate and drank a couple of beers. toured through the depot and I bought a hat as my souvenir of this trip. A bit of a ride through town to get to the city park and our camp.
So many of these small towns I have been to have these great architecturally impressive churches. Usually more than one big, old church building in a town.
This was the first camp site that I felt we were a bit squished together into tent city. I got to giggling a bit because the fellow that set up right behind Rob and Kelley's tent was sawing up some pretty good logs for his afternoon nap and Kelley was a little concerned for the nighttime. I never heard him that night....must have finished his logging duty during the afternoon. Of course I was sleeping pretty good by this time on the trip. You know how it is sleeping on a pad, on the ground, in a tent. The first night not much success sleeping but by the third night and beyond.......out and snoozing as soon as the sun goes down!!!
They gave us access to the big public pool that was right next to our site and that was a great treat. It brought back so many memories of my time as a kid, hangin' for the summer at the pool. Big pool with lots of kids, pool noise, lifeguards blowing whistles. Plus it was so refreshing to get in the water and flop around for a bit and then just get out and relax in your pool chaise lounge and let the sun dry you off. No way that ever happens in cold Estes Park!!!
We had another super dinner in the community center there but I was a little sad knowing it was our last night being out together on our ride.
Up and at em' for our last day tomorrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

All coming together, Katy day 3

It was a beautiful thing, the dinner we were served in camp at Jefferson City. The park had a large pavillion were the whole group could fit and eat comfortably. The catered dinner was real good. In fact as far as the whole food thing on this trip was very good. If you were hungry it was your own fault because plenty of good food was offered.
We started the next morning with an early rise and a bike ride back through town and across the river for our breakfast. This morning was the first of two mornings with a session with the pancake man. He is a breakfast entertainer along with serving up a pretty good french toast or pancake breakfast.

Heading back across the Missouri I caught the capitol in the early sunrise.
Today's ride takes us to Boonville, about 50 some miles down the trail. I found today to be the most enjoyable ride for me. I felt great physically after a tough day the day before and this part of the trail was advertized as the most did not let me down.
Early on, a pretty place and another guy who loves his mower!!
I stopped to take a shot of this big tree just to show that nature still is pretty powerful here in the middle of Missouri. Wind got after this big tree and required park maintenance to chainsaw it up to keep the trail clear.
The majority of today's ride was in the tree canopy, right next to the river, or alongside the bluffs. It was so nice and kept us out of the headwind and the hot sun.
Next to the river
Did I mention that it is a big damn river!!!

Or, next to the bluffs!
There is some Lewis and Clark history here as they traveled and camped in this same area that today we ride our bikes.

Just some photos now of the fantastic area that we get to ride through this morning.

Here we roll up to the only tunnel on the Katy trail near Rocheport.
We goofed around and did the total tourist thing taking a bunch of pictures. Well built tunnel still providing passage through a good sized bluff in the path of the trail......or RR.
The tunnel is pretty short and it is so pretty on the other side as you pop out in the tree tunnel on the bluffs that line the other side.

Today's flower picture, I did not see any turtles today.

After Rocheport we decided to just keep pushing on to our finish town of Boonville to catch some lunch. We pulled into town a hungry and thirsty crew. It was comical as we picked a place right after hitting town. Four sweaty cyclists who downed the first big ice water and cold bottle of beer before the waitress even had a chance to get back to us for an order.
I thought Boonville was the nicest camp spot of the trip for us!! We got a great spot backed up against some bushes.
Good evening meal in town, plus after a walk through town, ice cream!!
What a day!! Good riding with friends, beautiful scenery, a bit of history, and a nice evening in a good camp.
We'll get after it again tomorrow, but it will be hard to top today.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Capital idea. Katy day 2

Early rising was the order of the morning on this slacking or goofing off on this vacation.
Breakfast this morning was a short ride back into Hermann and the fire house which was the venue for a great breakfast buffet set up for us.

Before we get rolling today I missed some pictures from the first day so I am going to throw them in here now.......because I can!
Barns...I like old barns and you will get some pictures of them
The vines almost have covered the old silos
This ride is so pretty with the limestone bluffs on one side of the trail
And the river on the other side
Oh yeah....Did I tell you that it is a big damn river!!!!

This really struck big tree left out there in the middle of the farm field. Reminded me a bit of the tree in the movie Forest Gump.
I have heard somewhere that the farmers tell us that your corn should be knee high by the fourth. If so, then this corn is over achieving!!
Enough of the past, lets move on to today's ride at hand. We will cover about 50 miles and roll into the Capital city of Missouri, Jefferson City. We started out like gang busters pushing 13-14 MPH. our little train of four of us would pick up a couple of riders for a bit and then they would fall off or roll ahead. It was a fun push for awhile. After just two hours we were already finished with half of our ride.
It was also the toughest day of riding for me. Not sure if the days of consecutive rides caught up with me or a sore achilles tendon that I twanged the first day back on Flint hills trail day was bugging me. I rode past another turtle that was different from the little box kind I had seen. It was a green flat looking one. Looked like a dinner plate. I did not stop but just kept pedaling. Then it hit me that I had stopped having fun and taking pictures and noticing the beautiful ride. I told Rob and Kelley that they should ride their ride because I was going to slow my pace down and ride mine.

Barn in the woods.

I came up on the famous rock that marks all the different floods that have occurred through the time that the RR has been through. Interesting the depth of the water marked.
A few different flowers in bloom than I saw in Kansas
I gotta tell you, these people here in Kansas and Missouri love their lawn mowers. So many places where they have mowed out multiple acres. I am glad I don't have to do the amount of mowing going on here.....although it makes a place look very nice!!
I enjoyed the variety of the trail today. The change from open views of the country side to plunge back into the tree canopy.
Another barn
The day had gotten on and I was feeling the ride as I rolled into the sag stop at North Jefferson City. A quick stop for me and on I went down the trail looking for the turn off that takes you into Jeff City. Problem was it was right there at the sag stop and I missed it. I went about a mile and a half out of the way as it occurred to me that something was off. Back I go to find the turn off. You pedal up a structure going back and forth to get you up on a bicycle lane on the bridge going over the river. This gets you a wonderful view of the Capital building.
A bit of a ride though city streets to get me to the city park where we camp. Whew....I was cooked. Just sat on a bench and enjoyed a cold soda before getting on with setting up. Nice spot that the group picked out since I was the trailer of the group.
A few weeks ago as an after thought I got this camp chair at REI. It is now in the early lead for MVP of the trip. Surprisingly sturdy and comfy!!! 5 stars
All in all a pretty good day of riding and sights to be seen. Had to push a bit today but tomorrow is another day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Katy logistics and the first day of riding

After wrapping up the Prairie Spirit portion of our program it was time to make the drive over to Clinton. I had a beautiful room there at the Hampton Inn and we ate some pretty good Mexican food right there in Clinton, Missouri!!!
The next morning we got over to the community center to give up our bikes to be loaded up into the moving trucks and catch the bus that will take us to the east end of the Katy in St. Charles....all in a pretty good rain.

I sent this picture to Coach's Nachtrieb, Skapin and Ginter telling them how great it would be to have one of these baby's for those road games out to Sterling and Brush!!!
Am I getting old???? Because cruising across Missouri in this, reading, napping, chit chatting, was a pleasurable way to travel.
Setting up first camp right on the banks of the Missouri River. Pretty nice place. And......this mountain boy has forgotten what a "real" river looks like. As big across as Horsetooth reservoir is!
Next to the river
Richard and I found a joint......a joint with good beer and good food!!
Packed up and headed down the trail early the next morning. First day was our longest mile day of the trip....aprox 64 miles to Hermann. I met friends of Richard that he met on the ride last year, Rob and Kelley from Peculiar, Missouri. Except they were not peculiar at all but just the nicest people and we became quick and fast friends. We had much in common having raised boys and getting them through school and becoming adults.....much to talk about and compare notes, plus, the whole bike thing too!!
The tree canopy was amazing to ride under. kept it very cool and was so pretty. The kind of riding I have never done.
Here is our little group rolling along.....Richard, Rob and Kelley. I saw my first snake this morning. A big black one that everybody said was common and no harm at all. Could not get a picture of it slithering along the side of the trail be cause it got into the deeper grass by the time I fumbled my camera out. I could not talk Kelley into reaching in and grabbing it back out.

Alright, you are going to probably get tired of these pictures.....but.....That's a big damn river!!!
The trail was firm and great for rolling along, I probably brought the wrong bike in Ogre because the wide tires were not needed at all. I would have been fine on the Trucker with its 38 tires. Both ride about the same so it really did not matter.
Rolled into our campsite at the Hermann city park and got set up. 64 miles and I felt pretty good, especially after my intimate date with the Shower truck. For dinner we received $10 in "Hermann Bucks" so we went into town and found some good German food and a local brew at a joint. We tipped a couple to celebrate a real good first day!!!  Oh, and ice cream too!!
A great start to the trip with fun friends to share the riding and dining and camping experience with!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Prairie Spirit Days

Have I got spirit???
Day two begins with a planned trip of the Prairie Spirit rail trail heading south out of Ottawa. The plan is to meet my cycling buddy Richard on the trail after he starts out in Iola, our destination for tonight.

It is a nicer day than yesterday started without the rain.
First bridge
A nice morning for setting my own pace and just poking along. Felt really great to just be on vacation, no time issues, just a ride in the countryside. I had the trail almost to myself except for a couple of older retired gentlemen that I passed going the other way. They kind of gave me funny looks when we said good morning. I noticed that they just had their floppy sun hats on and maybe they thought I was weird looking with my helmet on. Then.....I realized I was weird looking with my helmet on. C'mon.....I am a firm believer in helmet usage but I am riding down a flat, groomed dirt trail going about 8 to 9 miles an hour with nobody else on the trail. Pretty low comes the helmet and on goes a hat and a cooler head and comfort was really enjoyed by....ME!!
Rolled up into the first little town and stopped to pay my trail fee for two days, $3.50 per day. I know some that object to a trail fee, but really, $3.50 for a day of fun??? Have you bought a ski lift ticket or played 18 holes of golf lately???

This trail has a bit more of a finished feel to it than yesterday's ride. Firmer surface and the little towns along the way spaced out about every ten miles or so. A bit more open views of the surrounding farmland. I just love the golden contrast of the wheat fields after the tree canopy's and the green corn fields.
I was a little surprised about the very few flowers that were out in bloom. I am sure that spring has already happened in this part of the world and the flowers are over. I'll just try and get some snaps of anything blooming, not really knowing what anything is.
And these that just might be a weed!!
Rolled into Richard before the town of Garnett and after a quick howdy, we were both hungry to get some lunch. We goofed about a bit in Garnett with lunch and riding through the city park before heading on south.
Garnett is safe from invasion!!
Just some sights as we rolled along south.
A pretty fishing hole.
I like the old barns that I ride by. Everybody has a different vision of what their barn looks like and sized.
We took a break in Colony and had a icy cold soda on the porch of the store/diner there. They told us that they served breakfast so we made plans to be back in the morning. It was a hot ride the last ten miles into Iola but I sure enjoyed a soak in the motel pool and we had beers and a nice dinner right there next to the motel.
Early start the next morning for our ride back to breakfast in Colony. First time in a while that I have watched the sunrise from a bike seat. Even Richard was corrupted by my no helmet craziness!!
Checking out the view of the drop off over the bridge rail.
Breakfast was grand in Colony. Highly recommended!! Get the biscuit that Richard got instead of toast that I got. I could not distract him enough to steal a bite of that homemade beauty.
Riding up out of Colony
Oh yeah!!! Turtle number two!! Still no snakes.
It was about 48 miles between Ottawa and Iola. It took me about 6 hours and 10 minutes of riding time to get down there but we had a great tailwind on Saturday going back so only 5 hours and 3 minutes. Now a little road trip time to get over to Clinton, Missouri and the start of the Katy adventure.
More to come!!