Friday, July 3, 2015

Finish up Katy!!

Zipper Orchestra!!
That is what we got to calling the morning routine of all the campers around us. Pretty much 5:15 or so....zzzzziiiippppp. They served breakfast at 6:00 to 7:30 every morning. Our little group never saw the advantage of standing in line at 5:50 waiting. We always rolled into breakfast about 6:30, no line, and it was just as good as what was served at 6:00!!! Funny, the herd mentality that the human race displays sometime!!
After cooling off, I slept real well that night and was ready to go. Today was an in-between ride. 48 miles, which was not 72 but also not one of the half day rides of 36. Off we go!!

Good views of the river today. The bluffs came down to the RR bed and then the river, pretty riding!

This little guy was out sunning himself at our first sag stop
We started the day with some overcast which had the temp a pleasant 79 to start out!!
Great riding with the trail and bridges to cross.

The trail opened up to some pretty farms. These people maintain their properties so nicely!! They love their lawn mowers because they have acres of mowed property!!

Last bridge before we roll into Marthasville, our stop for tonight!!

Yes, no helmet in this picture. It got hot and I was just tired of the bandana and helmet thing. So, I was a total rule-breaking rebel and rode without helmet most of the day. The ladies from Baton Rouge that we rode with the day before rode by and nick-named me "hat-guy"! we all had a LOL at that!!
We set up at Marthasville on the baseball fields. They had a community center that was open to feed us lunch and dinner later on. This was voted by Kyle and I to be our favorite place to camp. We just hung out on shady picnic tables visiting with all our new friends with some cold beers. Stories and laughs as everybody shared their rides so far all week and a little about each other. This is the best thing about this ride. Complete strangers coming together as a tribe for a week and the bonds you share. No other activity I do has this camaraderie and bikes have much to do with it in my opinion!!
Off to bed we went with some wind and lightning popping around and then, the skies opened up!! The Rangers and Sheriff cane out and had everybody move into the community shelter for a severe storm warning. There was no warning about rained hard, sideways for about 30 minutes and then just rained hard all night and into the morning. Kyle and I went back to our tents after the first 30 minutes and found our REI tents to stand up and both dry inside!! REI rules!! Some people were not as lucky and found their tents blown down or flooded and had to try and sleep on the floor of the center.
The next morning I was woken up by a text from the Rangers saying they had cancelled the final day for safety reasons and some flooding on the trail ahead. Bummer, we were only 34 miles short of the finish, but I understood the thinking. Kyle and I were set up with our bikes that could handle some muddy conditions but there are many young and older people with road bikes on the ride that would have had trouble.
Thus began a day of hurry up and wait logistics to get bikes and people bussed to St. Charles and then back on the buses to get back to Clinton.
This is Kyle's not waiting in line, wait pose!!
Turns out if we had ridden east to west we could have ridden because it was nice in Clinton when we got there. All in all after two years I liked the east to west ride a little better. Yes we had a slight headwind everyday last year but we did two of the days this year. I liked the long day to be the first day better and I overall I liked the camp places better last year except Marthasville this year. Boonville and Sedalia are the same. Either way it is a great fun time and ride.
I'll probably skip next year looking for something new to try.
Richard is trying the Mickleson trail this fall and even though the timing did not work for me, some other members of our Eons cycling group are talking about that trail next spring. Out there for me is a ride on the C&O towpath connecting with the Great Allegheny trail. My sister lives on the C&O and is a good starting point. We will see!!

Thank you everybody for following along!!

Happy Trails!!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ride on Katy

Last year the long riding day was the first. This year we have two short days before gearing up for the long day. We are off to Boonville on a nice ride with a bit of, for the Katy, elevation changes. The trail takes us through the cut outs on the bluffs.
Can't you just imagine the train locomotive chugging through the rock cuts?? I can.
We also get our first ride over a trestle bridge. There are many of these on this trail. Different versions of old RR style and new bridges that Missouri State Parks have erected to keep the Katy open for us.
Good riding today, not too much special. Here are some trail pictures of a nice ride in the woods!!

Even some of the local crowd came out to cool off and watch us ride by. Ok, they might have been more about cooling off than us.

After an extended downslope (can not really call it a downhill) we roll into Boonville. They have an refurbished depot. We set up camp at the old military academy grounds and then go find some lunch. We ended up at the same Greek diner that we ate at last year and it was good with cold beers. They gave us Boonville "bucks" to spend in town for dinner and we tried the food at the casino. Seemed to me a strange place for a big glitzy casino and they had a lot of rules about eating and drinking there....pretty forgettable place.

Up and rolling on Wednesday for our long ride of the trip, 70+ miles today.
Kyle has a lot of enthusiasm for the day ahead crossing the Big Missouri River to start the day out of Boonville.
 We also had the start of what would become a pretty good head wind. Now everybody told me last year, as we rode through headwinds every day that west to east always has a tail wind out of the south west. Hmmmmm...cyclist luck I guess. It was also the hottest day of the ride....well into the 90's. OK by me because I just don't get that much hot weather during the year and it really felt pretty good. Just keep drinking!!
The trail opened up again before we get to the really scenic areas around Rocheport and the tunnel.

Of course the bluff and tree tunnel before the tunnel, and the tunnel are the highlight of today's ride. It is fun to ride through this.

I was always on the lookout for turtles and snakes to catch pictures of. I saw about three turtles and this one snake slowly moving across the trail. When I showed this picture to the Ranger later he identified it as a Copperhead. Not poisonous but if bitten it would really hurt for a few days. I was a total tourist telling Kyle to get closer so I could get him in the picture!!

We pedaled out the miles, stopped for lunch and pedal out more miles against the wind in the hot sun until we came to our finish town of Mokane. Before riding up to the school where our camping spot was, we popped into the local (and only!!) joint for a few beers and met the owners and heard a bit of their story and how they came to own a saloon in Mokane, MO. Fun was had!!
The camp spot at the Mokane school was the only downside of the trip. No shade and a complete sweat-fest to set up. After the shower truck you had to search out shade spots and wait for the sun to go down to cool off. Just some down time with a book this evening, no activities or towns to go into.
We'll leave it there for the next post and the final days.
Thanks for following along!!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Katy Days!!

My second participation in the Missouri State Parks Katy Trail Ride happened last week. Thanks to my friend Richard who introduced this ride to me last year.
Great Trail, Great people, Good organization, Good food and camping locations.

Here we go!

This year my son Kyle and a friend here in Estes Park, Larry Gamble, went on the ride. We drove on out to stay at my son Matthews place in Kansas City. We did not have to be in Clinton for registration until 3 PM so I thought we would head down to Ottawa for a ride on the Prairie Spirit rails-to-trails that Richard and I rode last year. This is the depot in Ottawa that we never got to last year.
First day of riding on a trip is always full of smiles and enthusiasm!

It was a nice day for riding, not really too hot and not much of a breeze. Kyle and Larry really liked the surface and Rails-to-trails format. Larry has ridden the Mickleson trail but found the crushed limestone a nice surface to ride.
A few flowers and trail pictures!!

We went down the trail a little over 12 miles and turned around. Good warm-up for the real official ride on Monday! Loaded the car back up and headed off to Clinton for check-in.
We found a pretty good spot for that first night in the tents, attended the rider's meeting and crashed in anticipation of the first day.
Here we go....lets go ride bikes!!
We met up with our friends from last years ride, Rob and Kelley Weida. I think the best part of the Katy ride besides all the organization and trail itself, are the friends I have met and shared this experience with!!
Rob, Kelley, and Kyle
I do not have any pictures of Larry because he is a very strong rider and pedaled off and made new friends to ride with. One of our groups rules is "ride your own ride" so you can enjoy the Katy at your own pace. It really works out great for everybody!
They have refinished/painted two of the cabooses on the trail this year. Here is one at our first SAG stop.
I should mention, this years ride is west to east, a rotation every year. This high point was not until the last day last year and I did not stop for a picture so this year being the first day, we stopped for a deep breath in the rarefied air of the high point of the trail.
First day rode us into Sedalia and once again they had set up for us at the depot station, food venders and beer to drink. A relaxing stop in the shade before cruising through town to the city park and tent set-up. They also give us passes to the city public pool and we took advantage of the cool-off dunk in the pool. We found ourselves with enough time to ride back to town and enjoy a nice Guinness at a local joint before dinner. Sedalia has an old historic wooden structure ball park and that night the local team had a game. They offered 2 fo1 tickets for the ride (all of $2.50 to get in!!) so we went to check out some minor league baseball. Pretty good game for the first few innings until the relief pitchers came in and there was a noticeable drop in talent and it started dragging a bit so we headed back to the tents. Found out then that our friend, Bob who we camp with was not feeling well and had left on an ambulance. Good news is, he had two stents placed and was feeling good enough to meet us after the ride to collect his bike and camping gear. Good ending to that story!! Whew!!

A few more images of our cruising through and about Sedalia!!

We will end with that and pick it up again tomorrow!

Thanks for following along!!