In May 2011, two friends and I decided to ride the Katy Trail, a 240-mile former railroad line now converted into a bike path across Missouri. The following account which documents our trip may or may not be true. Facts were either stretched a bit or downplayed, depending on what made for a better story. Other than that, this story is mostly accurate. For certain, all of the people described in this account are ones that we actually met.(Read Day 1 of the trip)
Day Four: Thursday, May 12, 2011
Well, it's day four of our trip and we're up early again early thanks to Bill who rings the room phone at 7 a.m.
“Wakie, wakie! Eggs and bakie,” he says. Sometimes I wonder why I'm friends with him. Breakfast is the typical hotel fare with powdered scrambled eggs and sausage patties that have a gray/green tint to them. Thunderstorms are in the forecast for today and tomorrow, and so we are eager to get going. I stand around waiting for a bike valet to roll the bikes out like they did yesterday morning in Boonville, but apparently that's not a service offered by the Jeff City Baymont. Plus the split in my rear tire with its bulging s-curve is still on my mind and I'm hoping it'll hold.
This is set to be the longest day in terms of mileage and also turned out to be the day where we encountered the fewest people on the trail. We passed one hiker who was just sitting in the shade taking a nap. Then later in the morning we met an old man walking the trail who yelled something at us after we passed him, something about "4 miles up the trail". We pretended to hear him and moved on.
About 11:30 we came to Portland, Missouri and stopped for lunch at the Riverfront Bar and Grill, a wooden building with peeling white paint slouched alongside the trail. Portland, Mo., is just like Portland, Oregon with roads that are extremely bike friendly. That's cause with maybe a car every hour or so, there is little concern for your safety when riding in traffic. Inside the gal working the bar was griping about how busy it was at lunch. You'd think that would be a good thing, but I guess she liked it slow. She had a lot of anti "right-to-work" signs in her bar. While we were eating, we listened to the crowd of farmers there also having lunch who were discussing a fellow in the area who purportedly only took 2 showers a year. He was kind of a backwoods type and most had never really seen him, but in the area just about everyone apparently considered him to be a good guy, even if they wouldn't want to sit next to him in a closed car.
Rolling on that afternoon, we stopped later in McKittrick for a snack and water. The one encounter there came when a beer truck driver stopped to make a delivery came over and asked Bill if his bike was a 29er and then left, no other questions. Maybe on odd question to be asking a guy on a touring bike as that's more of a mountain biking thing, but we appreciated his enthusiasm none-the-less.
Our stop for the night was at Peers, Mo., and we had made reservations for the room in town above the general store. A very nice lady ran the place, Barb, but it made the Windsor Motel, our first night's stay look like the Taj Mahal. There were old time beds where you could see the springs under your mattress and old grandma quilts on the beds. No air-conditioning was nice, since it meant you had to have the windows open, allowing you to hear the chickens and roosters nice and loud squawking and scratching and clucking in the back yard. Bill had a good conversation with her about raising chickens for eggs at his house, right in the middle of the city.
Being right in the river bottoms next to the muddy Missouri, high waters have rolled into Peers on a number of occasions over the years, and the store featured photos of the all the major floods that hit the building since the 1940's. Maybe they didn't want to fix the place up too much in case more water came through, cause when Barb showed us the single bathroom downstairs we literally feared falling through the soft floor, where you could feel the boards rotten and squishy underneath your feet.
Barb's got a great arrangement with her guests: you get free rein over the general store all night after it closes at six p.m. Just help yourself to whatever you'd like, and then write down what you consume so you can settle in the morning. Dinner for us on Thursday was frozen pizza, which ended up being better than it might sound. Of course, after a long day of riding for hungry cyclists just about anything will taste great.
In addition to the chickens, Barb has a bunch of cats and she lets them roam in the store as they please. They like to climb in and out of open windows, but Bill put the screens back in place to keep the cats out of the eating area while we were dining on our frozen pizza.
It can be quiet in the county, so the big entertainment Thursday night was a long telephone conversation Bill had with his mother about how set up the VCR to tape a show. It rained that night and the front moving through with lots of thunder and lightning also carried a big temperature change, which helped since there was no a/c. A bunch of rain came in the window and soaked the carpet but I don't think it hurt anything. In fact, it may have been an improvement.
Total mileage so far: 258.4
More Days of the Trip