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Katy Trail 2001

  Maybe this report should be labeled “the best laid plans”.
About the only thing that went as planned on this ride was
the Saturday morning meeting at Beuhler Park at 8 am. We
already knew that most of the potential riders would not be
able to come with us, but it was really too late to change
the plans. The day before the ride was very wet and cold
and the last 2 riders to pull out called the evening before
the ride and didn’t want to ride or camp in near freezing
weather.

There were 3 hardy riders that showed up to start the two
day trek. Bill, Bud and I were at the park on time and
immediately decided to change our plans due to the change in
participation. We decided to take only two vehicles. We
moved my new trailer to Bud’s Durango and we discovered the
trailer (my BRAND NEW trailer that Dick and I had spent the
previous Saturday and part of Sunday preparing as a bike
trailer).

 


To make a long story short (and not vent my
frustration), it took over an hour to find a bad socket and
a bulb with a broken base. Starting late also made us
shorten the long ride or we were going to be riding in the
dark. We all decided to ride the shorter version of the
ride (a little over 27 miles) for Saturday.We had an uneventful
trip to New Franklin where we parked Bill’s truck.


Then we drove to Clifton City. We got some good comments on the trailer and
design from riders that were resting there (I appreciated
that after the work Dick and I did). We parked, unloaded
the trailer and started the ride. Based on my extensive
knowledge of the Katy (since I have ridden it twice), I had
forgotten that Clifton City is almost the base of the
longest hill on the Katy. I kept telling the others from
the beginning that the hill was long but that gave us more
of a downhill for a “long ways” on our way into the river
crossing at Boonville. Just a few miles from the beginning,
Bud and I slowed down to look back to see where Bill was.
No Bill. So, we stopped to wait and let Bill get caught up.
No Bill. I started to get concerned and almost rode back,
but thought I would give him another 5 minutes. About 2 or
3 minutes later, Bill came riding up with very DIRTY hands.
He had shifted gears while riding along a steeper section of
the trail and thrown his chain. That is an easy problem to
remedy, but his chain got stuck between the chain rings and
the frame.

 

 

We started again and traveled through Pilot Grove and
5 miles further and Bill was asking me when
the hill STOPS. I assured him it was soon. Even though
this slope is pretty gentle, the trail was a little soft
from the rain the day before and the trail just didn’t give
our legs much rest. We were seeing quite a bit of fall
colors for this time of year and we were certainly enjoying
the scenery and we took time to “smell the roses”.

We finally found the downhill to Boonville. It started a
couple of miles out of Boonville and didn’t last long at
all. But it was pretty easy riding 15 to 17 mph for that
couple of miles.

 

 


We enjoyed the Boonville train station
and seeing the old railroad lift bridgeover the Missouri.
We drove through Boonville and over the
car bridge and then were back on the road to our evening
campsite at New Franklin

 

We reached New Franklin and Bud and I signed us in while Bill
went to get the truck at the Katy parking area there.

We bought some firewood and got the combination to the modern
showers and restrooms. We measured out our firewood and
stacked it (with some help by another bike group that needed
the rack to measure out some for their site (very friendly
younger riders that were obviously planning a bon fire). We
waited for Bill again. No Bill. Bud went back to get his
bike and I saw him “pushing” it to the campsite. Bill
showed up and said he had a flat tire when he got to the
truck. We delivered the firewood to our site and found
someone was already “squatting” on our site. We got this
straightened out and we got another site. By this time Bud
had his bike upside down and was working on it. That is
when we found out that Bud was pushing his bike around
because he had TWO flat tires

Then I found out that Bill’s flat tire wasn’t on his pickup, but on his
bike. When Bill pulled his bike out of the truck, we also
discovered that BOTH of Bill’s tires were flat. After
initial discovery of the thorns in the tires, we decided to
put off repairs until Bill and Bud retrieved the Durango
from Clifton City and I cooked supper. We set up camp (Bud
brought a tent we could have all slept in) and then they
left.

I found that it is VERY easy to satisfy starving people with
the quality of food. I cooked spaghetti with canned sauce
to which I added 4 diced bratwursts. By the time Bill and
Bud got back I was starting to worry about them. We didn’t
realize it was going to take over 2 hours to backtrack along
25 miles of the Katy, get gas and return. So, the spaghetti
wasn’t very hot when they got back (since I planned 1 ½
hours max. After supper we got back to the tires. The
first tire that was looked at closely was Bud’s back (I
think) and it not only had one thorn, but we eventually
found 14. To make a long story short, we found almost 50
thorns distributed in the 4 flats

 

 

Now, for the good news, none of them were in either of my tires! I must
have been riding in the opposite lane when they rode through
the thorns. Bottom line here, we didn’t have near enough
patches to patch these tubes (even if we wanted to). Hooray
for the greatest invention ever made for overnight bike
rides – the cell phone! I called Janet and Dick several
times until I got an answer. Lucky for us, they were
planning to meet us in Jefferson City on Sunday for the
second day of the ride. Since Dick operates the Route 66
Bike Shop, I asked him to bring us “a case” of tubes that
would fit our bikes. HE AGREED!

Now we could sleep peacefully since we knew we would be
riding tomorrow. Well, that is what we thought anyway. The
only problem with this plan was the chilly weather. There
wasn’t any frost, but I remember waking up with only my nose
sticking out of the sleeping bag and my nose was cold. I am
also old enough that I have to “get up in the night” and I
had to get up about 4:30. Well, I couldn’t get back to
sleep (although I did sleep well until then), so I got up
and built a big fire with the rest of the wood we had. I
got the lantern lit and I enjoyed the cool morning air and
the stars until Bud got up about 5 followed fairly quickly
by Bill. We had scrambled eggs with diced ham for breakfast
cooked over the camp stove. Actually, we had LOTS of
scrambled eggs and ham since I had to cook up the full dozen
eggs and package of ham or just throw it away. I did see
the others throwing away some of my gourmet cooking since
they didn’t seem to be able to hold it all.

We broke camp and were on the road by about 7 with plans to
meet Janet and Dick in Jeff City at 8 after leaving Bill at
McBane. After some discussion and a cell phone call or two,
we decided to change the last part of the plan that would
have looked anything like the original and all decided to
meet at the MKT main lot in Columbia. That gave us some
more time since Dick and Janet had to travel farther and we
were going a shorter distance. So, we stopped at Micky D’s
for coffee. But, since I didn’t feed everyone well enough,
we decided a cinnamon roll (I think Bill had something else)
would taste good too.

We met Dick and Janet , and got to work on the tires.
We had fixed Bud’s bike with thetubes we normally
keep during the previous evening and
needed the new ones for Bill. Dick (the professional)
managed to fix the tires in about an order of magnitude
faster than we did the night before.

Now we are off for the pretty part of the ride. Saturday
had been pretty, but our Sunday ride showed us how God meant
an early fall day to look. It warmed up quickly


to just a slightly cool day and many of the colors were already changing.
We were looking duringthe entire ride for a place to get a good picture
of Janet with a background of fall colors to send to John. After we
entered the Katy from the MKT, we rode along the beautiful
bluff of the Missouri River.

We found a couple of places to try to get a good picture for
John, but all the good colors were high on the bluff. After
several efforts, we decided we had the best we were going to
get

 


Janet, Bud, and Dick went to the lead for the last 5 miles
or so while Bill and I spent more time “smelling the
flowers”. But for some reason the Buzzards (our long ride
defacto mascot) (remember, this is a long
ride for us old men).

 


We rode into Rocheport and remet the others. We would have
had to wait too long at the restaurant we normally like to
stop at (at the old church) and some of us settled for
buffalo burgers next to the bike shop. Janet and Dick
decided to save us some time and turned back for Columbia at
this point with the theory being that the other 3 of us
could fit our bikes in the back of Bill’s full size truck
and not have to make the additional loop back to get the
trailer at Columbia.

We left the others and headed west. It’s always great to
ride through the tunnel with someone that hasn’t seen it
before. This was Bud’s first time through and he had the
same impression that rest of us have. He thought it was
great and we stopped to look to see the construction for a
few minutes and take the mandatory picture

From here on, we were plugging away to
finish the ride. We left the bluffs and rode along the
bottom lands. There were still a few old signals or
abandoned grain silos from years past to see and some fall
colors a ways off. We finished the ride


in time to give me plenty of time to return home
for an evening function my wife and I had tickets to.

When we got into the MKT parking lot at Columbia to pick up
the Durango and trailer, we saw Dick and Janet just
finishing their ride. They had to ride about 6 miles
farther than we did and it just worked out that we ended up
here together. Then it stuck us: There was lots of fall
color in the trees surrounding the parking lot.


This is where we finally got a good picture of
Janet with the good yellow fall colors.

Now there was only one more mandatory final act to make this
ride complete. We had to stop at Central Dairy in Jeff City
and have some ice cream. We would have had a toast for our
completed ride (even if the original plans had gone up in
smoke), but Janet and Dick didn’t stop (another missed photo
op to get Janet eating ice cream). We then headed for home
and met at my house. While we were dividing up the gear, we
noticed another flat tire among the front tires and they
started laughing at MY flat. Boy am I glad they were wrong
and it actually turned out to be Bud’s front tire!

 

 


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