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Ride Report: A Fall Tour of the Katy

By Kim
Independence, MO

From Clinton to St. Charles, September, 2006


My friend Brian and I finally took our long anticipated Katy Bike trip September 27 – October 1, starting in Clinton and ending in St. Charles. This trip was planned carefully with the help of the bikekatytrail.com website to conserve money and still be able to enjoy our trip.

Kim rode her Specialized Crossroads bike with back rack pack.
Brian rode his Giant XTC NRS3 full suspension mountain bike pulling his new Burley Nomad cargo trailer hauling about 40-50 pounds of our gear.

Day 1 – 35 miles, Clinton to Sedalia

Day 1 - Leaving Clinton
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Day 1 - Leaving Clinton

Day 1 - Leaving Clinton
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Day 1 - The Prairie
We left Independence, Missouri early Wednesday morning (9/27) in Brian’s mom’s Tahoe to be dropped off at the Clinton Trailhead. We were dropped off and on the trail at 9:15 am, with 35 miles to go to Sedalia. Had to stop a couple of times for Brian to adjust his rear brake, as the trailer & load was causing the rotor to rub the brake pad. Started noticing some long slight grades. Hit Calhoun about 10:15 and stopped at the trailhead – this one is up a steep hill. The trailer was pulling smoothly and Brian said he barely noticed it, except on the upgrades. We got the brake adjusted one more time here, and this time it was right. Filled water bottles & had granola bars for breakfast before pushing on. Stopped again at Windsor for a water break. Saw a box turtle, a tiny snake and some buzzards, then later an otter on the trail in front of us. Hit Windsor about 11:45 and doing fine, but the butt pain was there already. Went through Bryson and the “high point” of the Katy at 955 feet above sea level. Met a couple of other groups at Clinton who are also doing the entire trip. Hit Green Ridge, but not feeling well, so had a couple of Slim Jims and some trail mix. It started sprinkling as we pulled into Sedalia. We saw our night’s destination at the bridge over 65 (Best Western) and walked the bikes down to the road and biked the half mile up 65 to Best Western, getting in about 3:30. Relaxed & walked across to the Chinese Buffet for supper. We found that this Best Western in Sedalia to be comfortable. We had a first floor room that we accessed from outside, which made it easy to take the bikes in. They also had an indoor pool and spa, which we regrettably didn’t have time to use.


Day 2 – 50.7 miles, Sedalia to Rocheport

Rode up 65 to the trail about 7 am, and it was lightly sprinkling and pretty chilly. Stopped at the Sedalia Katy Depot for pictures, but too early for the gift shop. We climbed some long grades to Clifton City, getting there about 8:45, taking a break and were riding again by 9. I don’t envy Brian pulling the trailer on these grades, which aren’t steep, but just climb slow and steady. We got into Pilot Grove about 10:45, stopped on the trail to chat with a couple of guys from Indiana who were heading West from St. Charles, turning around at Clinton and going back east. We ate a little deli in Pilot Grove, very nice. Back on the trail at 11:30. Saw a green snake on the trail. Stopped for a drink & played with a little dog, who then followed us for a little while. Crossed I-70 and cruised down a nice grade into Boonville, getting there about 1 pm. We were feeling pretty good about our progress so far, and are now on previously biked territory, so something had to happen. We pushed on and encountered some backhoes & stuff blocking the trail near the casino, so had to turn around and go through the Casino parking lot. The workmen said this was a “once in 50 years” type of thing, but later another group of riders said they told them “once in 100 years”, so not sure I’m buying it. Crossed the Missouri and stopped at Snoddy’s to get some shoe laces, as Brian’s were getting torn up, and when we were leaving we noticed the trailer tire was flat. It had 3 thorns in it. Had to take the tube into Snoddy’s and use a sink to find the holes, patched them and were back on the trail about 2:45. Finally got into Rocheport about 4 pm, dropped our stuff at the Katy Trail & B&B & walked to Pebble Publishing, only to find it closed with no posted hours. Walked down to the Trailside café and had cheeseburgers and fries and one of their awesome sundaes. Brian bought some slime for the trailer bike tires and walked over to the B&B and got the tires. The bike shop guy helped him put slime in the tires and put air in them. Went back to the Katy B&B, called home, and then went out and soaked away our aches in the hot tub. Wonderful! Day 2 - Along the Railroad Line
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Day 2 - Along the Railroad Line

Day 2 - Crossing the I-70 Bridge
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Day 2 - Crossing the I-70 Bridge


Day 3 – 47.1 miles, Rocheport to Tebbetts

Day 3 - A Remant of the Past
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Day 3 - A Remant of the Past

Day 3 - Missouri Colors
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Day 3 - Missouri Colors
Woke up about 5:30 and started packing and noticed that the trailer tire was flat again. After some discussion, we decided to stay for breakfast and wait for the bike shop to open. Had breakfast about 8 with the other residents of the B&B, 2 of them who started in Clinton when we did. I just want to include a note here about the Katy Trail B&B. We were disappointed in the fact that the “host/hostess” didn’t meet us, and never actually showed up at all. We also had to leave doors unlocked (which was uncomfortable for us “city-folk”), and the bathroom was out of toilet paper and we could not find any anywhere. We had to resort to Kleenex. I won’t be giving this place rave reviews, but the hot tub was a plus. Anyway, we got over to the Trailside bike shop and aired up the tire, and bought a couple of spare tubes for it (thus insuring that it would not go flat again, now that we were prepared). We got on the trail at 9:15 am. It was slow going at first, but we sped up past McBaine. Stopped at Katfish Katy’s and bought some sunglasses to replace ones I lost. Today was the day I finally resorted to strapping my little foam pillow to the seat of my bike, which is where it was for the remainder of the trip. Got to Hartsburg about 1:15 & went to the Cycle Depot so Brian could get some C02 cartridges. Their signs said they were closing and moving to Jefferson City, which is too bad. This was a really neat place. We ate at Dotty’s Café. This is a great 50’s diner style place with very good food and be sure to save room for pie, made from scratch. I walked over to get a picture of an old gas pump in the city park. Left Hartsburg about 2:30 and pulled into North Jefferson about 3:35. We were able to see the capitol building across the fields and get some pictures. Hit my brakes too hard coming into the trailhead and nearly fell. I recovered though with just a few scratches. I just got clip-less pedals and shoes about a month before this trip, and love them except when I do something like this. We loaded up with water and left about 4 pm, getting into Tebbetts about 5:30. Found the Shelter/Hostel right away and got settled in. Chatted with 3 people who are hiking the trail, and a couple from Illinois on a 2 day biking trip. Went over to Jim’s Bar & Grill and had pizza & escaped before the Karoke started. Our friends from Illinois were joined later that evening by their son and daughter-in-law from Joplin and we found out he works at the same college as my sister, where I also attended college back in the 80’s – small world. We found the Shelter/Hostel in Tebbetts to be adequate, if you don’t mind bunking with a bunch of strangers. There is ONE bathroom, and ONE shower room, and the doors don’t lock well, so you have to be careful. It is old, and not the cleanest place, but not it is great for the price!


Day 4 – 53.2 miles, Tebbetts to Marthasville

Got up about 5:30. The heat was on in the shelter and it was really warm. Had some juice and granola bars, packed up and hit the trail before 7 am. Got to Mokane by 7:45, took a break and got going again by 8. Passed Steedman and stopped for another water break at the Standing Rock, which has high water marks from floods from back 100 years. Went on through Portland, and stopped at Steamboat Junction campground near Bluffton and bought a sandwich and Gatorade & hiked back to the campground to use the “facilities”. This is a really nice little place, and the campground looks comfortable. Reached Rhineland about 11:45 and took a short break at Rhineland Park. We were really feeling tired today and took a lot of breaks. This was our longest day. Back on the trail at noon. Taking a break every 5 miles or so, we finally reached Marthasville a little after 4. We called Rita and she came over to The Little House and showed us around. We were able to lock the bikes and trailer in a shed in back. After showers, we walked to Choo Choos, only to find out they had just closed for the season, so we walked to Twin Gables Bar & Grill, a very nice place. I had a baked potato and salad and Brian had the chicken strips. We went over to the convenience store to get a snack for later and walked back to our “Little House” where we relaxed. This was a wonderful little place, and the best stop we had. I cannot talk enough about how nice it was to have the whole place to ourselves. We were even able to do some laundry, and watched TV till we fell asleep. Day 4 - The Day is Ending
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Day 4 - The Day is Ending

Day 4 - The Standing Rock
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Day 4 - The Standing Rock


Day 5 – 40 miles, Marthasville to St. Charles

Day 5 - Along the Bluffs
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Day 5 - Along the Bluffs

Day 5 - Biking Along the Missouri River
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Day 5 - Biking Along the Missouri River
Slept in until 7, then leisurely got around and packed. Had some fruit, milk, juice and the “flower pot muffins” that Rita had made for us. Finally got on the road about 10 am. Saw a groundhog scurry across the trail and go into a little cave. Riding good and steady, and only stopping a couple of times, we got to the Sugar Creek Winery about noon. This winery was supposed to be “on the trail”, but it was atop a very steep hill that we had to walk our bikes up and down. We bought some BBQ pork sandwiches and potato salad and drinks for lunch, which weren’t very good. We also got a bottle of their Peach Hollow wine to pack in the trailer for later. It was much warmer today. Got back on the road, and hit Weldon Springs at 1:20. We took a water break here and didn’t get going again until 2. We just had 16.5 miles to go, and Brian’s parents weren’t due to pick us up in St. Charles until 4/5. Ran over a black snake on the trail, both my bike, Brian’s bike, and the trailer hit him, but when we stopped to see if he was ok, he was gone. Guess he survived. Stopped for another long break at the Greens Bottom trailhead, and Brian’s dad called from St. Charles, so we got going again about 3:25 and got into the St. Charles riverfront about 4:05 pm. We saw Brian’s parent waving from a bench, so we stopped for a minute, but we wanted to ride all the way down to the trailhead, so we did. We nearly had several accidents, as St. Charles was having Octoberfest, and most people didn’t even seem to realize that this was a bike trail. We almost hit several people who walked across in front of us, or wouldn’t move to the right when we yelled that we were passing on the left. Heard one person say “I think maybe we’re walking on the Katy Trail”. Anyway, we rode down to the trailhead and back to the bench, to load things up and hit the road back to Independence MO, getting home about 10 pm.


I just want to follow up with a note that we found most of the people in the towns to be very friendly and helpful, and often interested in our trip. Being a lifelong resident of Missouri, I just have to say how surprisingly beautiful the countryside is. I found the prairie parts to be astonishingly beautiful, and the fall colors that were just starting to show were amazing. I have to find an excuse to go back to the trail in a few weeks when the autumn colors will be even more dazzling.

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