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katying with children


I may be crazy, but my three children and I are planning to do the stretch either between Bluffton and Jefferson City or Rocheport and Jefferson City sometime in October. They are between the ages of 8 and 14 and we aren't avid cyclists but want to begin somewhere. What is a reasonable amount of distance one could expect to cover given reasonable weather and relatively happy children in a "light" day? Is there a particular stretch of the trail that is best for a family ride? I noticed several B&Bs aren't particularly accommodating to the under 10 set. . .Any suggestions for one such as myself??
posted Sep 12 2004 10:27PM - s, Evansville, IN

We'd love to have you come visit Missouri, but I highly suggest that you first try out some trail riding closer to home. This gives you an idea how far your kids can ride before they run out of gas. Best to find out while you're still close to home. I'd hate for you to be stuck on a remote part of the Katy and discover that your 8-year-old can't ride any more after 10 miles. You might try the Rails-Trails Conservancy's trail finder at www.traillink.com. You can search for trails by state (try IL & KY too) and probably find something near Evansville.
Having said all that, the Katy is great for kids - it's flat and scenic (esp the sections you mentioned), and you can usually spot some wildlife.
If you plan to split your trip into 2 days, your kids probably will easily handle the distance: Bluffton to Jeff City is 32 miles, so 16 miles / day; Rocheport to JC is 35 miles. The big problem might be finding lodging around the halfway point. As you mentioned, B&B's often do not accomodate kids, but some do. The Tebbets Hostel is midway between Bluffton & JC, but some people don't like the no-frills atmosphere of a hostel (and we heard of one guest who had problems with noise there). Then again, your kids might like the novelty of bunkhouse style lodging. If you come from Rochport, the Globe Hotel is in Hartsburg, 25 miles from Rocheport and 10 miles from Jeff City - not exactly in the middle. There are lots of hotels in JC, though I don't have a list (try www.jcchamber.org).
If you haven't already, you might try the Plan a Ride page - put in a start and end town, select the types of services you're interested in (e.g. Lodging), and you get a customized list. Experiment with changing the start/end towns, to figure out what works best for you.
One more catch - the trail is busy in October (foliage time) so make lodging reservations ahead of time.
Good luck, and have fun!
posted Sep 13 2004 12:18AM - Ray (webmaster)

Thank you so much for your ideas. I do realize that I'm taking a risk not to have done any other "trips" so far (actually, I'm far less worried about my 8 year old petering out than I am the 44 year old). But, I think we're still game and I will check out the hostel you mentioned. I was wondering if you could give me some idea of how the shuttling works. I was hoping to arrange something via Amtrak (I'd read they allow some bikes to be put on) but it's rather far between stops and it sounds as if that fills fast. Can you give me a rough idea what we should expect to pay if we go that route? Thank you so much!
posted Sep 14 2004 8:06AM - s, evansville

Amtrak travels to Washington, Hermann, and Jeff City, which are near the Marthasville, McKittrick, & N Jefferson trailheads, respectively (it also goes to Sedalia, but that's beyond the section of trail you mentioned). Unfortunately, the train stations are on the south side of the river and the Katy Trail is on north side of the river, and you won't want to attempt any of those bridges by bike - some experienced cyclists tackle the Hermann or Jeff City bridges, but it can be harrowing with cars rushing past just inches away.
Which brings up shuttles: the shuttle services carry people and/or bikes from point A to Point B along the trail. As far as I know, they will go to the Amtrak stations, so they could probably get you across the bridge. Or if you decide the train is too much hassle, a shuttle service can simply pick you up wherever you end your ride, and drive you & the bikes back to wherever you left your car at the start. This link has a list of the shuttle services along the Katy Trail. Honestly I don't know the cost; but if you contact them I'm sure they'll give you an idea.
I also don't know the cost of Amtrak, but this FAQ question has Amtrak's 800 number, and a link to their website so you can contact them for details. You'll need advance reservations, because fall is a busy time for this Amtrak route. Especially October - Hermann hosts a big Oktoberfest and tourists love to ride the train there from St Louis & Kansas City. And like you said, there are a limited number of bike spaces available.
If all the planning gets to be too much, another option is to use a tour service, which arranges all the transportation and lodging issues for you. It's a more expensive option, but it frees you to just ride and not worry about the details. Right now I'm only aware of one touring company on the Katy Trail.
Hope this helps.
posted Sep 14 2004 9:42AM - Ray (webmaster)

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my questions. We'll see how this goes!
posted Sep 14 2004 8:07PM - s, evansville

My family (H&W and 3 kids) ride the Jefferson City stretch regularly. I have a 6 and 8 y.o., and they usually are ready to give it up after about 10 miles.
posted Sep 14 2004 9:49PM - Russ, Jeff City

Our B & B is located in Rhineland, and we are happy to accomodate children any age. You can check out our website at www.thedollhousebandb.com
Thanks,
Amanda Schaefer
The Doll House B & B
201 Lewis Street
Rhineland, MO 65069
573-619-9623
www.thedollhousebandb.com
posted Sep 15 2004 8:32PM - Amanda, Rhineland

I took my 8.5 year old nephew biking. He lasted about 15 miles twice, took around 2.5 to 3 hours. It was 7 miles of flat paved trail and 8 miles of street conditions including a couple of small hills. Good Luck!
posted Nov 16 2004 4:59PM - David, St Louis

Tags: Jefferson City, Marthasville, McKittrick, Rhineland, Bluffton, Tebbetts, Hartsburg, Rocheport, Sedalia, Hermann, Washington, Globe Hotel Bed & Breakfast , Doll House B&B, Turner Katy Trail Shelter Hostel, Lodging, Trailheads, Shuttles, Route Suggestions, St Louis, Kansas City, Amtrak, Weather, BikeKatyTrail.com, Running Modify Tags
         




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