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Old 09-13-04, 11:37 AM   #1
bradw
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Quick and Dirty: I departed on Labor Day at 7:45 AM from my house in St. Louis, caught the Katy Trail at mile marker (MM) 43, and over the next 7 days traveled the entire length of the trail, plus side excursions, to Clinton, MO at MM 264, turned around and returned to my home at 1:40 PM on Sunday. The total length of the trip was 548.4 miles covered in 7 days.


Pre-trip: Back in April I did a two day, 150-miler. I studied the Katy Trail on websites like www.bikekatytrail.com. A couple weeks before the trip I made another trial run by loading up my bike, riding 50 miles, camping in the backyard, and then going another 50 miles the following day. About that time I noticed cracks in the rear rim of my Trek 520. The shop ordered a replacement rim (on warranty) and rebuilt the wheel a few days before the trip. Then the crank came loose. That was fixed also.

My plan was to cruise along at an easy speed, take photos, make a few side trips, and camp out.


Day 1: I chickened out on the camping because of thunderstorms in the forecast. I called the night before and arranged a room at the Peers Store (MM 81). Departed at 7:45 AM. The day was warm and cloudy, with winds building up later in the day. I checked out Augusta, MO and found it very hilly with interesting old houses. Ate lunch at the Dutzow Deli. Made it to Peers by mid-afternoon to find a nice, clean room over the store. It was a little noisy with farm equipment and trucks, but a truly nice place.

Daily miles: 68.5 Total miles: 68.5


Day 2: Owner of the store gave me a couple free “breakfast sandwiches” and some milk before I left at 7:10. The day was going to be sunny with moderate temps. I tried to eat while watching the sunrise at the store, but the farm cats were very interested in my food. Stopped in Rhineland (MM 105) for a snack and talked to a cyclist from Florida who was happy to be missing the hurricane. Had a cheeseburger at a bar in Tebbets (MM 131). Made it to Wilton (MM 157) by 4:30 and checked into the Riverview Traders General Store. They had minimal supplies and a barebones camping area with a port-a-potty and use of the owner’s personal shower. Along the trail I saw 1 toad, 1 turtle, 3 harmless snakes, 1 million tiny lizards, and 1 billion annoying grasshoppers. During the night I heard coyotes, owls, and lots of other cries in the night that made me paranoid.

Daily miles: 78.7 Total miles: 147.2


Day 3: Didn’t sleep well. Need a better pillow setup. Also found a bolt missing from my rack. I scavenged one from a water bottle cage and all was well. Departed a little after 7 and continued up the trail towards McBaine (MM 169), where I caught the spur to Columbia, MO. A very nice trail that provided a welcome break to the straight-line monotony of the Katy Trail. I stopped at a convenience store in Columbia and had a fine breakfast of milk and donuts. The weather and the scenery was fantastic today. Blue skies, large birds circling overhead, flocks of turkey zipping down the trail ahead of me. At Boonville (MM 191) the trail crosses over the Missouri River. On the western end of the trail the changes in grade become more noticeable.

Unfortunately I had problems in Sedalia. The trail isn’t complete in Sedalia, requiring a trip onto side streets before picking up again at around MM 227. I finally made it to the state fairgrounds, where I assumed I would find camping facilities. A security officer escorted me to a vast, empty camping area, told me it would be $7, and then said the restrooms were locked for the night. I decided it wouldn’t be worth the risk of being arrested for “lewd conduct” and “despoiling state property” so I asked him for directions to my alternate plan: the Sunset Motel. It required riding along narrow, shoulderless roads. The locals seemed to know how to drive around cyclists though. I checked in, cleaned up, and went out for a fried catfish sandwich.

Daily miles: 97.6 Total miles: 244.8


Day 4: Slept well. Had a convenience store breakast and hit the road around 8:15 and headed for the end of the trail at Clinton (MM 264). Along the way I met a guy with a steel-framed, fixed-gear bike from Ibis. Had a chromed fork and L-shaped cranks that said “Brevettato” on them. He said the cranks were one of only a few in the US. Made it to Clinton, ate at the KFC, rolled around the town square, and went back to Sedalia. Saw more lizards and turtles. Ordered a pizza back at the motel and had a good night’s sleep.

Daily miles: 77.8 Total miles: 322.6


Day 5: Left at 7:15, ate at the convenience store, and headed east, planning to camp out at Wilton again. Along the way met Jim, Brad and Steve, three guys from Nebraska making a trip from Sedalia to Washington, MO, returning via Amtrak. They were traveling light and fast, so I let them go ahead after awhile. Had lunch at Abigail’s in Rocheport (MM 178). Crab salad on greens with mango, raspberry tea, and toasted almond pie. Very good. My legs felt heavy after lunch, so I pulled over and read for awhile (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). I changed my mind and stopped at Cooper’s Landing (MM 163) instead of Wilton to camp out. They were serving smoked ribs and had a great view of the river. I had a half-slab of ribs, pork-n-beans, and creamed cornbread (that’s what they called it). There was live music (mediocre), a clean shower, and the noise died down at a reasonable hour. I still hadn’t fixed my comfort issues, so I didn’t sleep well again. Today I had a brief standoff with some cows and saw one harmless snake.

Daily miles: 69.8 Total miles: 392.4


Day 6: Feeling a little tired, I departed at 7. It was getting a little warmer and I was eager to get home. Tried to get a room at Peers again, but they were booked. I hurried to get to Marthasville (MM 78) since I was uncertain of when they closed the community center. I got there to find they were running a “Mud Bog” fundraiser (trucks in a mud pit), and I could setup at 9 after they cleared out. I used the time to read more Cuckoo’s Nest and ride around town. At 9:40, people were still drinking and talking, so I put up my tent and tried to sleep. Quite a while later things got quiet. At least I had a shower.

Saw another snake and a turtle today. Also wading birds (egrets?), which were also common along the trail.

Daily miles: 89.2 Total miles: 481.6


Day 7: Actually slept well. Figured out how to bundle my clothes duffel more tightly and create a passable pillow. Left at 7. Ate lunch at Rhineland (MM 105). By the time I got off the trail at MM 43, my legs were dead. The slightest hill had me shifting into ridiculously low gears. I was so glad to get home that day. Arrived at 1:40.

Daily miles: 66.8 Total miles: 548.4

Average mph: 11.3

Typical gearing: 32x16-18, or 44x21-24 (to spread out the wear and tear) while on the trail. Some of the towns (like Augusta) had very steep little hills, requiring a 32x28-32.

Summary: Since this was mostly a test of my ability to plan and execute, I’d say it went well. I made it on schedule when I wanted to, could alter my plans due to need or want, and had few physical or mechanical problems. My backside was a little sore and my left hand was a little numb. The rear wheel, which had been rebuilt a few days before the start, developed a wobble on the last day. NO FLATS. Thank you Vittoria Randonneur tires!

No animal problems, except for spider webs along the way. And no people or traffic run-ins.

The Katy Trail had some maintenance problems between about MM 80 and MM 130. There were some deep ruts and washouts that would've destroyed a wheel or caused serious injury. It appears the state is working on it. A downed tree on Monday was gone by the following Saturday. The rest stops are consistently better in the west. You'll find flush toilets and sinks more often.


Next time I need to improve weight distribution on the bike, putting more on the front wheel. Find a better pillow. Bring along spare bolts. And use a better skin lotion for my backside.

I'll try to attach some photos in following posts.

Last edited by bradw; 09-15-04 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 09-13-04, 11:52 AM   #2
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My bike. I've written about it before, so I won't bore you with too many details.

2003 Trek 520

Substitutes: Deore LX crank, LX shifters, flat bars with barends, Trek anatomic saddle, Jannd rear rack, Vittoria Randonneur 700x35c tires

Mix of Freddy Fenders (front) and Zefal (rear)

Arkel T-42 panniers and "small" handlebar bag

Nashbar rack bag.

You can see wet clothes strapped to the top with a cargo net, and socks in the mesh pockets on the panniers. I did laundry every day to minize the amount of clothing I'd take. Worked OK.
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Old 09-13-04, 12:00 PM   #3
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Things I saw along the trail. Photos look dark on my monitor, so I hope I haven't over-brightened for yours.
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Old 09-13-04, 04:24 PM   #4
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Nice thread bradw. Quite impressed with your ride. I have been collecting a lot of info on katytrail for possibly the same kind of journey! I am also looking at the Michelson trail in South Dakota for the same deal. One of these days!! It was great to read your daily logs. I love to read of other people's excursions. Enjoying your own bed is the best part of returning home. Looking forward to your pics!!
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Old 09-13-04, 05:17 PM   #5
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sounds like a nice ride Brad...

thanks for the story and pics!!
~Steve
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Old 09-14-04, 12:53 AM   #6
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Thanks for the pictures and information. I'm just learning about some of these trails and hope to really start touring next year.
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Old 09-14-04, 07:50 AM   #7
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Great post. A friend and I will be doing the same trip except starting in Sedalia and working our way back in 2-1/2 days next Labor Day. Thanks for the info and sharing your experience with us. Have a great day.

Mark
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Old 09-14-04, 03:27 PM   #8
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The Michelson trail in South Dakota is a great long one day ride. About 112 miles one way. I suggest taking it in one day (it's about 10-12 hours for a rider in decent shape). I also suggest starting in Edgemont, SD and going toward Deadwood, SD. There are plenty of restaurants, hotels, and casinos in Deadwood.

There is also a 3 day tour event that is held once a year for a fee.
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Old 09-14-04, 07:14 PM   #9
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bradw - nice post! That trail is on my list to ride. Are there enought camping areas along the trail to cover every night at a 60-70 mile pace or does a person need to "stealth camp" or hotel occasionally?

NJDevil - I've got a tourer similar to bradw's, is that adequate for the Michelson trail or do you need wider than 38c tires and a Mtn bike?
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Old 09-14-04, 07:31 PM   #10
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bradw - nice post! That trail is on my list to ride. Are there enought camping areas along the trail to cover every night at a 60-70 mile pace or does a person need to "stealth camp" or hotel occasionally?
I planned for 70-90 mile spacing, so I can't say right off if you can get good campsites at 60 mile spacing. There are more campsites available, but some just have a bathroom, and some have nothing at all besides a place to pitch a tent. Look at the website I listed in the first post. It has an option for listing all nearby camping options. The only place that really didn't work out for me was Sedalia because the fairgrounds' personnel locked the bathrooms at night. I don't know if that's a policy, or just a one-time screw-up.
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Old 09-15-04, 06:00 AM   #11
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Bradw, I did the all of Katy trail last June and I love it. It one of the most senic trails I ever been on and I am planning on doing it again next year. I live in SC but it is worth the effort to go to Missouri to ride on the Katyl. I wish we had something as good in our state.
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Old 10-26-04, 06:02 AM   #12
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I did a similar type of trip on a Trek 520 in September also. I travelled around Lake Ontario(8 days, 600 miles) and stayed in small motels and B and B's. Your bike set-up looked very similar to mine, although I had a rear rack Jannd expandable carrier. I like the idea of the netting for drying clothes. Also, could you explain the type of handlebar extenders you had? THanks. I hope to do Katy trail next year. I live in New York state just east of Lake Ontario.
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Old 10-26-04, 08:10 AM   #13
bradw
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Also, could you explain the type of handlebar extenders you had? THanks.
Those are just standard MTB bar ends. For cushioning I slipped some MTB grips over the bar ends.
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Old 10-26-04, 11:03 AM   #14
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O.K. You replaced the original handle bars with some kind of mountain bike handlebars? What kind of shifters to you have?
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Old 10-26-04, 11:54 AM   #15
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Yes, I've replaced the drop handlebars with standard MTB flat handlebars. The shifters are LX and I'm using generic brake levers. The second post in this thread lists all of the modifications.
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Old 10-26-04, 12:29 PM   #16
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Bradw, I rode the Katy trail twice this year. First in April attempting the Lewis and Clark (leg 1) Trail. Part of my tour included the Katy Trail from St. Charles (awesome town) to Boonville. I also found some washed out sections and the trail did shake my bike loose. My headset loosened and I replaced my bottom bracket. The only thing I had trouble in April's ride was finding places to pitch my tent. All of the info I read before the ride told me NO CAMPING on the trail.
Last weekend I rode the trail from Clinton to Rocheport. I pitched my tent any place I found flat grassy space. Actually, the winery let me pitch my tent in their backyard! It was easier to find my 'home' after a few glasses of wine! Just curious if you had any troubles finding camping space. Did you try to stick to campgrounds?
Nice thread.
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Old 10-26-04, 01:37 PM   #17
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Just curious if you had any troubles finding camping space. Did you try to stick to campgrounds?
Nice thread.
Problems only in Sedalia. I used the website listed above to find camping areas. I did stick to campgrounds, except when I stayed at motels.
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