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Old 03-16-12, 11:14 AM   #1
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Thinking of doing a solo, self supported tour on the Katy

I've never done a week long solo tour. Got a week's vacation coming up and I live fairly close to the Katy. I've done three supported tours on the Katy but never one alone. I guess I'm asking for encouragement. I've got everything I need.
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Old 03-16-12, 11:32 AM   #2
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Do it. No reason not to. Self supported means that your no day is any longer or shorter than you want. You can stop and smell the roses without losing the pack, or you can run those roses over because they got in your way (tire liners, because roses have thorns). You can decide on day two that this is a miserable experience, and you can turn around, go home, and spend the rest of your vacation on the couch.
You have nothing to lose and sunburn, tired legs, and a sore butt to gain. Who could turn that down?
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Old 03-16-12, 06:56 PM   #3
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Yes, go for it! I did a self supported solo from Buffalo, NY. to Albany along the Eerie Canal a couple of years ago. You will have a great adventure.
Just pre plan contingencies for worst case, and do it. Skin is somewhat waterproff, and a bad nights sleep and a few bug bites wont kill you.
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Old 03-16-12, 09:17 PM   #4
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As someone who does it, I encourage you to. I've been doing it for several years now and thoroughly enjoy it. For one reason or another I have yet to make it a week though, sometimes "life gets in the way". I plan to try it again for five or six days the end of April or maybe the first of May this year. It's just fun being out there, cruising along at whatever pace that feels right, occasionally chatting with someone local and sometimes with someone from far away, or on a coast to coast ride. Have never been on a supported ride, maybe I will someday, but I enjoy doing the planning myself.

Camping mostly, but motels and a B&B sometimes also. If you have everything you need, man go for it. If you have a particular question about riding the Katy solo, you can send me a pm, if I can, I'd be glad to help.
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Old 03-17-12, 01:51 AM   #5
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The idea just popped into my head today. The more I think about it the better it sounds. Normally I don't have time off in the spring but this year I do. I live 25 miles from St. Charles. It would be an out-and-back ride.
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Old 03-17-12, 07:20 AM   #6
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Or, take Amtrak West from Kirkwood and ride back.

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Old 03-17-12, 01:34 PM   #7
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My first solo ride was the Katy, and it was great. But I did it on the 4th of July weekend, and nothing was open. Rode it in two and a half days, from Clinton to ST Louis, then took the amtrack back to Sedalia. From there it was only thirty(?)miles back to my car. It was a pretty good slog through traffic to get to the train station, but Kirkwood is pretty neat, I got tons of fresh fruit at the huge farmers market there for the train. Got to sedalia in the late evening and had to get a motel, and also spent the night in St Louis at a holiday inn, nowhere to eat(seriously, not even delivery where I ended up)so got to cook dinner on my campstove in the parking lot!
Sounds screwy, but that trip had it all, light hardship(water was an issue with nothing open and mosquitoes were horrible), great scenery, met a lot of people, Hotel staff thought I was some crazy adventurer, and my first train ride with a bike.
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Old 03-17-12, 11:12 PM   #8
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I've never done a week long solo tour. Got a week's vacation coming up and I live fairly close to the Katy. I've done three supported tours on the Katy but never one alone. I guess I'm asking for encouragement. I've got everything I need.
I've been down the Katy a couple of times. Be sure to peruse the Katy Trail website before you go. The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook is very handy as well. Use the trip planner on the website to find camping because it's hard to find camping from the trail.

Amtrak is useful for transportation but be sure to book your bike ahead. The number of bikes per train is limited to 4 (I think) and the cost is $10. If you want to ride the whole trail (which you should) by starting in Clinton, you can take the train to Warrensburg and ride about 30 miles south to Clinton on MO13. The road isn't the best bicycling road but it's not the worst either. It's got an okay shoulder as shown below



You could start in Sedalia but that cuts off about 40 miles of the trail. Or you could take the train to Sedalia and then ride to Clinton and back but that always seems weird to me. Riding from Warrensburg just felt more complete.

Be sure to visit Hermann along the way. Quant little town. Time for Pie is worth the visit alone.
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New! Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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Old 03-17-12, 11:49 PM   #9
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... The road isn't the best bicycling road but it's not the worst either. It's got an okay shoulder as shown below


If that's what you consider just an okay shoulder, I'm jealous.
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Old 03-18-12, 12:29 AM   #10
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If that's what you consider just an okay shoulder, I'm jealous.
I've ridden better...and worse.
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Old 03-18-12, 06:38 PM   #11
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I'm thinking of doing an out-and-back just because it would be less hassle. FWIW, I did a day ride Saturday and got caught in the rain on the way back. It felt good to be on an mtb with wide tires. Even when dry there were plenty of loose spots. You could make better time on a road bike but you would have to be more careful of your surface.
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Old 04-13-12, 10:03 PM   #12
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Great idea! I had something similar in mind. I have not decided between an out-and-back run or take the train out to Sedalia. Do it, write about it, and maybe it will encourage me do more than a couple of days on it.
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Old 04-14-12, 11:00 PM   #13
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Do it. The KATY is wonderful. We spent nearly a week doing it and loved it. It's a wonderful trail.
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Old 04-15-12, 06:25 AM   #14
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I ended up doing 3 days and it was wonderful. The ride went off without a hitch. The information I got off this site was priceless. Now I need to make some minor adjustments to my gear. I've ordered a Nashbar front rack so that I can even out the load some. I packed too many clothes. I found out that fruit and canned food are heavy and that I can go a long way on ramen noodles and pbj. The only thing about the Katy is that it goes through some long stretches where you don't have easy access to groceries. I much prefer staying in the quiet, small villages rather than the big-town camping areas. The best thing about the Katy is the peace and quiet. You don't have traffic to contend with. Riding into a town after a few days on the trail is like sticking your head in a lawnmower.
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Old 04-15-12, 07:31 AM   #15
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Go for it! I've done a couple self supported rides on the Katy, and it's super fun.
As others have said, plan your stops ahead of time. It's hard to find lodging when you're riding. Food is fairly easy if you stop in at little towns around mid day. Stuff closes early there.
Pack light! You don't need half the crap you want to bring.
A MTB with reverse tread tires is perfect. I like Serfas Drifters.
And have fun! Maybe I'll see you out there.
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Old 04-15-12, 07:47 AM   #16
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Glad you enjoyed your trip sknhgy! May it be the first of many on the Katy.
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Old 04-15-12, 09:17 AM   #17
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I did 7 days on the Katy Trail alone in 2003, including the spur into Columbia. Was my first multi-day ride. Had family drop me off in Clinton, then pick me up in St Charles. I enjoy visiting with people, didn't meet very many on the trail the first 2 days. But once I got to Booneville, there were more riders on the trail. I have a story and photos online: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2094
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Old 04-15-12, 09:36 AM   #18
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I ended up doing 3 days and it was wonderful. The ride went off without a hitch. The information I got off this site was priceless. Now I need to make some minor adjustments to my gear. I've ordered a Nashbar front rack so that I can even out the load some. I packed too many clothes. I found out that fruit and canned food are heavy and that I can go a long way on ramen noodles and pbj. The only thing about the Katy is that it goes through some long stretches where you don't have easy access to groceries. I much prefer staying in the quiet, small villages rather than the big-town camping areas. The best thing about the Katy is the peace and quiet. You don't have traffic to contend with. Riding into a town after a few days on the trail is like sticking your head in a lawnmower.
Food is always an issue with touring. You can go freeze-dry...Ick! I do carry a couple of them for emergencies, however. Another option, especially over canned goods, is foil packed meats and boxed rices. You can actually make a pretty good meal out of Spam and Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice. You can also find foil packed chicken, ham, salmon, tuna, etc which you can combine with a variety of boxed rices and noodles. Not all of it is appetizing but at least it's filling and better than Ramen. When I tour, I usually buy several days worth of combinations, take the rices out of the boxes if they have an inner bag, which most do, and put the rice and foil packed meat into a Ziplock bag to save weight and space. Just make sure you tear the cooking instructions off the box and put it in the Ziplock too.

I would suggest that you be careful about the PB&J. Test it before you depend on it. Some people can stomach the high fat content of the peanut butter (or other fatty foods) while riding. It can lead to some pretty painful stomach upset which isn't what you want if you are trying to get from point A to point B. I usually don't eat 'meals' during the day for this reason. I depend on a lot of high carbohydrate snacks throughout the day which are easier to digest and save the larger higher fat content/higher protein content meals for the evening.
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New! Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
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Old 04-15-12, 07:08 PM   #19
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I would suggest that you be careful about the PB&J. Test it before you depend on it. Some people can stomach the high fat content of the peanut butter (or other fatty foods) while riding. It can lead to some pretty painful stomach upset which isn't what you want if you are trying to get from point A to point B. I usually don't eat 'meals' during the day for this reason. I depend on a lot of high carbohydrate snacks throughout the day which are easier to digest and save the larger higher fat content/higher protein content meals for the evening.
Not to worry. I am an eating machine. When I did my century last July in the heat I stopped at the KFC buffet at about the 75 mile mark. I survived, but I won't eat there again in the midst of a century.
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Old 04-16-12, 07:10 AM   #20
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Not to worry. I am an eating machine. When I did my century last July in the heat I stopped at the KFC buffet at about the 75 mile mark. I survived, but I won't eat there again in the midst of a century.
Remember that feeling when you consider eating peanut butter during the riding part of a tour (after you stop riding, chow down). A fat is a fat and our bodies take a while to digest them.
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Old 04-16-12, 08:24 AM   #21
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Not to worry. I am an eating machine. When I did my century last July in the heat I stopped at the KFC buffet at about the 75 mile mark. I survived, but I won't eat there again in the midst of a century.
Good advice for anytime century or not.
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Old 04-16-12, 09:30 AM   #22
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I'm doing my first unsupported solo tour this summer from St. Joseph, Missouri down to Booneville then hopping on the Katy to St. Charles roughly 345mi in 4 days.

I play to stop at the end of day one in or around Hardin, Mo.

Day two I'll arrive in Columbia, Mo.

Day three I'll ride to Portland or Bluffton.

Day four on to St. Charles and maybe into St. Louis.

I'm planning to ride it Mid-June.
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Old 04-16-12, 07:42 PM   #23
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Kind of OT, but my favorite food for when my body is wrung out is good old canned pork and beans with a couple of slices of bread.
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Old 04-17-12, 07:10 AM   #24
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Kind of OT, but my favorite food for when my body is wrung out is good old canned pork and beans with a couple of slices of bread.
Lots of carbohydrates...just the thing to replenish glycogen. I usually crave lots of salt...I sweat a lot!
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New! Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
New! Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
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