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The east end of the Katy

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The east end of the Katy

Old 02-03-13, 02:02 PM
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sknhgy 
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The east end of the Katy

I am lucky enough to live near the Katy Trail. I live 18.4 miles from the east end of it. I rode there and back yesterday. It's about the same distance from my house to the trail as it would be from the Alton, IL train station to the end of the trail, and the route would be approximately the same.
The trail ends, or begins, depending on your perpective, in Machens, MO. There ain't much in Machens, and to tell you the truth, the place looks a bit inhospitable. See for yourself:

As you can see, the sign says "No Katy Access." Well, you can get on the Katy from there. I've even parked my truck right near that sign and ridden to St. Charles. I don't understand why that sign is there. The trail end is about 1/4 mile from Machens, in a desolate spot.
However, there is a gate at the end of the trail and there is a working bathroom, and there is a kiosk with a bench and some maps and a welcome sign.
I tried to go a little ways towards St. Charles yesterday but the trail was soft and my tires sunk in and I had to turn around and head home. It is 12.6 miles from Machens to St. Charles.
The ride from Alton to Machens is very doable but a bit dicey. The high traffic areas like the Clark Bridge have shoulders but there is a good bit of debris. You want good tires.
Once you get into Missouri and off the highways, you ride on highway 94 which is a two-lane country road with no shoulder. The traffic is light. I had a stiff westerly headwind going out. Coming back with the tailwind was very nice.
Much of my touring is on the Katy. I try to do the whole length once/year, and I do many day trips and some overnighters.
That is all.
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Old 02-03-13, 02:38 PM
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Thats interesting to know. I have a plan of taking a bus to St louis this year, with my bike, and riding the trail to clinton, then turning around and riding it back. Then a train ride to Sedalia, and from there ride to Clinton, down 13 to Boliver, take the Frisco Highline to Springfield, and from there either ride back to NW Arkansas or else try to take another bus. The ride from Springfield to home is unpleasant, with few shoulders and lots of blind hills and curves. The whole point of the Katy for me is to just relax and pedal. I don't want to end that fighting chicken trucks for 100 or so miles.
In fact, I was even thinking of riding it back to St louis from Sedalia after the train ride, then taking the bus back home. i like the trail, and consider it a great vacation spot. Doing it back and forth like that would let me stay in all my favorite places on the same trip, and still get plenty of miles!
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Old 02-03-13, 03:23 PM
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Thanks for the info, I'll put it in our data banks for future use. We're planning a self contained tandem ride on it in late spring. We're not sure if we are going just one way, or and out and back from the east.
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Old 02-03-13, 11:01 PM
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sknhgy,
do you know if there is a church or anywhere in Machens or nearby that one could leave a car for a handful of days? I asked this question on the Katy Trail website but I never received an answer. We had planned to do the Katy last year again but bailed when the temps were running in the hundreds in early July and so planned on doing it again this year sometime. Looking to ride the whole thing going east to west this time and catching the train back to Kirksville, and have a friend that will take us back to the starting point.
Thanks.
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Old 02-04-13, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
sknhgy,
do you know if there is a church or anywhere in Machens or nearby that one could leave a car for a handful of days? I asked this question on the Katy Trail website but I never received an answer. We had planned to do the Katy last year again but bailed when the temps were running in the hundreds in early July and so planned on doing it again this year sometime. Looking to ride the whole thing going east to west this time and catching the train back to Kirksville, and have a friend that will take us back to the starting point.
Thanks.
A few years ago we got on Amtrak at Kirkwood to Sedalia, rode to Clinton and then back east. Did not go all the way to the east end, cut it short for what appeared to be the most convenient route back to Kirkwood. I assume Amtrack still has free parking to customers, that is what we did for parking in Kirkwood. Call the Amtrak station to confirm if parking is still free.



This is a screen shot of the GPS data from our ride from the trail to the Amtrak station in Kirkwood. We picked that route before Google made a bicycle option in Google maps, there might be better options for cyclists.



We did this during the end of October and beginning of November. No crowds, no bugs, only dipped below freezing one morning.
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Old 02-04-13, 09:30 PM
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Park in St. Charles and do an out and back to Machens if you want to get "all" the trail. Or I guess you could park in Portage des Souix and pedal over to the trail.

And, YMMV, but I would NOT ride 94 any more than absolutely necessary- just too many fast cars, no shoulders, and places with bad sight lines/curves. Use Saale Rd and Dwiggins; no traffic...
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Old 02-04-13, 09:40 PM
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I will check at Machens. I thought about doing that. A person could ride from Alton and leave their car at the Amtrak station there. Also, there is now a campground outside of St. Charles, along hwy 370. I stayed there. It is flat and open with no trees or cover but I'm sure you could leave a car there. I believe it is government owned and operated.
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Old 02-04-13, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Dellphinus View Post
Park in St. Charles and do an out and back to Machens if you want to get "all" the trail. Or I guess you could park in Portage des Souix and pedal over to the trail.

And, YMMV, but I would NOT ride 94 any more than absolutely necessary- just too many fast cars, no shoulders, and places with bad sight lines/curves. Use Saale Rd and Dwiggins; no traffic...
Thanks for the tip. I saw those roads but didn't know where they went or if they had a good surface.
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Old 02-04-13, 10:09 PM
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I think that that is about the route I have taken. hard to tell, it was a few years ago, and I was so lost when I first got off the trail it was comical. I rode for hours looking for a place to stay, finaly a state trooper told me what direction NOT to go in. Stayed at a holiday inn on the Fourth of July, nothing was open to get anything to eat, even places that offered delivery were closed! Sat outside the hotel and cooked some pasta in the parking lot, listened to Cindy Lauper giving a concert at the place down the road while the sun went down and then listened to the fireworks I could not see. The next day I found a booklet of the tourist spots of St Louis, put together a route to Kirkwood based on peicing several little pages with partial maps together with scotch tape at the front desk, called amtrack and made reservations for the last train out to give me some breathing room(I get lost in my home county, thats why I like the Katy, no navigating) and rode to the station My first experience with bike lanes ever!

And I think that Kirkwood is a cool enough burg that its worth hanging out for a few hours, if the farmers market is open. I was there in july, and bought so much fruit for the train ride I could barely carry it. Eating drippy peaches on the train after three days of hot, hot riding was awesome.

In all, of all the trips I have ever taken, that one was one of the best. I met the poster known as Robow on the trail, sweated like a loon, got eaten by mossys, and took my first train ride with a bike.
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Old 02-04-13, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
I will check at Machens. I thought about doing that.
Thanks sknhgy, I would appreciate any information you could pass on as to the closest place to park on that extreme east end. A decent bike ride to that eastern trail head would be acceptable.

Before, I parked at St. Charles and rode my bike over to the Kirkwood Amtrak, jumped on the train and caught a shuttle from Sedalia over to Clinton and started back west to east. This time I would like to include Machens and ride east to west.

btw, my route that worked out well from St. Charles to Kirkwood
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/1252475

Also, nice story Shipwreck!

Last edited by robow; 02-04-13 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 02-05-13, 06:33 AM
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If I was going to ride the trail and had to leave my car at the east end for an extended period, these are the possibilities I'd consider:

Portage des Souix: 2.5 to 3 miles from Machens. Has a marina, St. Charles Co. Library, Yacht Club, Tavern, Post Office. Payne Road or Kinghammer Rd to 94 (very short distance on 94) to Machens Rd.
St. Charles/Smartt Field airport- 8.5 miles from Machens. Restaurant, small airfield, Confederate Airforce museum. Parking. Portage Road to Portage des Souix, then as above.
St. Charles. Do out and back.
It's really a shame that the Grafton Ferry is not in operation anymore- just across the river from Smartt Field is Grafton, with B&Bs, hotel, Pere Marquette State park, and the western end of a trail/trail system that will take you through Grafton, Elsah, Alton, the Chain of Rocks Bridge/Route 66, all the way to the Gateway Arch and St. Louis.
There is a route from the east end of the Katy, back towards St. Charles, across the Mississippi via ferry, then across the Illinois by ferry (this is an absolutely beautiful ride) to the above mentioned trail, if anyone is interested. It's not an easy ride, but it is pretty spectacular for the climbs and views.



link to google map



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Old 02-05-13, 11:00 AM
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Delph, are you talking about the ferry just north of Grafton and south of Pere Marquette is no longer available?

Two years ago, we stayed at a hotel down by Bush Stadium, rode the St. Louis River trail, crossed the Mississippi at the Chain of Rocks bridge and continued up the Sam Vadalaben bike trail, spent the night at Pere Marquette state park and then came back south, rode the ferry across to the land between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and had an incredible meal at the old Wittmond Hotel in Brussels. We had planned to do that again for a nice 3 or 4 day ride this summer.

btw, thanks for the parking suggestions at the far east end of the Katy.
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Old 02-05-13, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Delph, are you talking about the ferry just north of Grafton and south of Pere Marquette is no longer available?

Two years ago, we stayed at a hotel down by Bush Stadium, rode the St. Louis River trail, crossed the Mississippi at the Chain of Rocks bridge and continued up the Sam Vadalaben bike trail, spent the night at Pere Marquette state park and then came back south, rode the ferry across to the land between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and had an incredible meal at the old Wittmond Hotel in Brussels. We had planned to do that again for a nice 3 or 4 day ride this summer.

btw, thanks for the parking suggestions at the far east end of the Katy.
No, the ferry that is closed (supposed to re-open in May) is the Grafton Ferry, in downtown Grafton. The ferry you refer to is the Brussels Ferry, just below Marquette park.
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Old 02-07-13, 10:05 PM
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The problem with Machens is that, when you get there, there isn't any there there. You are twelve miles from nowhere in either direction, and there is no signage in Machens to get you to the nearby road over the railroad tracks to Hwy 94. I imagine that the railroad probably owns that little gravel access road and doesn't want you on it.

The KATY is ok if it is frozen in the morning, but gets messy (as sknhgy noted) as it warms up.
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Old 02-08-13, 05:10 AM
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Great thread sknhgy, thanks for posting. Lots of good information from all, it's a favorites keeper! I'm also local to the Katy Trail and ride quite often. It's a favorite hobby, touring full length or so, or a 2 or 3 day camping trip, very enjoyable.

To the point of Machens being "desolate" or isolated, having never been there myself, that is exactly the way it seems. From all I have read from Bike Katy Trail and others about the Machens trailhead and getting to it, is just not that appealing. Some people have complained about thorns and flats between St. Charles and Machens, it does seem to be getting better though. If I had to be able to say, I had ridden all of the Katy Trail I might go there, but having the end point for me stop at St. Charles works out pretty well. In the past the eastern end has been a day ride from Klondike Park at Augusta, to St. Charles have brunch or lunch and site see for a bit, then ride back to my campsite, about 50 or so miles round trip. I am glad it is there, especially for the eastern end access point from Illinois, and I may ride there sometime, just won't hurry to do it.
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Old 02-11-13, 02:24 PM
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I've ridden the trail end-to-end the last two years and plan on doing it again.

Registration for the DNR's supported ride in June 17-21 starts on March 1st. On odd years it starts in Clinton - even years in St. Charles. The section from St. Charles to Machens is optional.

https://mostateparks.com/2013-katy-trail-ride
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