Katy Trail Day 4 – Jefferson City to Boonville (55 miles)

This morning we bid a farewell to St. Joseph Catheral in Jefferson City.  We left around morning rush hour, but the traffic was pretty well behaved around cyclists.  After stopping for a quick breakfast, we were back underway.

The Katy is on the other side of the Missouri River from Jefferson City, so we had to cross back over the bridge.  There is a square spiral ramp that takes you back down from the bridge deck to the ground below where the spur trail joins to take you back to the Katy.  That’s Joe on his bike in the picture below.  What I didn’t realize is that the reason he was going so low down the ramp is that he had yet another flat tire, a mere 3 miles from our start, and only 5 miles from getting brand new tires.

As he patiently took his wheel apart, Joe discovered that this flat was not a puncture like his previous ones, but was caused by the rim-tape of his wheel being shifted off its intended place and exposing the sharp edges of the holes where the spokes are.  So as he was riding, the sharp edge of the wheel cut into his tube.  Joe painstakingly removed the tape, put it back into in the right place, and put a new tube in.  About 35 minutes later we were back underway.  I could empathize with Joe’s frustration as he was putting everything back together.  We said a prayer for a smoother day and began plugging along.

Much like yesterday, much of the trail is along farm lands.  I am a little surprised at how infrequently we are close to the Missouri River.  We are definitely in the flood plain, but the river is far away to the south for much of the ride.  In the picture below, the river is far beyond the trees on the left side of the picture.  Being in the flood plain is what has made this such fertile farmland.  Over the millennia, the various floods of the river have left behind silt and organic material that has made this soil so rich.

We’ve seen some wildlife on the trail.  Not nearly as much as I had expected, but a few critters have shared our ride.  Yesterday, we saw several deer.  Today, I think I ran over a medium sized black snake that darted out as we were cruising along.  We’ve also seen a few turtles.  I stopped to get a picture of this cute little guy.  He’s a bit camera shy.

As we got closer to Hartsburg, you begin to see bluffs: cliffs of rock that are nearly straight up and fairly tall.  It is really hard to take a picture of them to give you any idea of scale.

The Katy shares its route with part of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s route.  At many of the trailheads you can find tidbits about their journey.

Around lunch time, we finally reached Rocheport.  This is probably the nicest small town we have seen along the entire Katy.  There are lots of nicely restored old homes, a quaint small shopping area, and a couple of places to eat.  We decided to stop for lunch at the General Store. 

The General Store isn’t really much of a store, but had a nice menu of sandwiches and such.  I decided that a PB&J sandwich was really a good idea, with a slice of apple pie.  You can tell from the picture which item was the main course.

After lunch we had about 12 more miles to go to get to Boonville and the temperatures were getting pretty hot.  We pressed on, but stopped at this iconic caboose not too far from Boonville.  When I was a kid, we used to see trains come through a town near where we lived and they’d stop traffic to let the train pass.  I remember always watching for the cabooses.  It was like the train wasn’t complete without a caboose.  That would be like a dog without a tail.  Eventually the cabooses stopped being part of the trains, but I still really enjoy seeing them – it reminds me of that time of being a kid.

Less than a mile after seeing the caboose, I heard a strange ticking and hissing noise coming from my front tire.  I knew what it was and quickly found one of the few precious patches of shade under a tree adjacent to the trail.  There was a sharp stone sticking out of the bottom of my tire.  When I pulled it out, the tire quickly hissed out all of the air.  The Katy trail had finally claimed one of my tires as its victim.  I decided to save that pesky little stone as a souvenir.  We had the tube changed in record time, after all, we’ve had lots of practice lately.

Getting into Boonville requires crossing a tall bridge over the Missouri.  From this point forward, the Katy and the Missouri diverge to go their own separate ways.  We put it into low gear and ground the pedals to climb up and over the long bridge into town.

Before heading to our home for the night, we decided to swing by the Boonville station.  They have a caboose out front that you can look in the windows of.

The station was a bit underwhelming.  There is a small bike shop inside, but not much else that would be interesting to a touring cyclist.

Next priority was to find Sts. Peter and Paul church.  A few short blocks from the trailhead, we arrived and took our things to our rooms.  Father Basil welcomed us to his home.  After a much needed shower, we settled in and did some work to prepare our return trip once we reach the trail end at Clinton.

The weather forecast continues to show very hot temperatures, so we will be picking up an Amtrak train to cut off about 110 miles and 1.5 days of cycling on the return.  Once we get to Clinton, we will cycle back to Sedalia, catch the train to Hermann, and then cycle to St. Charles from there.  We’ll still have about 108 miles of the return trip to cycle back to our car, but we will have one less day of scorching 96-97° heat.

Father Basil is from Nigeria and a wonderful young priest.  He also is a very good cook, apparently.  He was at the beginning stages of making tomato sauce (he said stew) from raw fresh tomatoes.  It smelled awfully good!

Smelling Father’s sauce cooking made us hungry, so we set out for some dinner.  We decided that Mexican food sounded good.  And it tasted good, too!

Boonville has some really nice older homes, so we grabbed a couple of pictures as we walked to dinner.

Tomorrow is our longest day of the tour at 73 miles.  On paved surface, this wouldn’t be too bad, but this surface is slow and the temps are supposed to be high.  So we’ll be up and out early, chugging along down the trail.  Assuming all goes well, we will complete the full length and reach the end of the Katy by late afternoon tomorrow!


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