Today we started our journey back towards our car, which is about 240 miles away. Originally we had intended to ride back the entire way by bike, with a side trip into Columbia MO. After looking at the high temps for the next few days, we elected to use Amtrak to cut about 110 miles out of the middle of the return trip.
Step one of our journey is to get from Clinton to Sedalia, about 40 miles by bike. Step two is to take the train from Sedalia to Hermann, plus cycle a few miles to Rhineland for our overnight tonight. Step three will be tomorrow, to ride the remaining 65-70 miles back to St. Charles, where we left our car.
Step one: complete. We had an uneventful and pleasant ride back to Sedalia, arriving before lunch.
Since we are backtracking over familiar territory, I did not take many new pictures of today’s ride.
We took a little more leisurely pace today since we only had around 40 miles to go. We ate first breakfast before leaving Clinton, and making our way to Pilot Grove.
I was able to stop and soak up the scenery today. Yesterday, we had such strong headwinds that I had to keep my head down and tucked, concentrating on keeping my pedals going forward. Today, since we came back the opposite direction, the winds helped us out and I could actually look up and enjoy the prairie and forest canopied areas.
The picture below doesn’t really do this view justice. To my left, there are waves of green corn growing and blowing in the wind. To the right is a huge field of golden wheat, blowing like waves on the ocean. The wind was very strong and gusty, and the fields danced like a melody. It really is a beauty to behold. Notice also – no clouds to be found anywhere, nor any shade.
Our next stop was second breakfast. We had spotted this restaurant in Green Ridge yesterday. There were quite a few trucks parked outside – that said to me that the locals must approve. It did not disappoint. I had a simple breakfast of eggs, toast, and hashbrowns. Well prepared and the service was so friendly. I would absolutely come back here again.
We finally arrived in Sedalia around lunch time with plenty of time to spare for our 5:20PM train. We spent a little time riding around Sedalia, making sure we knew where the Amtrak station was for later. We ran into this nice lady and her daughter. She is an organic farmer nearby and her daughter was heading back to Kansas City for college. We had a very nice conversation for a few minutes before departing and looking for a little bit of lunch.
Most of Sedalia was closed up for Sunday, but Joe did find this sports bar that was open, so we went by to have a beer and some snacks to tide us over for a while. We had about 5 hours to kill, so we decided a little time in an air conditioned restaurant was a good start.
We were pretty sure we would not have any opportunity to grab dinner tonight since the only restaruant in Rhineland is not open on Sunday late evening. So we cycled into downtown Sedalia and went to Subway to get a couple of sandwiches to eat later on the train. We killed a little more time at Subway while I tried to teach Joe a little about how to play cribbage.
The tiny Amtrak terminal has a cooled waiting area, so we pedaled back there to wait for the train. Joe tried to nap, unsuccessfully.
It may be hard to see in the pictures, but my bike is completely covered in limestone dust. Every nook and cranny, every chain link, and even every smooth surface has a fine grey powder stuck to it. It is amazing how much dust comes off of this trail. I try to clean the chain each day, but I am quite certain that the oil and limestone dust is making a very nice abrasive that is going all around the drivetrain each pedal stroke.
As we were waiting for the train, I received a text that the train was delayed. Then a little while later, another delay. Suddenly, our step two plan needed some tweaking. We did eventually get on the train, however instead of having an hour of sunlight to ride back to Rhineland from the Hermann Amtrak drop-off, we would not have any sunlight left. Our arrival time was just about sun-down. I did not bring my bike headlight with me on this trip because I didn’t think I would need it. Note to self – always bring the headlight, even though it is heavy.
Dial back a few days ago when we were in Rhineland… We had an enjoyable evening with Deacon Joe and his wife Elaine. When they dropped us off that evening, Elaine handed me a piece of paper with her number on it and said that if we ever needed anything to give her a call. Why did she do that – what were the chances we would ever cross paths again? God moment.
This evening, I used her number and asked Elaine if they would be able to give us a ride from Hermann to Rhineland. They graciously said yes and picked us up right at the train. A few minutes later, they dropped us off at Risen Savior church in Rhineland.
We quickly set about getting showered (yay, really needed it!), laundry done (yay, also really needed it!), and then updating the blog.
Tomorrow, we have about 65 +/- miles to go to get back to our car in St. Charles. It is supposed to be a hot day, so we will be getting out early to beat as much of the heat as possible. Tomorrow’s miles are very open in the sun, so we are hoping to cover a lot of path as quickly as we can.
Next Stop: St. Charles, then to home! I’m really looking forward to hopefully sleeping in my own bed tomorrow. We’ve gotten used to lots of unexpected surprises on this trip, but with God’s grace, we’ve managed pretty well. Thank you for all of the prayers and support!