We set out early again today, getting a quick breakfast before hitting the road. We expected the ride to be 65-70 miles , so it was going to be a long day. Since it was going to be a hot day, we wanted to get as many miles in as possible early in the day.
Before leaving the rectory of the Church of the Risen Savior in Rhineland, this picture caught my eye. I’m assuming it was put together by one of their quilters. “Along the way take time to smell the flowers”. Pretty good advice.
Setting out, it was already a bit warm and humid at 6:45AM. As we got onto our bikes, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
We made pretty good progress, but the Katy trail is really bumpy through this section. There have been a lot of trail repairs due to recent washouts. The new gravel is very soft, with lots of hard bumps.
The Missouri is still running high and fast. We got close to the river on a few occasions today.
After slogging through miles of rough patches and loose gravel, I was getting a bit tired of the bumping and high-resistance of this section of the trail. The trail crossed MO route 95 and we took that opportunity to depart from the trail and ride about 13 miles on route 95. Being on the surface street allowed us to ride a little faster, and definitely much more smoothly. When we approached Marthaville, we stopped at a gas station to get some gatorade and rejoin the Katy.
Our first destination today was Dutzow, about 30 miles into the ride, and only about 3 miles past Marthasville. On Mondays, many restaurants on the trail are closed, but the Dutzow Cafe was open for breakfast hours, and we knew we would need a real meal to fuel our ride.
The Cafe has good food and is located right on the trail. Inside, we ran into a group of cyclists from the Chicago area. I talked with them and found out that they all lived in the northwest suburbs very close to where I used to live in Algonquin, Il.
The next several miles were mostly in the open, going through farm land. We still didn’t have any cloud cover and the sun was starting to bring on the heat.
The Katy is, by far, the dustiest trail I have ever ridden. The western half was fairly dusty, but the eastern end is over-the-top dusty. My bike, water bottles, panniers, and my body were all coated in a fine layer of limestone dust. You could feel the grit between your teeth. There was really no escaping the dust.
A few more miles brought us to St. Charles, our destination. We took a picture by the Louis & Clark monument.
By the time we finished today you couldn’t even read the bike decals on my bike, not to mention that I was covered from head-to-toe in grit, especially my legs.
Right behind the monument was a water fountain that also had a spigot attached. The spigot had really strong water pressure, which was fantastic for washing ourselves and our bikes. The cool water felt amazing, and so did getting rid of the bugs, dust, and sunblock. Here’s the “after” picture of rinsing the Katy off of my bike:
Joe was really tired today. He decided that if he could power though, he’d get some ice cream when we got to St. Charles. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that the ice cream shop had some non-dairy frozen treats that I could eat! Yum.
Before leaving St. Charles, Joe wanted to find a book for each of his kids. We rode up into town, bouncing along the brick-paved street, looking for a book store. We found it easily and I waited outside while Joe shopped for his kids.
With books in hand, we pushed up the hill to St. Peter Catholic Church, where we had parked our car last week. We changed out of our biking gear, loaded up our bikes, and got on the road. We had a very easy, albeit long, ride back home.
Tomorrow I’ll assemble some final thoughts about riding the Katy. But for now, my own bed awaits.
– Deacon Matt