KATY Trail – Day 4 – Last Day Riding Solo

Before going to bed the evening before, I checked with the front desk about breakfast options. The hotel restaurant was closed due to COVID19, the area restaurants were mostly closed, due to it being Sunday morning in the government district. Apparently, I had one option, The Towne Grill, about 4 blocks from my hotel. The Grill did not open until 7, but I wanted to be first in, so that I could get on the bike by 7:30 or so.

To be sure, I left the hotel on foot, and walked to the restaurant. At that point it was only 6:40 and I had a little time to kill, so I decided to walk over to the state capitol and to the adjacent Lewis and Clark monument .

East Face of Missouri State Capitol,just as sun begins to reflect off the building

Across from the capitol is the Lewis and Clark Historic Plaza. The centerpiece of the plaza is The Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery Monument, with five bronze super life size statues, on top of a cliff face of limestone bluffs and numerous waterfalls, representing the 21 major rivers the expedition encountered on their trip west.

After a quick visit to the monument and and an even briefer stroll in downtown,

Early morning Downtown Jefferson City

I arrived back at the Towne Grill just at opening. As I waited for the doors to open, I noticed their sign. There is a grammatical error. I just chuckled and went in. But as I read a little about the history, the error was made in the 1940s on the original sign at the Grill’s original location. Apparently, an English teacher, who lived across the street complained regularly and the, then owner, was determined to keep it. When the restaurant moved to its current location in 1980, they brought the old sign, grammatical error and all, to the new location. And, the current owners have no plans to correct it.

The food was typical diner fare, quick and filling. So, by 7:51, I was on the bike, with Strava running and ready to go. I crossed back over the Missouri. The is a small park at the junction of the main KATY Trail and the Spur that goes into Jefferson City. The first thing I saw is a historic marker detailing information of the 1993 Great Flood. In 1993, Bill and I were still in Wisconsin and I remember all of the news stories about flooding on both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

Expand to read more about the 1993 flood

Also, in this little park was a marker commemorating the joining of the western and eastern sections of the KATY Trail. Since this marker was placed, the trail has been extended on both ends. First. in 1999, the Sedalia to Clinton, western expansion was completed and then in 2011, the Machens to St Charles 11 mile extension in the east opened.

Heading west, I encountered several more Lewis and Clark signs, Again, I will let you expand and read them, if you like.

As I headed west, I had a couple of photo opportunities of the river. Often, even though the river was right next to the trail, the trees were so thick I really couldn’t see it well enough to photograph. The picture of the yellow sunflowers was surprising, because, up to that point, all sunflower fields that I had seen, were well past their prime, all wrinkled and brown. So this one stood out.

This was my longest ride on the KATY Trail, 65 miles, so I decided to break it into two nearly equal sections and stop for a long lunch at the very popular fish and burger joint, The Station House at Katfish Katy’s. Katy’s has a large outdoor seating, both on the patio and picnic tables out on the lawn. Since I am not a fresh water fish fan, I opted for a fully loaded bacon cheeseburger with fries. Great choice. Since I had some 30 miles left to ride, I passed on the ice cold beer on tap.

After I left The Station House, I passed a couple of interesting points. First, for most of the ride there have been cliffs on my right-side, but the trees made it difficult to get a good shot. Finally,, I could take a couple of pictures of the cliffs.

That is Interstate 70 in the background. And then I passed this door in the side of the cliff. I couldn’t find any info on why it was there. It looked like it had been a dwelling of some sort.

And finally, you might think with all these cliffs nearby, that the MKT Railroad might have needed some tunnels, but, in fact, the only railroad built tunnel for the entire KATY Trail, is this one, known as the Rocheport Tunnel, near New Franklin.

At lunch, I had a conversation with a couple I had seen earlier on the trail and they gave some advice on avoiding a well publicized, but very biker unfriendly detour. They said rather than following the detour sign, stay on the trail until barrier and then look to the left of the barrier and notice a small dirt path. They told me to take that, cross the makeshift bridge over the creek and up a steep, but manageable, slope to pick up the trail on the other side. So that is what I did. It worked and I avoided several miles on busy US 40. But, this is what caused the detour.

This damage was done last year, but they put off this repair pending a reworking of the highway bridge, you see in the background. After getting back on the trail, I still had 24 miles to ride for the day. I had only 10 miles until I crossed the Missouri for the last time. At Boonville, the KATY changes directions, instead of a generally east-west orientation along the river, the trail crosses the river and heads generally southwest toward Clinton, where the KATY Trail ends, while old MKT continued onto Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Boonville Old Train depot

To cross the Missouri, I had to use bike path on the US 40 bridge. There is the old MKT lift bridge on the actual trail, but they need some $2 million to complete that project and make it part of the trail. Once leaving Boonville, I had about 11 miles left, but they were 11 miles with a slight upgrade and a stiff headwind.

Along the way, I passed this trailside art. I am not sure what the message is, if there is a message at all. It did remind me of a skeleton I saw last year on the High Trestle Trail, near Ankeny, Iowa. The bottom photo below is from that earlier ride.

From Last Year’s stop in Iowa

Knowing I was nearing the end of a long day on the trail, I just kept pedaling and before I knew it, I was coming into Pilot Grove and a nice surprise. Keith and Joanette were to have dropped Bill off in Pilot Grove the next morning, so he could ride the last two days with me. But they surprised me and all three were peeking around a sign, waiting for me to arrive. They all had hoped to have dinner with me. But Pilot Grove is small and its only two restaurants are not open on Sunday evening. My host at the Katy Junction B&B could handle one more for dinner, but not three. So Keith and Joanette headed back to camp in Clinton and Bill and I enjoyed a flank steak dinner prepared by our host. And that is a nice stopping point. The next post will cover the last two riding days.

Strava Post for this ride: https://strava.app.link/HJkefee2jab

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