Saturday, July 23, 2011

Augusta to St. Charles, the end of the trail, and a visit to St. Louis

We went down to good coffee and breakfast. The eggs were in ramekins with heavy cream and were delicious. And hey, what do you know . . . more french toast! It's the sort of pattern I can live with. I borrowed the pump belonging to the B&B, aired up, and we were off.

We ducked in to the bike shop in Defiance, only the second one we saw open, and looked for another pump, with no joy. It could have come in handy, as a few miles on, I lost the rear tube again. While I fiddled with changing it, my girlfriend fixed the pump, and in no time we were on our way again. I was riding a bit gingerly as I went, since I was on the last spare tube I had brought with me. We also discovered Deep Woods Off isn't as effective as we had hoped it would be while we waited for them to pull a tractor that had been mowing back out of the swamp along the trail. No one was injured in the wreck, but we were almost eaten alive waiting for them to finish it up.

We arrived in St. Charles, and discovered the pitfalls of not using topo maps in picking the hotel. It looked like it was right next to the trail, but actually it was about 70 feet higher on a bluff which we had to walk our bikes up. We checked in, showered, did a quick load of laundry, and my family showed up to take us back and pick up my 4Runner.

My girlfriend tries a two story slide out for speed.
We visited St. Louis and spent time in City Museum.

City Museum St. Louis

This is the greatest thing to do in St. Louis. The key element of the thing that's the coolest is MonstroCity.  It's basically two lear-type jets, a fire engine, a steam shovel, a construction kangaroo crane, the cupola from the old City Hospital, a steeple from a church, a school bus, a ferris wheel, a tiki hut, a log cabin, and several other things all welded together in a several story tall jungle gym for adults. I think my girlfriend scampered over just about every bit of it. She smiled the whole time, which is why we took the trip in the first place. The whole purpose was to make her smile.

We didn't have a "we did it" moment at the end of the trail. But after our visit was over, and we were driving back to Denver, we crossed under the Katy Trail bridge over I-70 and I smiled and said "Hey! We were just here the other day!" It did feel like an accomplishment then. I remembered riding under it a few years earlier with an ex-girlfriend and commenting that I wanted to ride the trail some day. She scoffed at it. She had a habit of belittling anything that might interfere with her goals, such as riding bikes and taking pictures. I remember saying to myself: "I'm going to ride that someday." It took some time, and it took finding the right person, but someday finally came. Our first cycling trip could not have been any better. I can't wait to see where we ride next.

All images were taken with a Nikon F3 on Kodak Portra 400.

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