Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sedalia to Rocheport

Up early and back to the trail. Part of the old railroad roadbed is still active in Sedalia. Amtrak still runs through. So there was a little street riding involved. It was early, and a little chilly, and we made good time.

Outside of town, there's a grade. Grades on the trail are made for trains to negotiate. They rise at a very light rate, but they tend to be eight miles or so long. It seems flat, but you have to pedal a little harder, so I spent most of every uphill wondering if I had a flat.

At this abandoned building in Clifton City, there used to be a fridge full of cold drinks, with a pay on your honor system. The elderly gentleman who set this up had reported that people were stealing the money, though. The bike shop next door was long closed, and the lot across the road was littered with rusty bikes still chained to trees and poles. It made an interesting display of decay, and made me think the gentleman had probably passed on.

Just outside of the city we came up on some road bikes, and one was down. We stopped and asked if they needed any help, and they said no. One scoffed we should go on, they'd blow us off the trail when they passed in a little while. If you have a hammer, every thing's a nail. If you have a road bike, every thing's a race, I guess.
Obligatory bike next to the signal shot

In Pilot Grove on a sunday morning, absolutely nothing is open. We ate Clif Bars and began to wish for something a bit more substantial.

By the time we hit Boonville, we were officially starving. Clif Bars only go so far.

The Chamber had a person waiting to answer questions, and I told her I had a mighty need for a cheeseburger. She directed us uphill to a bar called the Blind Ref. We washed up a little in their bathroom, and enjoyed huge half pound burgers and fries until we couldn't eat any more.  There's nothing like a good sized meal after exercise has made you hungry. Although, these were good burgers, so hunger wasn't driving our sense of taste like it did for my girlfriend and that pizza.

Stopped in the lobby of the Hotel Fredrick to ask about some directions and was impressed by the place. Next time through, if there is a next time, I think we'll stay there. It genuinely looked as if it was still 1925 inside.

We crossed the Missouri on a nice bike lane on the state highway bridge. the river was hugely swollen. All barge traffic was halted so that towboats wouldn't get hung up under bridges.  It lapped up against the trail in a few spots, but we didn't have any flooding to deal with at all.

In New Franklin, just across the river, is a campground on the site of a former railroad yard. the buildings were all originally part of the complex, and this abandoned turntable used to be the center of a roundhouse. Steam locomotives don't like to run backwards, and need to be turned around, and this machine allowed it to be done in a small space.

The campground wasn't the only railroad remnant we came across. The signal, a couple of hangers for mail bags, switch stands, and the tunnel just outside of Rocheport were others.

We rode through the tunnel, listening to the hoots of an owl, somewhere up above us in the rocks in the tunnel, and rode right in to Rocheport. We realized we were too early to check in to the Katy Trail Bed and Bikefest, so we wandered down the trail a short ways to a combination bike shop and diner to eat some blackberry cobbler and vanilla ice cream. A good ending to the day.

When we came back to the B&B, there was the group of roadies again, looking a bit done in. They were not happy to see us. I think the fact they couldn't catch a middle aged fat guy on a old school bike and a woman on a Schwinn kind of chafed on them.

We approach  things more like long distance hikers do. Hikers live by the mantra "Hike Your Own Hike."  They don't really care how fast other folks move, how they're doing things, or about much other than their own experience. It's a much lower stress option.

After the shower, we walked about a little, and met up with Andrew the Scot again. We hadn't thought to see him again, but he was having a little tire trouble, and told us he was headed to Columbia to find a replacement. We all wondered why there weren't more bike shops on the trail. The mosquitos drove us indoors and to bed shortly after.
Andrew Dickson

Andrew's blog

As I finally get around to transcribing this trip, I find Andrew has finished his ride across the USA. He's raised money for Alzheimer's awareness, and made a fantastic trip. He was an interesting man to meet on the trail, and my girlfriend and I still talk about him from time to time. We're both glad he made it, and envious of his trip. We'll make our own coast to coast ride someday. And if we ever make it to Scotland, Andrew, we'd love to ride a bit in your country as well.

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