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Katy Trail Memories 1998

Left to right are.
John Reasoner, Virginia Capron, Laurie Allshouse and husband Jim.

Here is a story of our first trip to the KATY TRAIL.

Story by Laurie Allshouse

    After breakfast of bulgar and toast, we hit the road at 7:45 a.m.  John and Mother took her new 4 wheel drive pickup and Jim and I drove my car with our bikes hooked on the back.  They ride better on my car than on the Crown Victoria of Jim’s.  Mother and John were following us but fell behind before we got to the McDonald’s that passes over the highway near Miami.  We pulled off to go to the bathroom but they didn’t see us in time to pull over.  John turned on his blinker and we assumed he was pulling off to the side of the road.  We didn’t get out but went on to meet them and they were gone.  I thought they went up the road but Jim thought they exited and went back to the McDonald’s.  We drove up the road and waited about 15 minutes to see if they caught up.  We really weren’t sure if they were ahead or behind.  A little ways up the road, we stopped for another 15 minutes and were really wondering what to do.  They had the phone number of the hotel we were staying at but we hadn’t discussed the routes we would be taking.  I finally thought of using the cell phone to call Brandon.  He hadn’t heard from anyone but I told him to give Mother Jim’s cell phone number if she called.  About 45 minutes later, the phone rang.  They were at the rest area and visitors center just over the Missouri State line.  We were about 2 minutes away.  We finally got hooked back up and proceeded on to St. Charles without any further difficulties.  I think Brandon was quite pleased to be so instrumental in getting us all back together.  He offered his relay services if we needed any further assistance.  We checked in at the Hampton in St. Charles at 5:30 p.m.  We went down to the historic section of St. Charles and had a very good dinner at the Lewis & Clark Restaurant on their balcony after finding that the St. Louis Bread Company closed early on Sunday evenings.
Monday, April 27
After a continental breakfast at the hotel, we parked our car in the casino parking lot near the Trailhead Brewery and next to the Katy Trail.  Jim had called the police dept. to see where we could park for five days without threat of being towed.   Drove to Columbia in a hard rain.  Ate lunch at the Katy Station Restaurant and the rain stopped as we were finishing up our lunch.  We left the pickup at the MKT Fitness Trail parking lot off Stadium St.  We called the police station to advise it would be left there for 5 days.  At 12:30 p.m. we hit the trail.  Beautiful tree lined this area near streams and ponds.  The threat of rain loomed ever present as we progressed on the Katy Trail.  The ride was windy in places and the packs made for some interesting maneuvering.  We passed several small towns but didn’t stop with the gray clouds ever present.  Just as we rode into Hartsburg, the rain started in. 25.08 miles of riding today.  The Globe Hotel looked a lot like the Adam’s Family abode and it was with some misgivings that we approached the front door.  Mother swore it was abandoned.  A man answered the door and explained that Jeanette would be home about 6 p.m.  His name was David and he was helping renovate the house.  He showed us to our rooms which were in very good shape upstairs.  Another couple, Frank and Sue, from Illinois are riding the trail in the opposite direction from us and are going to Sedalia and riding Amtrak back to St. Charles on Friday.  They rode from Bluffton today in two hours of rain.
 The only place to eat on a Monday is the Iron Horse BBQ.  We ventured over in the rain.  Sam, a Redd Foxx wannabe with a cowboy hat, took our order and then served us in a detached caboose next door.  No coffee, his machine broke down (some time ago, I think) and no beer.  Mother was incredulous that there was nothing hot to drink!  She didn’t have this much trouble in Costa Rica.  She hadn’t realized that Missouri was a 3rd world country. After dinner we walked back in pouring rain and chatted with the Illinois couple and David in the living room.  Jeanette came home and joined us.  She introduced us to her cat, Morticia, who seemed to really enjoy our company.  The Globe Hotel was being renovated when the Floods of ’93 deposited 6 feet of water inside.  For six weeks there was some depth of standing water in the hotel.  Jeanette had moved all her furnishings to the 2nd floor.  The hotel flooded again in ’95.  I would have just given up.  But Jeanette stays with it and is doing the renovations with love and care.  Frank and Sue told us of their three days of riding and about the rider they met who got shot with a BB gun in Gore.  They also warned us not to stop at the bar in Mokane.  Some people are not too fond of the Katy Trail nor it’s riders.  They think the land should have reverted back to them when the railroad left.  We retire at 9 p.m.  We have a double bed with a sink and 2 ½ baths nearby.  One bath had a shower, one has a tub and the other is just a commode.  Mother and John’s room has 2 twin beds and a sink.  We all have fluffy white robes to pad around in.
Tues, April 28
Jeanette prepared a nice continental breakfast at 8 a.m.  We had 2 kinds of juice, coffee, muffins, bagels and English muffins.  Rode 10.8 miles to Jefferson City.  Got sprinkled on some but not too objectionable.  When we got to the North Jefferson City Trailhead, we called the Hotel DeVille.  A pickup and car came to get us driven by the maintenance men.  Jim and the bikes rode in the pickup while Mother, John and I rode in the car.  The guys were very nice and couldn’t have been more helpful.  They took our bikes to storage after Jim rinsed them off with a hose.  A hot shower sure felt good and then we went to the dining room for lunch.  This hotel is just two blocks from the capitol and decorated in an elegant European style.  Most patrons are in suits and ties.  Jim and I ordered Beck’s Dark Ale and have found a beer we both really like.  Our lunch was very good.  We walked to the State Capitol in the rain.  Lots of students touring today.  We asked about the Governor’s mansion tour but the last one was at 3:00 and it was now 3:25.  Susan, the owner of Hotel De Ville, told us that one of her sons was a professional cycling racer and another was the evening chef at the hotel.  She recommended the Sesame encrusted tuna and the crab stuffed portabella mushroom.  We decided to try this gourmet meal and ordered 2 of each for the 4 of us.  It was delicious and just right.  If we’d each had our own, we would have been in misery.
Wed, April 29
After a delicious Eggs Benedict breakfast at the hotel, our buddies were more than glad to take us back to the trail.  Susan drove us in her leather upholstered jeep.  What style!  We hit the trail at 8:15.  About 10 a.m. we rolled into Tebbetts and stopped at Mrs. Turner’s Store.  She came out to chat with us and have us sign her book.  She is 95 and sharp as a tack but a little hard of hearing.  Such a tiny little thing.  She told us that a B & B will be opening this summer next door to her store.  That will be a nice break.  It would have made our Tuesday a little longer and cut off some from Wednesday’s ride.  We rode 43.86 miles today.  At noon we stopped in Steedman at S.O.B. , Steedman’s Only Bar.  The few locals who came in after us were served before us and Jim got peeved but we finally got fed and hit the trail again.  The sun came out and we started shedding clothes. We finally saw our first people on the trail in three days – two walkers, locals out for a stroll.   When we made McKittrick we were tired and sore and wanting a shower.  Sue and Dave of the Reiff House picked us up at the trailhead in a Volkswagon van.  Three bikes rode on the rack and Jim took the wheel off his bike and had it inside with us.  Each couple had a bottle of wine in the room chilled for us.  We got cleaned up and ready for our 7 p.m. gourmet dinner.  While we were waiting, John and I sat on our balcony overlooking the activity of downtown Hermann.  What a wonderful dinner! !  Dave cooked and Sue served. An elegant table was set with music playing and 5 courses with 3 wines were served.  My rice pilaf was exceptional.  It was the best I’ve ever had.  It contained pine nuts.  Jim’s stuffed pork tenderloin had a unique and scrumptious sauce.  Mother, John and I enjoyed grilled quail.  Afterwards we walked downtown and John bought some pads for his sore crotch. We headed back early to bed (9 p.m.)  Jim was BEAT.

 Thursday, April 30
What a big country breakfast!  We talked Dave into serving at 7 a.m. for an early start.  I think he does better a little later in the morning.  He seemed somewhat distraught but the food was delicious.  Even the biscuits that he burned on the bottom and cut off the burned part tasted heavenly.  Dave loaded up our bikes and took us back to the trail.  We started off at 8:15.  My speedometer wouldn’t work.  Must have knocked a wire loose in the transportation.  We road 16 miles to Treloar in the rain.  2 hours of showers.  We stopped in “Our Place” for coffee and some dry air.  Bought some ostrich jerky and ostrich summer sausage.  Delicious and very low fat.  Upon arriving in Marthasville, we stopped at the bike shop and Mother got a small repair done to her bike.  While waiting, Jim and I both found Jerseys we liked and bought.  The bike shop owner directed us to “Loretta’s Place” for a delicious lunch.  Loretta had three homemade soups and 15 salads on a buffet line.  A bowl of soup was $1.50 and a can of beer was $1.50.  What a bargain!  Four women in the 80 -90 year old range asked us questions about our trip and seemed thrilled to have someone new to talk to.  One said to the other, “Whatever did we do before the Katy Trail opened?”  We were the day's entertainment.  Rode into Augusta about 3 p.m.  Alan, of the H.S. Clay House, invited us in and we hit the showers.  He stored our bikes and Leigh got home with Winston, the sheepdog.  Alan had cookies and iced sun tea, strawberries and welcome wine punch along with cheese, pate’ and crackers for our munching pleasure.  They left at 5:00 for Leigh’s son’s wedding rehearsal dinner.   We walked to Mt. Pleasant Winery and bought a bottle of wine after I promised Jim that I would carry any unused portion in my bike panniers.  We also ordered ½ case to be sent to OKC.  As we were walking back we noticed another winery still open, the Augusta Winery.  We stopped in there and they had a red wine Jim liked so we ordered another ½ case to be sent to our house.
    We ate dinner at the White House Tavern.  Jim could hardly make the walk ½ block to our B&B.  He crashed about 7:30.  We didn’t even get to open the wine.  Guess I’ll be carrying a full bottle tomorrow.  Mother, John and I finished off the welcome wine punch out on the veranda by the pool.  We moved to a covered tent when it started to rain.  John went into bed and Mother and I chatted awhile longer until she decided to call J.J.   I am in the game room with my fluffy robe and port brandy, listening to Kenny G. and smelling the magnificent smells that emanate from this house.  I’m considering stealing Jim’s port and sitting in the indirect light that illuminates every corner.  White Christmas lights are entwined on the banister and mantle with small lamps in every corner.  It gives such a warm welcome feeling to this beautiful home.
May 1, Friday
9 a.m. breakfast of bananas in brown sugar with pecans and brandy sauce.  Second course was french toast, pineapple, maple glazed peppered bacon and sausage along with strawberry orange juice and cranberry raspberry juice.  We hit the trail at 10:30 in the rain.  We were rained on and poured on and it was the wettest day yet.  Forecast had been for sunshine.  At least we didn’t have wind to deal with.  Today we saw 5 cyclists and one jogger and one walker.  Must be closer to civilization.  We’ve had the trail to ourselves all week. 
    Near St. Charles the trail runs through an elegant housing district and then you ride next to a busy road that harbors a  gravel company.  The sounds and smell of diesel assaulted our senses and culture shock began to set in.  Let me turn back now and ride this trail again to Sedalia.  Give me one more week of rain or sun, wind or calm;  the sights of red cardinals darting across my path;  listening to birds calling and warning of our impending arrival.  My legs are stronger and I want to keep working them past the soreness each morning.  I WILL COME THIS WAY AGAIN.
    At 2:10 we saw our car.  It was in fine shape and after shaking some of the mud off our pack and bodies, Mother and Jim took their bikes and pack to the Hampton Inn.  John and I went to the Trailhead Brewery for a beer.  I didn’t realize I was so wet.  The place was very cool and my jacket was in the car on the way to the hotel.  My feet were wet.  John had two beers and I had one.  We finally went outside to sit in sunshine until Jim came and picked us up.  I was very chilled and upon arriving at our room, I peeled and got in a hot bath to chase the chills away.
    We left for Columbia in 5:00 rush hour and saw four accidents.  Traffic was jammed at every turn.  We finally made it to Mother’s pickup about 6:30.  Everything was fine but my clothes that had got wet on the trip to Columbia and we had put in the pickup, were still wet.  We ate dinner at the Katy Station and although the food was good, service was VERY, VERY slow.  We got back to St. Charles about 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 2
Everyone grabbed a quick bite at the continental breakfast bar and we got loaded and started our trip to Eureka Springs.  We had to divide our clothes into two groups - wet and dry.  Wet went in the trunk with the dirty panniers and dry was in the back seat.  We got to Eureka Springs a little before 2 p.m.  Parked and got the rooms paid for.  We had to climb a daunting set of stairs twice and my leg soreness got worked out. We walked Mom and John to the Palace Bath House for their 3 p.m. mineral soaks and massages.  I was talking and not watching and stumbled on uneven pavement and skinned my hands - not badly, just startling.  Heard other people mentioning spots they had fallen at.  Must be a common malady in the Springs. 
    HEAVEN ! ! ! !  I should have a massage once a month, like clockwork.  This just feels too good.  My masseuse is the same guy who worked on John.  After my initial shock having having a male masseuse I settled in and enjoyed the treatment.
    We all met in the Basin Park Hotel Balcony for drinks as we waited for Mother to repair her hair.  She looks like a million $ and I’m chopped liver, but I don’t care.  I’ve been massaged and relaxed.  To hell with vanity.  We walked around a little, looking for a steak joint but ended up back at the Balcony Bar for their steak special with mushrooms, veggies, baked potatoes and salad.  Not only is a wedding reception going on in the hotel but also a prom.  Watching the gowns and tuxes arrive at the hotel is a hoot.
    Speaking of hoots . . . . . .our waiter is a jewel.  Mother is in love with him.  He serves her decaf at every turn.  He is built like Dwight Shockley and has a tongue piercing which he said he got 10 years ago before it was fashionable.  He didn’t remember if it hurt but it doesn’t impede his eating.  He was gay as a $3 bill but my mother wouldn’t believe it until he came out with some jewelry studded sun glasses.  He lent them to me and Jim snapped my picture.  Jim also got our picture together as we were leaving.
Sunday, May 3
Had breakfast at the Parkside Café per our waiter’s recommendation.  Great Seafood Benedict.  We walked around and did some shopping.  I found a dress to take to Europe.  It is really different and a little bit funky, like I’d like to anyway.  Stevie Nicks probably has one just like it.  We then went to the Mud Street Café for coffee mocha and deserts. A guy alternately plays his guitar and then the piano.  Very easy listening music and so relaxing.
    We finally left Eureka Springs, Arkansas about 12:15.  Mother and John followed us to Gateway where we went west and they went north.  The drive back to Oklahoma City took 4 ½ hours.

Click thumbnail for larger view of photo.

We are unloading in Columbia, Missouri.

Laurie is wondering if it will quit raining.

Well, here we go.

Here we are at Hartsburg staying with Jeanette.

John is walking his bike thru the gates. He doesn't trust himself going thru them on the bike.

The Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.

A pretty fountain by the Capitol.

The other side of the Capitol has nice flowers.

The sun finally came out so we are soaking it in.

I am beat. It was a tough day on the trail.

We made it to St. Charles, Missouri. Our first ride self contained with all of our belongings.

Laurie looking through our waiter's glasses.

Now he is trying to talk her into leaving. He really liked her.

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last modified March 12, 2013