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Katy Trail Memories 1999

Left to right are:
Jim, Laurie Allshouse , Steve Wade , Brett Dufur,  Arletta , Jim Webster and Virginia Capron.
Brett signed Laurie's KATY TRAIL Book.

Story by Laurie Allshouse

The Katy Trail, an old rail line turned into a finely crushed limestone biking/walking trail by the Rails to Trails program—and some helpful money from investor Ed Jones—meanders east from Clinton, MO to St. Charles, MO, a distance of about 250 miles, more or less, depending on one’s journeys away from the main trail. A good portion of this picturesque trail runs along the bluffs and parallels the Missouri River.
    Day 1, Sat. Sept. 25. The 8 of us met at the beautifully restored Hotel Bothwell in Sedalia, MO.: my mother, Virginia Capron, who had come all the way from Wyoming to make a return visit to the Katy Trail (she and a friend and my husband, Jim, and I had ridden a portion of it last fall); Jim and Arletta Webster and Susan Walker, all from Stillwater; and Steve and Cynthia Wade from Oklahoma City made up our party. Susan had ridden a small portion of the trail previously but this was the first introduction for the Webster's and the Wades.
    Day 2, Sun.,Sept. 26. We packed our panniers on our mountain and hybrid bikes and began our trip eastward. All of us but Arletta—who rides her hybrid as though it were a road bike—were used to riding road bikes, so had to accustom ourselves to the extra weight of heavier bicycles and self-contained gear. Rain clouds threatened us but nothing transpired as we headed to Booneville 32 miles away. We stayed just across the Missouri River in the Rivercene B&B, a 19th century river boater's 15-room mansion that the State of Missouri duplicated for the present Governor’s mansion. Jim & Arletta gave high praise to the Morgan Street Repose in Booneville where they spent the night.
    Day 3, Mon. Sept. 27. Monday morning greeted us with rain that came and went most of the day. When we got to Rocheport, we found that the winery, museums and all but one of the cafes were closed on Mondays. Thankfully, the Trailside Café was open, and we enjoyed hot cherry cobbler before venturing back out on the trail.
    As we were preparing to leave, a young man started chatting with us. It just happened to be Brett Dufur, author of The Katy Trail Guidebook. This is the book I used to find all local B&B’s and to make all my arrangements. I dragged out my tattered copy, and Brett autographed it for me while one of our fellow  Katy Trail cyclists took our picture.
    When we got to McBaine, 5 of us decided to take an 18-mile round-trip detour into Columbia for lunch at the Flat Branch, a microbrewery that we had heard served great food. We were not disappointed.  However, before the 57-mile day was out, I wasn’t sure that the handcrafted beer I enjoyed at lunch was worth it, but somehow I made it to Hartsburg.
    The only place open on Monday, the local winery, had agreed to stay open until Jeanette’s (the Globe Hotel’s proprietor) people, made it into town. We did not even change out of our bicycling clothes. Just 15 minutes before their normal 6:00 p.m. closing time, we were enjoying delicious cheese-broccoli soup served in bread bowls accompanied by a glass of the local wine. It was a most welcome ending to a chilly and soggy day.
Day 4, Tue. Sept. 28. In the morning, as we were saying our good-byes to Jeanette, the rain started in earnest. It was cold and soggy with chilling breezes as we headed toward Tebbetts and the warmth and dryness of it's little general store. Mrs. Turner, the tiny, white-haired 94-year-old proprietor, isn’t normally open on Tuesdays, but (bless her) she wanted to have a place for trail users to get out of the rainy weather. We enjoyed chatting with this sweet woman as she served us hot beverages and encouraged us to stay inside  out of the rain. But the rain didn’t look like it would stop any time soon, so we continued on our way. As we worked our way eastward, we noticed more reds and oranges in the sassafras, sumac, virginia creeper, and acer maples.
    Wet, cold, and muddy we arrived at Steamboat Junction—our Tuesday night accommodations outside Bluffton and right on the Katy Trail—where Rozanna and Greg Benz welcomed us to their lovely home. This was my favorite place to stay on this trip (with the Hotel Bothwell running close behind). We hosed off our bicycles and just had time to shower and change clothes before sitting down to a wonderful evening meal Rozanna prepared for us. The men of our group were quite thrilled with the 500-channel television they found in the living room.
    Day 5,   Wed. Sept. 29. Wednesday morning was chilly but the sun was shining and the day showed promise. The trail was not soggy at all. All moisture had all been soaked up and we experienced no more of the trail grit that had caked our panniers and trailer previously. Jim Webster’s bike seemed to be a magnet for the stuff and at times looked as though it had been coated with gray attic insulation.
    Our travels today were typical, with views of bluffs covered in fall colors and of numerous squirrels, deer, snakes (particularly the brilliant green racer), and butterflies making occasional appearances. As we rode along the Missouri River, leaves fell like confetti welcoming us to enjoy a preview of the fall premiere yet to come.
    In Marthasville, we stayed in two different establishments, the Concord Hill B&B and Gramma’s House, five miles away. Both had a charm of their own, and the Concord Hill communal hot tub was a welcome item for soaking tired muscles. We all met in Marthasville at “Loretta’s Place,” an economically priced restaurant known among the locals for its salad bar and buffet. This tiny town also sports one of the best bike shops in the area, Scenic Cycles. For the second time, I left a good portion of my money behind with these most accommodating people, Terry and Cathy Turman. They also run a shuttle service that we used on Friday.
    Day 6, Thur. Sept 30 Morning dawned bright and inviting, so after a delicious frittata made with eggs fresh from Vicky and Jim’s fancy chickens, we headed for St. Charles, stopping along the way in Augusta to climb “the hill” to two local wineries where we purchased wine, cheese, bread, crackers and fruit for a picnic at the Augusta trailhead.
    Forty-eight miles later—after a delicious beer or two at the Trailhead Brew Pub—we found our St. Charles accommodations at the Baymont Inn about a mile from the Trail and Olde Town. What a beautiful historical area this downtown region was! I wish we’d spent 2 nights in the St. Charles area. Craft fairs and area celebrations occur most fall weekends and it would have been nice to experience some of the festivities. After a delicious dinner at “Concetta’s Italian Restaurant,” we walked after dark down these colonial looking streets and peeked into lighted store windows at all the antique treasures within.
    Day 7 Fri., Sept 31. Friday morning we bicycled back to Olde Town and ate breakfast at the St. Louis Bread Company. We also bought two loaves of bread for our planned picnic at the Dutzow trailhead. Then we were off—bread strapped to Steve’s trailer—for the last leg of our journey, the 44 miles back west to Dutzow. Just before Dutzow, we again climbed the bluffs, this time to the Blumenhof Winery, where we bought two bottles of wine for our picnic. At the trailhead deli, we bought cheese and fruit. We again wined and dined in picnic table style while waiting for Terry Turman to pick us and shuttle us across the bridge to Washington, where we eventually caught the Amtrak train back to Sedalia.
    Day 8, Sat. Oct 1. After a final night at the Hotel Bothwell, we returned to our homes on Saturday with pleasant memories of a great trip, entertaining traveling companions, wonderful B&B hosts, and plans for our next return trip to the Katy Trail.

And so ends Laurie Allshouse's trip account, but Susan Walker and Arletta Webster weren’t about to let a brand new 40+-mile trail segment from Clinton to Sedalia go unridden. Jim Webster agreed to pick them up in Clinton around 10:30, so Arletta and Susan set out at 7 a.m. after breakfast at the hotel. They had about 5 city miles to traverse before picking up the western trailhead, part of which took them through the county fairgrounds. Alas, they had not even cleared city limits before it started to rain . . . and it didn’t quit for the rest of the ride. It was a cold, blustery day. There was not another soul on the trail, but this part of the trail was open for horseback riding, too, so they somehow knew that others had been there before them. Both of them were glad to see Jim and the Webster van in Windsor, a good 15 miles short of Clinton. All told, they had ridden 287 miles.

 Click thumbnail for larger view of photo. Captions below

Brett Dufur, the author of the KATY TRAIL guide book is talking to Laurie.

Brett is autographing his book. He liked the fact that it was WELL used. It had been wet and had been on the bike our whole trip.

Here we all are at a KATY Trailhead.

l to r

Arletta, Jim W., Jim A., Laurie, Susan and Steve.

Whoa, we made it! This was our longest day on the trail.

We had a contest to see how many times I could get a pic of Jim Webster coming out of the BLUE room.

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last modified March 12, 2013