When day three rolled round, Josh Miller and I loaded our bikes into the automobile and drove thirty minutes south to the city of Sedalia. There, we assembled our rigs and ready ourselves for the 5-day journey throughout Missouri on the well-known Katy Path. Earlier than we hit the highway, we explored the Sedalia station and spoke briefly with three tour leaders from the Journey Biking Affiliation. They had been in the course of main a tour on the path – with 50+ riders heading in our path from the far aspect of the state.
Round 1 PM we lastly hit the path.
As is typical with most first days of bicycle journey, our first few miles had been nauseatingly gradual. We stopped steadily to take photographs and modify our saddles, handlebars and panniers. However we had been in no rush. The path was flat and the climate was good. A bit chilly, however good general.
Earlier than we even left the boundaries of Sedalia, we noticed three white-tailed deer in a close-by meadow. I used to be profitable in snapping a photograph of one in all them earlier than all three darted off into some close by timber. Josh made a remark about seeing tons of of feminine deer throughout his time in Missouri, however by no means seeing a male. I used to be decided to attempt to spot one throughout my go to to the state, however sadly I by no means did.
After crossing a number of busy roads and driving round giant swimming pools of water that had flooded out the path totally, we finally left town limits and cycled our manner right into a darkish inexperienced tunnel made from leaves and branches that appeared to stretch on without end and ever.
It’s these limitless inexperienced passageways that many cyclists oftentimes dream about. They’re stunning, straightforward to journey, and visitors free. It’s straightforward to see how a scene resembling this is perhaps the best biking existence.
I too was joyful to be contained in the limitless inexperienced tube. It was stunning… and it jogged my memory of the same stretch of highway that I traveled by means of in the summertime of 2004 whereas biking throughout Vancouver island in British Columbia, Canada.
Whereas there have been miles and miles of path surrounded by tall, lush, darkish foliage, there have been a number of spots within the path that opened as much as the surroundings that’s Missouri. Most of those openings had been at locations alongside the path the place the path crossed over a highway or bridge… and Josh and I took these brief alternatives to snap photographs and get a way of place. After driving within the inexperienced tunnels of the Katy Path for such an prolonged time period, it was good to really see the world outdoors of the remoted path.
“We might journey all the best way throughout Missouri,” I mentioned to Josh as we rode alongside, “…and never see a factor however this limitless inexperienced tube.”
After greater than an hour’s price of driving, Josh and I reached the tiny city of Inexperienced Ridge. We had been excited to see that town had a restroom, consuming fountain, benches and an awning in place for cyclists passing by means of on the Katy Path. We used this chance to cease, replenish our water bottles and soak within the historical past of Inexperienced Ridge, Missouri.
After our brief break in Inexperienced Ridge, it was time to get again on the path… and again inside our unending cover.
Shortly earlier than reaching town of Windsor, we climbed to the best level on the Katy Path. A small brown signal marked the spot. Solely 955 ft.
One of many issues that draws so many individuals to the Katy Path is that it has virtually no elevation acquire in any way. And should you journey the path from West to East, it’s nearly a wholly downhill shot. Even should you had been to climb from the bottom level on the path to the best, you’d nonetheless solely be gaining about 650 ft in complete elevation. Heck, I do greater than that each day once I journey my bike to the grocery store to get my groceries.
The path actually isn’t steep, however the journey (for us at the very least) was removed from straightforward.
It was at about this level in our journey that we started to note simply how troublesome it was to journey on the sandy path that’s the Katy Path.
Beneath regular circumstances, we had been informed that driving the Katy Path was very like driving on a daily paved highway. However after days of rain, the trail was now smooth and driving in a straight line was almost inconceivable (Have a look at the tire tracks within the photograph under. Do you see how they wiggle about?). Josh described the expertise greatest when he mentioned, “It’s like driving your bike in seaside sand.” And I couldn’t agree extra! Whereas it was good to be driving on a devoted bike path and never having to fret in regards to the hazard of passing automobiles, I discovered myself dwelling for these temporary moments when the path crossed a paved highway and my bike might lastly coast alongside because it’s meant to do. Coasting on the Katy was just about inconceivable… which meant resting too was out of the query. There have been two choices at this level. 1) Cease. Or 2) put your head down and pedal. So we pedaled on.
As soon as we reached town of Windsor we determined that we might go no additional. We had plans of biking an extra twenty miles to town of Clinton, earlier than turning round and driving again the identical manner we had come, however we received a late begin, took our candy time, and greater than something, had been stunned at simply how tiring the flat path was. So we referred to as it a day and determined to get meals and arrange camp.
There have been few locations to eat on the town, so Josh and I did the unimaginable – we ordered a cheese pizza from a gasoline station! For $9.99 USD, we had been made a “contemporary” cheese pizza by an skilled prepare dinner at Casey’s Basic Retailer.
“Solely in America,” I believed to myself, as Josh positioned our order. I then spent an excellent fifteen minutes recounting all the nice pizza I had eaten when touring by means of Europe final 12 months with my bicycle. “If you would like some good pizza,” I mentioned to Josh, “Go to Macedonia!”
After our pizza was ready, we returned to the Katy Path and took a seat on one of many picket shelters that had been erected there.
As we sat and ate, dozens of Amish horses and buggies drove previous. I snapped photographs of as many as I might – shocked at simply what number of Amish had been roaming round this small mid-western city.
Though we had spent a number of hours biking the Katy Path that day, we had seen few different folks. “I suppose we’re the one ones loopy sufficient to attempt to journey the path when a lot of it’s flooded out,” I believed to myself. However in Windsor the path was a reasonably used path by means of city. At one level a small group of older males on bikes rode previous… and several other people strolling their canine waved as they strolled by as properly.
Then, a loud rumble stuffed the sky and three B2 Bombers flew overhead. Josh knowledgeable me that there was a army base close by and that the B2 Bombers had been considerably well-known on this explicit space due to the truth that so most of the bombers are saved and examined right here. In a single day I went from having by no means seen a B2 Bomber in my complete life to seeing three of them in a ten minute time span.
After ending our greasy pizza pie (which was significantly better than I anticipated it to be (or perhaps that’s just because the each of us had been so hungry)) we jumped again on our bikes and headed to the south aspect of city, the place we paid $5.00 every to arrange our tents in what gave the impression to be town park. Simply throughout the best way was a small lake/pond.
After discovering the world of the park that had been put aside for tenting, we went to work on establishing our tents.
Previous to my arrival in Missouri, Josh had bought a small 2-man tent that I immediately acknowledged. It was the Wenzel Bivy/Tent – the identical tent I had used on my first two bike excursions. And I immediately knew it was a tent that Josh was not going to love.
NOTICE: If you’re going to purchase a tent, DO NOT BUY THIS TENT. It prices about $20-$30 USD and it’s a traditional instance of “You get what you pay for.” The primary downside with this tent is that it’s poorly ventilated, that means that after you climb inside it at evening, it’s nearly inconceivable to flee within the morning with out getting completely drenched. The warmth out of your physique builds up contained in the tent and creates large condensation drops on the roof of the tent. Then, as you progress about throughout the evening (or within the morning), these large drops of water start to fall on you, your sleeping bag and no matter else you might need contained in the tent with you.
For sure, I knew Josh was going to have troubles, so I watched and laughed as he went about establishing his “prized piece of tenting gear.”
After a bit trial and error, we had each of our tents erected… and some extra minutes of daylight to spare. So we took a stroll across the close by lake, simply in time to seize the sundown.
Because it grew darkish, we walked again throughout our campsite, down the highway and thru the timber till we arrived at Sonic – a quick meals “restaurant” that appears to be present in almost ever small and huge metropolis in Western Missouri. We ordered some ice cream and french fries and frolicked for a couple of minutes beneath the neon glow of the EverydayValue Meal.
Now totally stuffed on junk meals, we returned to our tents, mentioned goodnight and hit the hay. It took Josh a number of minutes to climb inside his tiny tent… and I giggled to myself as I considered him waking the subsequent morning to the downpour I used to be so positive was coming.
It had been an excellent first day on the well-known Katy Path… but when we had been going to finish your entire path within the subsequent 4 days, we had been going to have to select up the tempo.
Keep tuned for my subsequent installment of “Adventures from the well-known Katy Path”… coming quickly to BicycleTouringPro.com! I’ll put up my subsequent article in just some days.