Burning up the KATY Trail
What kind of idiot plans a trip down the KATY Trail during the hottest part of the summer? Furthermore, what kind of idiot starts the ride at noon the day after the region reportedly suffered through 112 degree heat?
Guilty as charged…but it seemed like a good idea when we planned it several weeks ago! Actually, it could have been worse. We survived!
But, to start at the beginning, we’ve had this little trip on the books for a few weeks now. The plan is to start at Tebbets on the KATY, ride to Sedalia, spend the night, then return. We’ll stop halfway in Rocheport in between.
We didn’t particularly have an auspicious start, as it was already blazing hot as we got the bikes ready, and we found that the trailhead at Tebbetts was devoid of water! Eventually, we found a spigot at the back of the Methodist Church, so we at least managed to get started with four full bottles!
As we headed down the trail, the first few minutes were enough for us to figure out that the shaded portions of the trail were going to be quite a bit more pleasant than the exposed flats. The good news is that at least we were making our own breeze and as long as we were careful to make our stops in the shade, the temperatures were tolerable, although we knew we were flirting with 100 degrees.
As we pulled into the North Jefferson trailhead, we noticed an older gentleman walking around. As we dove under the shade and started the process of refilling our water bottles, he was gracious enough to offer us two cold bottles from his cooler! You bet we took him up on that offer!
Earl was down from Iowa with his sons as they rode the trail. He had dropped them off at Hartsburg and planned to meet them in Tebbetts, but after seeing Tebbetts he came back to meet them at Jefferson. Unfortunately, we’re pretty sure he missed them because we passed a group of guys standing in the shade not a half mile from the trailhead.
About half-way between Jefferson and Hartsburg, we got our first close look at the Missouri River. I was honestly expecting it to be lower than it is. We noticed a few big sand bars, but nothing extreme. We didn’t see any barge traffic all day, however, so it might be on the low side.
Hartsburg would be about our half-way point for the day, and we were both starting to crave a cold soft drink and dessert. You see, we knew there was a decent cafe there, so we used that rabbit to keep us motivated.
We pulled into Hartsburg around 3:00, and were disappointed to learn that the nicer cafe was closed. There was a little bistro/bar open, so we stopped and paid way too much for a fruit plate and drinks. As we were sitting there, someone walked in and said it was 103 out there. When we left, we agreed that it was at least that hot!
Just east of Hartsburg are a series of what I call fish camps along the river. Mostly populated with trailers and other temporary structures, we just don’t understand how folks live like that. They’re pretty dumpy, but just outside one of them, we discovered “boathenge”.
By this point, Pam really started struggling with the heat. We had been trying to drink a lot, but we were getting to the point where her stomach started to revolt every time she took a drink of water.
As we pulled into McBaine, Pam spotted a building a few blocks up the highway that looked like a c-store and immediately headed there in search of a Gatorade. It turned out to be a bar, but they did have Gatorade. It was exactly what she needed. She sucked that thing down and immediately started perking up. Problem solved. She must have been getting a little dehydrated. I believe she felt fine the rest of the day.
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