Burning up the KATY Trail

Day1 003What 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!

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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.

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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!

Day1 013 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. 

Day1 018About 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.

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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.

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  Day1 029 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!

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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”.

Day1 041 We couldn’t fathom what in the world would make someone go to that much work!

Day1 043 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.

Day1 047 Day1 048 We stopped and sat a few minutes at the Split Rock Natural Arch, but her stomach wouldn’t settle while we sat, so we mounted up and pointed ourselves in the direction we needed to go.

Day1 052As 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.

Day1 057 Day1 058 We stopped to check out the Lewis and Clarke cave.  Pam noticed a nice cool breeze flowing out of it and I was concerned she might not want to leave!

Day1 060Day1 063 At this point, we were just a couple of miles from Rocheport, so we were nearly home.  We pulled in about 6:45 and made a bee-line for our accommodations for the evening.

Day1 067 We did it!  We survived what we knew would be the hardest day of the trip.  The rest should be much easier on us than the 47 miles we rode this afternoon.

God bless…


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3 Comments on “Burning up the KATY Trail”

  1. Pondero Says:

    Thanks for the report. I’ve been wanting to come up there are ride the entire trail for a couple of years now. As luck (and limited time) would have it, I’ll actually get a chance to ride the Frisco Highline Trail next week.

    I think I’ll try for an earlier start…

  2. Michael Says:

    That looks like a beautiful trail to spend a couple days on.

  3. morick58 Says:

    The Katy trail is a good ride no matter when a person is able to go. I rode it in June with the DNR and plan to do a few short trips, one with my cycling group in October and the BikeMO ride in August. I’m glad you were able to go.

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