Day 4 – June 12 – Bike for the Cure XIX – Boonville to Jefferson City MO
Everyone slept well. 4:00 a.m. came too early. Packed up our gear, and headed back into Boonville to the Meyer’s home in town. Charlotte and I had decided to drive together to Boonville, so we loaded up Alina’s and Sherri’s bikes. I drove them down to the TrailHead and off they went, towards Rocheport.
I drove back to the Meyer’s house, and we loaded up our two bikes. Fond farewells with Sharon and Don. What a blessing this couple has been.
We drove to Rocheport via US Hwy 40, the I-70, and a couple of surface streets. The general scenery was familiar because of memories of past rides. Our first ride on the KATY Trail was in 1999 when Charlotte, Evelyn Logan, and I ended the Santa Fe Trail portion of our ride and started the KATY Trail portion in New Franklin. Because of driving to Rockeport, we missed the only tunnel on the KATY Trail. Rocheport, which was founded in 1825.
This is “Lewis and Clark Territory.” Meriweather Lewis and William Clark were the iconic leaders of the Corps of Discovery who were commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the area which the US had acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Meriweather Lewis became Governor of the Louisiana Territory. He died on the Natchez Trail in 1809, at the age of 35. William Clark had a long post-exploration career. He was Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Louisiana Territory. He was the Brigadier General of the militia. He was also was the First Governor of the Missouri Territory and Superientendent of Indian Affairs. He died in 1838 in St. Louis at the age 68.
There are limestone bluffs leaving Rocheport. All along this area are some wetlands and forests with occasional glimpses of the Missouri River. The trail passes through several conservation areas, and the canopy of maples, ash, and elm trees provide homes for many birds and animals.
While Charlotte was riding, I drove the van to McBaine. The distance on the KATY Trail is about 8 miles, but by van it was about 30 miles. Had to use surface highways which took me through Columbia, the home of the University of Missouri.
Met up with Charlotte at the TrailHead in McBaine. I discovered that my e-bike assist battery hadn’t taken the charge I thought I had given it yesterday, so I had to ride 16 miles of regular peddling. The trail passes through several conservation areas, and the canopy of maples, ash, and elm trees provide homes for many birds and animals. I even spotted a deer.
The trail parallels the mighty Missouri for many many miles.
Got to Hartsburg and found Charlotte there. She had a flat front tire so couldn’t ride. Sherri and Alina arrived at about the same time I did. We sat around eating watermelon which Sherri had bought on the Thursday before we began riding on Friday. Even offered some to an aunt and her niece who were riding on the KATY for the first time.
Sherri and Alina took off riding the last leg of the route, from Hartsburg to North Jefferson. Charlotte and I loaded up our bikes and we drove into Jefferson City to a bike shop where a tech fixed the situation. Then we drove back to the TrailHead to meet up with Alina and Sherri. Loaded up the bikes and drove back into Jefferson City for Alina to buy a pair of riding gloves.
North Jefferson is at MM 143.3 Jefferson City was the first city in the US named in honor of President Thomas Jefferson. Jeff City is the capitol of Missouri, about mid-point between Kansas City and St. Louis.
Loaded up the bikes, and drove South of the River along US Hwy 50 and then up a series of hills to Lohman. Lohman is the homestead site of our friends Art and Del Ehrhart, whom we met in 1999. They have four daughters, two of whom also live in Lohman. We will be hosted at the partway underground home of Denise and Keith Ziegelbein.
They feel like extended family, very much at ease. Great people!
Lovely dinner with many family members. Four generations present, about 15 people. Lots of varied conversations going on.
Only 24 miles ridden by Charlotte and me. Alina and Sherri rode the full 52 miles. Weather has gotten fairly hot by mid afternoon.
I’m very tired but wanted to keep everyone in the loop. Keep us close to your heart, and in your thoughts and prayers.
With love from the road, in Lohman MO,
Day 5 – June 13 – Bike for the Cure XIX – North Jefferson to Hermann MO
It’s always so hard to leave Lohman with this dear and special family. (However, on the way back from Chicago, Charlotte and I will stay with Keith and Denise again, so that’s something to look forward to).
Drove back to the KATY Trail, off-loaded bikes and started riding again. Charlotte rode first, and I drove the van. The trail gently wanders through rural landscapes and several small towns which served as early railroad towns.
Tebbetts sprang up in the 1890’s. It was named after a St. Louis railroad investor, one of nine towns to carry the name of a railroad investor. A landmark there is the grain elevators. This is where we switched riding and driving. Tebbets is the “unoffficial” Geographical Population Center of the Continentl US according to a sign I saw. www.tebbets.org
Mokane is another town along the way. It was established in 1818 though it wasn’t given today’s name until the railroad came through in 1893, when a contest was held to select a new name. The name was taken from the MissOuri, KANsas and Eastern railroad (which later became the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas railroad).
Steedman is at MM 121.4; that is where Charlotte and I switched driving the van and riding our bikes. Hwy 94 parallels the KATY Trail from Jefferson City to St. Charles. It is called the “Wienestrasse” or “Wine Street.” Portland was 9 miles East. Hwy 94 veers off the parallel route and goes through the bluff that Portland sits on. Portland seems to be most noted for its fish. The largest fish ever recorded on the Missouri River was taken near here; it was a 315-pound blue channel catfish.
The trail is pretty close to the Missouri River on this next 5 mile stretch to Bluffton (MM 110.9). I shot past Bluffton and kept driving about two miles too far. I looked up to see the mile markers on the KATY and it was 108. So I had to turn around and drive back almost 3 miles. Bluffton was just a run-down vegetable stand at the base of a road up to a private campground. I had been there for maybe 15 minutes when another car pulled in. I helped direct it to park as the space was limited. The driver was a gal named Connie from Texarkana and she was driving SAG for four other family members who were riding their bikes Westward. Nice conversation helped time pass. First Sherri arrived, then Alina, and finally Charlotte. We made sure everyone had water, because the temp was pretty hot.
I rode the last 10 miles from Bluffton toward McKittrick/Hermann. A mile east of Bluffton, we skirted by the Grand Bluffs Conservation Area with a lovely view across the river bottom that includes two Lewis and Clark camp sites. Six miles further along the trail is Rhineland. Except for the Doll House B&B, built on a 5 foot high stone foundation, it is the only house to remain standing after the 1993 flood swept away or damaged the rest of the town. 30 or so houses/businesses have been re-constructed up further on the hill to the new Rhineland. I remember flying over this flooded area in 1993 on the way to a Soccer Tournament in Minneapolis MN.
McKittrick is on the North side of the river, and Hermann on the South side. Hermann is a beautiful German-flavor town founded by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia in 1836. There are lots of festivals and wineries here. The site for Hermann was originally chosen becaue of its resemblance to Rhineland in Germany. Within 10 years of Hermann’s founding, there were more than 60 family wineries in the community.
We are staying with Becky from the Evangelical Free Church, whose home has a view of the KATY Trail. What a blessing! Larger house, on 50 some acres, with lots of bedrooms. Becky fixed us a tortelini salad with peppers, lentils, tomatoes, parsley, and garlic. She also grilled brats for us (German sausages) in celebration of the German cultural foundations here. Becky has two darling Corgi doggies, Ginger and Mary Ann (like from “Gilligan’s Island.) Becky works at the Callaway Nuclear Plant which is about 5 miles north of Steedman. Her title is “Senior Human Performance Improvement Coordinator.”
Lots of visiting and relaxing here, comfortable, out of the sun. Very refreshing. Alina and Sherri drove to Hermann to soak up some of the German ambiance.
Charlotte and I each rode 20 miles. Sherri and Alina rode all 40 miles from North Jefferson to McKittrick (Hermann). Two more days on the KATY Trail. It has been a memorable trip.
With love from the wine country of Missouri,
Day 6 – June 14 – Bike for the Cure XIX – Hermann to Weldon Springs MO
Becky fixed biscuits and gravy for us for breakfast. Quite yummy. Wonderful stay with Becky. She truly was “the hostest with the mostest” and such a blessing.
Charlotte, Alina, and Sherri walked their bikes down the hill to the KATY Trail. I drove the van. Charlotte and I were supposed to rendezview near a “bend in the road” called Bernheimer but it didn’t work out. Charlotte was waiting in one place, and I was waiting in another. Poor to non-existant cell service. Finally got together but had wasted at least an hour of time, so we loaded our bikes and drove to Marthasville where we met up with Sherri and Alina.
Marthasville is where pioneer Daniel Boone and his wife were buried, she in 1813 and he in 1820. Daniel Boone was offered a Spanish land grant in 1799 for land in what is now Missouri. Their remains were supposedly removed and taken to Frankfort, KY in the 1940’s.
I started riding in Marthasville. Next town was barely four miles away. Dutzow is another town settled by German immigrants (MM 74)
Augusta (MM 66.3) was founded in 1836 by one of the settlers that followed Daniel Boone to St. Charles County. The fertile river bottom supported a booming agricultural economy and today many farms and wineries flourish. The area was quite prosperous until Prohibition was enacted in 1920. Prohibition was lifted in 1933 but all the wineries had closed. Now it is again a booming industry. In 2013 there were 128 wineries in Missouri. There is an annual Harvest Festival in the region. Blackberries and pumpkin patches are prevalent in the area.
Charlotte started riding again, and rode to Weldon Spring, which was about 10 miles. I drove the van on Hwy 94 (the Weinestrasse) and passed through Defiance (MM 59.1). That was the final home of Daniel Boone.
Rain was threatening. Sherri and Charlotte both got caught in rain, and they were soaked and the bikes full of gravel/mud. Alina and her bike got in the van at Matson, with lightning in the distance.”
Everyone met up at the Weldon Spring TrailHead. The history of Weldon Spring is unusual, with producing TNT and uranium processing during WWII and the Cold War. Cleanup started in 1986 and now it’s a lovely conservation area.
Loaded up bikes and drove to the Holiday Inn Express in O’Fallon. The church which was going to host us decided to have us stay in this motel instead. Very comfortable and relatively large room with two queens. Showers and relaxation, and everyone went to bed early.
I rode just 12 miles yesterday due to the confusion in meeting up with Charlotte.
Just one more day on the KATY Trail.
With love from the road, in O’Fallon MO,
Day 7 – June 15 – Bike for the Cure XIX – Weldon Spring to Machens MO
Got to “sleep in” this morning, although someone’s alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. Got our gear together, etc. and then went downstairs for the free continental breakfast. Large assortment for anyone’s taste. Left the Holiday Inn Express about 7:30 a.m.
This is our last day on the Rock Island and KATY Trails. We have kept up a pretty leisurely pace except the day that we had to be in Boonville at the Warm Springs Ranch by 1:45 p.m.
Drove back to the TrailHead at Weldon Springs. Sherri, Alina, and I started riding. The trail was a bit damp and the air was a bit chilly since it had rained in the night. I was to meet up with Charlotte at Greens Bottom but that didn’t happen. She couldn’t find the road so she drove on and parked at the Creve Coeur parking lot and walked her bike down to the KATY Trail. By the grace of God all of us showed up there somewhat the same time.
Charlotte, Alina, and Sherri rode on into St. Charles while I drove the van. We have been to this location a number of time before so it was somewhat familiar to me.
St. Charles was founded in 1769 as “Les Petites Cotes – the Little Hills” by a French Canadian fur trader, St. Charles was Missouri’s first state Capitol (from 1821-1826). Large trailhead at MM 39.5) Lots of festivals are held here. Memories. St. Charles is 22 miles from St. Louis.
We met up at the TrailHead. It is unusual for all four of us to ride together. It didn’t last too long. I got a flat front tire and had to walk back almost a mile to a bike shop/cafe. While I was waiting for the tech to take care of the flat, the others continued to ride towards Machens, but could only go four miles. The trail was washed out by the latest flooding of the Missouri River. They got back about the same time I got back to the station from the flat tire episode. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to ride with the group, and disappointed that I didn’t get to ride out towards Machens.
We are staying at the lovely restored home of Tom and Gail Blackman, from Immanuel Lutheran Church which has hosted us 3 times before. They live in “Midtown” St. Charles. Lovely home. Gail very friendly and accommodating. Tom looked over our bikes a little, oiled the chains after we washed the bikes off.
Dinner at the Trailhead Brewery with Sherri’s aunt Louise and her son “cousin” Bill. Charlotte and I know Louise because she and Sherri’s mother SAGged with us in 2004, and they also attended the HD Convention in 2005 in Atlanta. Fun place, good ambiance and visiting.
Back to the Blackmans. Fun folks to visit with.
The ride is now 1/2 over and therefore 1/2 to go. Tomorrow we will cross over to Illinois and be riding on Route 66.
Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
With love from the road, from St. Charles MO,
Day 8 – June 16 – Bike for the Cure XIX – St. Louis MO to Mt. Olive IL
Our hostess Gail prepared a real spread for us. Juice, fruit, egg mcmuffin, yogurt, granola, Gooey Butter Cake (a St. Louis specialty), brats, and more. What a great stay! Got our gear and the bikes loaded up and headed out to drive to the Chain of Rocks Bridge. Iconic. 30 degree bend in the middle. For bikes and walking across the Mississippi River. Well, after two unsuccessful tries to find where to park, we discovered it is not able to be accessed from the Missouri side. So … had to go to Plan B. Drove across the Mississippi River to the first Illinois exit, found Chain of Rocks Road North. Charlotte, Sherri, and Alina started riding, and I lead them, being at each turn, etc. That’s the best thing to do in unfamiliar territory.
Now following Route 66. First town we came to was Mitchell with the Luna Cafe. It dates from the 1920’s and Al Capone was known to have gone there. Continued on Old Route 66 until we got to a paved bike path which lead through Edwardsville (home of Southern Illinois University. That’s when things got confusing. There is quite a network of bike paths in Edwardsville. We reallly needed a map of the trails. It was difficult for the riders to know where to go, although we had directions on our Adventure Cycling map. Probably wasted 1 1/2 hours before some male cyclists lead them out to where I was with the van.
I started riding with Sherri and Alina about 4 miles West of Hamel. Glad to be riding finally after losing two hours waiting. It was 11:15 a.m. by then. We rode about 4 miles on a bike path parallel to the highway. Arrived in Hamel just in time for lunch. We ate at the Weezy’s Route 66 Grille. Alina and Sherri had restaurant food outdoors in a patio, and Charlotte and I ate food from our cooler. I had a tuna sandwich. Not sure what Charlotte ate. Some kind of sandwich.
Pressed onward toward Worden, still riding on a bike path called the MCT Quercus Grove Trail. Charlotte drove the van to Staunton where we all met up downtown. Just as Charlotte and I finished switching riding and biking, a big rainstorm came our way. Had to wait it out for 15 minutes or so until it passed through.
Bike path ended in Staunton so we started following Old Route 66 again. It was on secondary streets. Not too difficult.
Finally arrived in Mt. Olive. We are staying in the Zion Lutheran Church. Two families offered their homes for us to shower. Got to know some new folks.
Back to the church. The family where Sherri and Alina showered invited us to go to a Mexican restaurant in Staunton named “El Indio.” Followed “Junie” (the gal where Alina and Sherri showered) to the restaurant. Very friendly waiters and excellent food.
Back to the church at 8:00 p.m. We try to get to bed as early as possible because of our early morning waking time.
First day of Route 66 in Illinois under our belts. It is more difficult than following the KATY Trail (for sure).
I rode 14.3 miles today. Total distance of the ride was 38 miles which was a bit shorter than we had planned, due to the problems with the Chain of Rocks bridge.
Total change from the KATY Trail. Lots of Route 66 sights, smells, and sounds to experience.
Staying in Zion Lutheran Church.
The gem of Mt. Olive is the restored Soulsby Station. It is resplendent with its antique red and yellow Shell gas pumps, the station dating from 1926, sold gas along Route 66 for 65 years.
With love from the Mother Road in Southern Illinois,
Day 9 – June 17 -Bike for the Cure XIX – Mt. Olive to Springfield MO
Usual morning routine. Sprinkling just a little.
Drove to Litchfield on Old Route 66, bought gas.
We rode the Frontage Road for 24 miles. Sometimes the surface was smooth, but mostly it was spot patched and had lots of potholes. These roads are just used by locals and by “Route 66” fans like ourselves. It was relatively flat, and we pretty much had the road to ourselves.
Near Wagonner we passed the “Our Lady of the Highways” shrine. A series of signs have the words to the “Hail Mary” like Burma Shave signs.
Passed through Farmersville, and on to Divernon. Gathered on the porch of an antique store on the outskirts of town. Only one restaurant in town, “Patsy’s on the Square.” Sherri and Giovanna got meals from there and walked across the street where Charlotte and I were eating food from the cooler.
While driving around, I spotted a male touring cyclist looking at the same Adventure Cycling map that we used. Stopped to talk to him and give him some directions. He’s from Joliet IL. He is almost home from riding Route 66 from Santa Monica to Illinois.
I lead everyone out of town, on the recommended Route 66 route from Adventure Cycling maps. Got to see lots of farms way out in the country. Gradually emerged into Chatham.
Got some directions to the church in Springfield. Very helpful neighbor lady helped.
Got into Springfield. Charlotte used her cellphone GPS and got herself to the church. Rush hour traffic was horrendous. Had to either ride on the sidewalk or walk our bikes on grass.
Springfield is the state capitol of Illinois. I think there are 12 “Springfelds” in the US. Springfield is also the home of the Illinois State Fair. So … we have stayed in Jefferson City MO and Springfield IL for state capitols, and then Sedalia MO and Springfield IL where their respective State Fairs are held.
We are staying in a fairly new, multi million $$$ church on 60 acres. Springfield First (Methodist) Church. Nice youth room with four matching coffee brown couches. Very comfy.
We snuck into the back of the sanctuary. Didn’t hear the whole sermon though. The lady preacher was talking about the “missons” team their church sent to Haiti.
Hot water in showers didn’t work. Sherri and Alina took cold showers and Charlotte and I didn’t.
I ended riding almost 32 miles, the most I have ridden this year on a given day. Charlotte rode 24. We just can’t ride the longer distances we used to do.
Finally, I did find 2 pennies, one beaten up one and one shiny one. I was happy about that.
Glad to have another day under our belts. Only 4 1/2 more days of riding before we arrive at the Renaissance Hotel / HDSA National Convention.
With love from the road,