Tag Archives: lodging on the Katy trail

Five Days on the Katy Trail -Day Five – Boonville to home

31 Jul

The Katy Trail adventure concludes today, but we still had a breakfast to eat, and we’d heard that it would be a memorable one.  Since we didn’t have a ride ahead of us, we were able to take it easy this morning and went downstairs to eat breakfast at 9:00 am.  The innkeeper had graciously offered to prepare it early, but since our shuttle from the Bike Stop Cafe in St. Charles wouldn’t arrive until 10:00 am, we knew the customary 9:00 am time would work just fine.

We sat down in the dining room (that we had all to ourselves) to a beautifully set table.  We are celebrating our 34th anniversary today, so this lovely atmosphere was a great way to begin!

We had banana nut muffins, juice and coffee, a pineapple boat that the innkeeper told us was their signature dish, and a veggie omelette.  It was delicious and Kriss was not only an excellent cook (she has written a cookbook) but also a very sweet hostess and we enjoyed getting to know her just a bit.

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She and her husband own the inn, and she told us they were hoping to relocate closer to family in Washington state.  Therefore, they had decided to give the inn away through an essay contest!  There is an entry fee to enter the contest, but ideally that fee will generate enough money to cover the purchase price so that they can buy a new inn.  We told her we’d come stay at her new inn once they got it up and running.  (www.highstreetvictorian.com)

Promptly at 10:00 am, we were picked up right at the door of the B&B by the shuttle service from the Bike Stop Cafe in St. Charles. (www.bikestopcafes.com)

Driving the shuttle was the owner himself.  He loaded and secured our bikes in the back of the van, then we stepped in and we were off.  We made good time and were safely returned to our truck.

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Since it was lunchtime, we walked down the brick streets in St. Charles and ate at an outdoor cafe.  Our adventure had officially concluded.  We biked a total of 182 miles. We had a great time, we challenged ourselves in more ways than one, we laughed until we hurt, and met some great people along the way.  Not one time did we cross paths with an unkind or grumpy person.  There’s something to be said for Midwest hospitality.  And there’s something to be said for the independent innkeepers and mom and pop businesses in little towns.  We did not stay at a chain hotel and we did not eat at a chain restaurant.  Not that we wouldn’t, but we surely enjoyed the uniqueness of the places we stayed and ate.

As we planned for this trip, there were two resources we really enjoyed using.  One was a blog called Naptime on the Katy Trail.  It chronicled the journey of a young couple and their toddler on the Katy Trail.  I really enjoyed reading it and would recommend it if you are considering such a trip.  The other resource is a book called “The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook” by Brett Dufur.  Jimmy (the better researcher of the two of us) ordered it online, and it really is a complete guide.  We were very familiar with the trail and it helped us to not miss anything we wanted to see.  It also helped us map out our mileage based on places to lodge and places to eat (two very important components of any trip!)

Now back to the real world, but we’ll be daydreaming and thinking about the next adventure…

 

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Five Days on the Katy Trail – Day Four – Jefferson City to Boonville, MO

31 Jul

Our last morning to ride the trail began with another wonderful breakfast.  At the Cliff Manor Inn, we had the option of a 7:30 breakfast or a 9:00 am breakfast.  We chose the earlier time, as did the other two couples that were staying there the previous night.  They had driven in from Tucson and Omaha and were just beginning their Katy Trail adventure.  They were on a two week bike trip and were driving to different areas to ride.  Last week, they biked a trail through the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Hmm, something to think about for the future…   We chatted with them a bit about what we’d experienced and wished each other good rides for the day ahead.  Breakfast was cinnamon swirl french toast, ham and fruit.  The Cliff Manor Inn is owned by a man named Steve, and family members do the cooking on a rotating basis.  Sometimes it’s Steve, sometimes his wife, but today it was their son.  He did a great job and we were set for the day ahead.

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The mileage today would be our longest.  From Jefferson City to our next and final stop in Boonville, was about 52 miles.  The weather was even milder today.  I think the highs were in the upper 80s.  We grabbed our saddlebags, loaded our bikes and started off. The morning air was fresh and clean and I took lots of photos.  I love the look of the spiderwebs in the early morning sun!  As we left the Jefferson City spur, I thought it was neat to see the old rails still embedded in the pavement of the crossroad.  All the rail lines have been removed from the trail itself, guess these were stuck!

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Almost the entire route today was alongside the river.  We noticed several stands of cane or bamboo?  Not sure what it was, but it was dense in some sections. image We stopped near one of the Lewis and Clark expedition markers along the trail and chatted with an older gentleman named Charlie.  He had ridden his bike from near Hartsburg and was resting beside the river too.  He was very familiar with the trail and the area.  He told us that it was country music day at Dotty’s Cafe in Hartsburg, and that they were starting up at 9:00 am if we were interested.  He also said that Dotty’s has really good biscuits and gravy.  Too bad we’d already eaten.  We planned to stop at Hartsburg for a water break but decided to skip the country music. image So our next stop was Hartsburg, a charming little town.  A really helpful thing about the trailheads is that at each little town, it gives the history of the area, tells you what services are available, and tells you the points of interest ahead, whether you’re traveling east or west.

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I think Miss Dotty (of Dotty’s cafe) must be a nice lady, we saw this sign she had posted on the info board at the trailhead.

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As we traveled westward, we came upon a sight you just don’t see everyday.  The locals call it Boat Henge. Someone had the idea that the thing to do with boats no longer needed, was to plant them in the yard alongside the trail.  There were six of them in all, and someone had planted lillies around them.  It did make for an interesting conversation piece, and I could not resist the picture.

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We continued on from there and decided to eat lunch at Rocheport.  We passed an area right between the trail and the river called Cooper’s landing.  It consisted of a campground, a little store, bait shop, bicycle rental etc.  I think you could even pay for a hot shower.  The most unexpected thing about it though was the presence of Chim’s Thai Restaurant.  Very unexpected for this remote location in the middle of nowhere!  We passed on the Thai food and pedaled on toward Rocheport. image We had stayed the night in Rocheport on a previous trip to the Katy Trail and really liked the town.  It’s full of old buildings and nice people.  There were several options for lunch there, whether they are open or not depends on the day of the week and the business owner’s schedule.  The first place we tried, was a little trailside outdoor restaurant called the Mulberry Grill and Bakery.  It’s behind a man’s house and he has an outdoor brick pizza oven.  We thought a wood fired grilled pizza would be great! image But he was not open, so we pedaled a block off the trail and checked Main Street.We decided to eat at the General Store on Main Street.  It’s another family owned business and the owner seated us and told us the building was constructed in the 1800’s as a general store and pharmacy.  She went to the back and found an old picture taken inside the store a long time ago, showing women in long dresses and all kinds of medicines lining the shelves (the shelves behind where Jimmy is sitting).

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She gave us a history lesson on the old buildings in the town.   It turns out that members of her family owned a number of the buildings, because years ago, her  grandmother moved to town from California and bought up many of the old vacant buildings when no one else wanted them.  Members of her family have repurposed them, bringing new life back into the downtown area.

She ran the restaurant where we ate, her nephew was cooking our food, and her sister ran the antique shop right next door.  It was a fascinating glimpse into the town’s history. When the phone rang and her brother-in-law (who was standing right behind the counter) ignored it, she said, “my family drives me crazy!” Lol.  She excused herself and went to answer the phone, then brought back our food.  I ordered the broccoli and ham quiche, Jimmy ordered the hot ham and cheese. image There are many interesting sights on the trail around the Rocheport area.  We stopped at them all so I could take pictures.  Thankfully Jimmy is very patient with my endless photography!  We’ll be pedaling along at a good clip and I’ll see something I just have to capture!  He’s pretty good at stopping on a dime now, so I don’t miss that perfect shot.

The first thing we saw as we headed out of town toward Boonville, was the old railroad tunnel built in 1893.  A long bridge crosses a large creek that runs into the Missouri right as you head into the tunnel.  We watched some very big fish from the bridge.

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Another interesting thing we noticed as we headed into town, though very hard to see in the photo, were pictographs high upon the bluff.  These were first mentioned in journals in 1819 and were noted by early explorers that traveled through.  Interestingly though, these particular ones were not mentioned by Lewis and Clark, though others in the area were.  The Indians that lived here marked the bluffs in this way  They have faded over the years, but you might be able to spot the red markings on the face of the rock.  The symbol that is easiest to see is one that looks like a red Nike swish with a red dot over it in the left side of the picture.  A historical marker gives info about the Indians and the markings. imageAlso leading in to Rocheport is a cave where Lewis and Clark had camped.  It had a pretty good stream running out of it today, but also had higher ground on the side where they camped.  In their journals, they referred to the mosquitoes they encountered at every stop.  They traveled with mosquito netting to try to keep them off.  We were not bothered by mosquitoes while we were riding, but the minute we stopped, we were swarmed by them!  We traveled with Deep Woods Off wipes! (and I was very glad that Mr. Double Contingency had thought of that little detail!)  The cave is hard to see in this photo because of the dense foliage around it.

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We saw a few other small caves, some high up on the bluffs and some at trail level. image We had to pull off at this stone structure built right into the bluff.  I had read somewhere that it was used by the railroad during construction of the M-K-T line to store explosives. image We saw relics from the old rail lines all along the trail, the chiseled M-K-T logo in the face of the bluff was still visible to passers by.  Right below, was an iron pipe projecting from the limestone with a trickle of water.  Below the water drip was lush foliage all the way to the trail. imageimage

After lunch, we only had about 13 miles to go.  I saw a couple of interesting things alongside the trail, one was this glazed stone silo/building, and the other was something growing on the shoulder of the trail that looked like orange silly string.  It was some type of vining plant that I only saw in this one particular area.  I’ve never seen a totally orange vine before.

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Soon we saw the bridge that would take us over the Missouri River into Boonville, and our last night of our adventure.  I will have to admit, I was feeling a little sad knowing that this great trip was coming to an end.  We pedaled over the bridge and stopped for a photo at the peak.  In the distance over the river, you can see the old iron railroad bridge that was a lift bridge.  The center section could be raised and lowered to accomodate boat heights.  Sadly, it is set for removal and Boonville will lose that piece of railroad history. imageimage

Once again, our Bed and Breakfast for the night was at the base of the bridge and to the left.  We easily found the High Street Victorian Bed and Breakfast. (www.highstreetvictorian.com)

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We were greeted by our host, and she took us around back to the fenced in garden area where we secured our bikes, then we went inside.  The house was built in 1880 and the present owners had returned it to the style of the Victorian era.  For a period of time, it had been a restaurant, then the present owners bought it and turned it into the bed and breakfast.  All of the light fixtures are original to the house, and they had been gas, now transformed into electric.  The wood floors were cypress, which is unusual.  She said the wood had to be imported into this area because it did not grow here. She had us sign the guest book, then took us up to our room.  We’ve stayed in a variety of places on this trip, and this one was just as delightful as the others.  Our room was very Victorian and very comfortable. imageimage

We changed out of our bike clothes, got cleaned up and decided to walk around the historic district.  We had some time on our hands before our 6 p dinner reservation, and I thought it would be interesting to do the self-guided walking tour of the historic district.  We walked to the old train depot where the visitor’s center was located to get a map, but they were closed, so we just walked around, touring ourselves.

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Dinner was at the old Frederick Hotel, in the restaurant called The Fred.  It was just a couple of doors down from the B & B.  Built in 1905, it has served as a hotel, then a Greyhound bus station with restaurant, then a retirement home until 1994.  It sat empty for 10 years until the present owners bought it in 2004 and invested 4 million dollars in its renovation.  It is absolutely gorgeous.  It sits on the corner at the base of the bridge overlooking the river

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We enjoyed eating in the old dining room with the old wood floors, high tin ceilings and fans. image

Dinner was delicious.  We had a spaghetti squash fritter for an appetizer, I had chicken and he had steak.  Dessert was key lime pie for me and a chocolate bread pudding for him.

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Tomorrow  Boonville to home…

Five Days on the Katy Trail – Day Two – Defiance to Hermann, MO

29 Jul

I sprang out of bed this morning right before dawn as quick as I could move.  Not because I couldn’t wait to get back on the bike, but because I had a leg cramp like I’ve never had before!  I guess I startled Jimmy with my quick jump out of bed because he rolled over and mumbled in a very sleepy voice, “What are you doing?”  I said “Leg cramp!” through my gritted teeth.  He said, “OK” and rolled back over.  My muscles were in protest, and I couldn’t really blame them.  But today was a new day and we had more mileage to cover.  Our hosts at the Inn at Defiance prepared an amazing breakfast for us. It was freshly prepared with locally sourced eggs and produce and it was delicious.  They prepared a fruit yogurt smoothie for “dessert” and we felt well fortified for the ride ahead.  They hugged us goodbye like we’d known them for ages and made us promise to come back.

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The day started off warm and only got hotter.  We took frequent water breaks and rested more than we had the previous day, but still, it was incredibly hot.  We noticed we didn’t see many other riders out today, possibly because most of the population has more sense than us?  The humidity was high with temps in the mid to upper 90s.  The heat index was up around 110 or so, and we felt every degree. The route today took us through beautiful farmland and tiny little towns.  We are seeing more of the tall limestone bluffs that border one side of the trail with the Missouri River on the other.  The trail meanders to and from the river.  The limestone bluffs are beautiful, and I finally got a good picture today of a small bluff that was clear of the canopy.  Most of the bluffs are in deep forest and it’s been hard to get a good photo.   Below are the pictures from the first half of our ride.

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We stopped for lunch at a little village named Dutzow and found a surprisingly good lunch at the Dutzow Deli.  Jeff and Chris (from the previous night’s B & B) had recommended it to us.  We have really enjoyed eating at the small mom and pop businesses so far.  I decided I’d give the Waldorf Spinach salad a try, and asked our waitress if it was good.  She replied, I have no idea, it’s not meat and potatoes.  I told her I’d let her know.  Jimmy ordered the triple meat deli sandwich and she bragged on him for ordering something so good.  She said she knew that one was good and she guaranteed he would like it.  We both really enjoyed our food and she even filled up our camelbacks with ice and water before we left.

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A funny thing happened right before we took off.  I decided I’d better stop in the restroom before we got back on the trail, and noticed there was a key to the restroom hanging at the end of the lunch counter.  It was on a piece of metal pipe about 8 inches long and hung on a magnet so anyone that needed to use it could easily find it (and I guess not steal it since it had the pipe attached).  Anyway, I grabbed the key, let myself into the restroom and slid the latch to lock the door. It was probably 100 degrees in there since they had diverted all of the AC to the restaurant in order to keep the customers cool, or it was not air-conditioned at all.  When I was done, I reached up to slide the latch back the other way and it would not budge no matter how hard I tried.   I leaned on the door putting as much force as I could with my shoulder, then I pulled on the door and tried sliding it with the tension off.  I worked and worked and put all of my strength into it but it would not move.  I figured Jimmy would come check on me eventually, but that might take awhile.  I thought about calling his cell phone, but I’d left mine on the table.  As I was standing there deciding how to get out, I looked down and noticed the 8-inch pipe hanging from the key in my hand.  It worked just perfectly to hammer the sliding latch out of its position so that I could open the door.  I wondered if anyone could hear it (Jimmy said he did but thought a construction crew was hammering) but I can tell you I was glad to get out of that hot bathroom! I made a quick exit and though it was hot outside, it still felt better than that bathroom!

We continued on in the heat and tried to cover the miles as quickly as possible to be able to get out of the heat.  Toward the end of the ride, there was less shade and things were really heating up.  All along the trail are benches, and we really needed a rest stop toward the end.  We rode and rode, but no bench.  Finally, we just had to stop in the last bit of shade before riding in the hot sunshine again.  There was no where to lean our bikes, so we just laid them down in the trail.  I stretched out for a little rest, and would have startled anyone that came upon me I’m sure.  But I didn’t care!

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The last 15 miles were brutal and when I saw the sign to the spur that would take us to Hermann, I seriously considered getting off the bike and kissing it!  But that would have taken way too much effort, so I kept peddling.

When we got into town, we knew the general vicinity of the bed and breakfast and knew it was right off the bridge where we crossed the Missouri River.  We’d been communicating back and forth with the owner and knew they ran an antique shop and had a detached building behind them that served as the Carriage House Bed and Breakfast.  We turned left at the base of the bridge and came to the antique shop right away!  Jimmy asked if I was sure this was the right place, and I said, “Of course it is, I recognize all of this from the website!”  (How dare he!)  The antique shop was housed in an older home and had a beautiful garden full of shade right beside it with a path that led back to a detached building.  The shop was closed, but I figured the inn owner lived in that house and ran the B and B from there.  There were some other homes close by, and obviously a very nice area of town.  We got off our bikes, removed our helmets and propped the bikes against the huge oak trees in the shady back yard. We’d been instructed to call the owner’s cell phone when we arrived and she’d send her daughter right over to let us in.  We sat down in the deep shade of the back porch in the two chairs that were there and I placed the call.  As the phone rang, I looked around and noticed a garden hose laying there beside me near a fountain.  I thought about turning it on and hosing myself off, (I was just so darn hot!) which I would do if it were going to take her long to get to us.  It was such a relief to finally be there…and I quickly reached the daughter by phone.  She asked me where we were, and I told her we were sitting in the shade on the back porch of her shop.  She replied just as sweetly as possibly could, “Ummm, Ma’am, I’m here now and I’m looking out the window to the back porch and you’re not there.” Oh my goodness!!  We were sitting in someone’s back yard enjoying their deck chairs and shade and thinking of turning on their water hose!  Jimmy was all relaxed beside me until he saw the look on my face as reality hit me.  As  I continued to listen to Gretchen on the other end of the line, I mouthed to Jimmy, We’re in the wrong place!  His eyebrows shot up and his eyes began to dart back and forth and he started saying, “What?  Are we in the wrong place?”  I nodded my head yes and we quickly retrieved our bikes and high-tailed it out of there! The innkeeper’s daughter, Gretchen stayed with us on the phone until we made it to her location.  It helped to have someone on the end of the line talking us through that crisis!  We were about a block and a half off in our calculations, but finally we saw Gretchen standing at the top of hill in the alleyway that lead to the Carriage House.  The hill was very steep, and I decided I wasn’t going to try to ride up that thing with my legs of jelly.  As I tried to get off of my bike, obviously my legs had had enough with the 45 mile ride in the searing heat.  My leg caught and the saddlebag tipped the bike to the point where I could not recover.  I fell down right there on the spot, with my bike and saddlebag right on top of me.  I was ok though, and the only result of that spectacle, was that my biker credibility rating went down quite a few notches.

I cannot begin to describe the Carriage House.  It is absolutely gorgeous and Mrs. Cady and Gretchen are some of the sweetest people we’ve ever met.  This place is an absolute jewel.  Pictures cannot do it justice.  If you are ever in Hermann, MO, you must stay there.  Mrs. Cady had texted first thing this morning, wishing us safe travels and telling us she’d have a special dessert in our fridge on our arrival.  We had the choice of a peanut butter parfait pie or a New York cheesecake with a chocolate ganache.  Both homemade.  I asked if we could have one of each?  She said of course you can my dear!  (I can’t tell you how often I thought of that pie as I pedaled toward Hermann!)

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We got cleaned up and out of our sweaty clothes and walked to find a place to eat.  No way was I getting back on that bike!  The only thing we could find within walking distance, and open on a Tuesday night, was a restuarant in a neat old building that used to be a Concert Hall.  Hermann is full of old buildings and steeped in German heritage.  It is a really charming town with an old world feel.

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We were seated right away, and as we waited for our server, I made a suggestion.  I said how about we hop on an Amtrak with our bikes in the morning, travel toward Jefferson City a ways, then get off and ride in the rest of the way?  I thought it was a brilliant idea after the grueling day I’d just spent on a bike.  He just threw his head back and laughed like I was the funniest person alive.  He thought I was kidding!  I was not, but let it drop.  Jimmy had the steak again and I had a grilled cheese.  I was just too hot to eat much, but he managed to eat just fine. The food was good and once again, the people were so gracious and friendly.

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When we got back to the Carriage House, we’d been instructed to contact Mrs. Cady and go over our breakfast options.  She had left us a 2 page menu of choices!  She wanted us to choose whatever we wanted.  She helped us navigate through all the choices, made note of what we wanted and how we wanted it cooked, and bid us a goodnight.  And of course we still had our homemade pies waiting for us courtesy of Mrs. Cady.  They were delicious!

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We didn’t have a bit of trouble sleeping, and it was lights out by 9:00 pm for us!

Tomorrow, Hermann to Jefferson City – 45 miles

Five Days on the Katy Trail – Day One – Home to Defiance, MO

28 Jul

The first leg of our Katy Trail trip began in St. Charles, MO.  St. Charles is a cool little suburb of St. Louis with great historic district with little shops, restaurants, and old brick streets right near the Missouri River.  We’d arranged to leave our truck at the Bike Stop Cafe, which is located right on the trail across from Frontier Park and the old train depot that operated in St. Charles.  The Bike Stop Cafe also operates a shuttle service all along the trail, and we’ve arranged for them to pick us up at the end of the week and shuttle us (and our bikes) back to the truck.  The cafe has a great little lunch menu, and since we’d arrived in St. Charles at lunchtime, we enjoyed a nice lunch before we hit the trail.

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The temperature was 91 degrees when we got on our bikes around noon.  Our saddlebags were full with what we’d need for the week, and at first I was a little nervous about the extra weight of my bag.  I’d not ridden with a bag before this trip, and I estimate mine weighed at least 30 pounds or so.  I was afraid the bike would be harder to pedal but I really didn’t notice a difference.  What I did notice was that it was easier to lose the bike’s balance, especially when I stopped to take a photo and balanced the bike between my legs.  I had to be very careful to keep the bike upright, because when it began to lean, it was hard to recover.  At the end of the day, I dropped my bike while I was snapping a photo of the path off of the trail to our B & B.  But the saddlebag and all my stuff remained intact, and the only harm was to my dignity.

We saw some beautiful countryside today, and most of the trail was covered with a good deal of shade.  There was a constant breeze which really helped to keep us comfortable in the hot temperatures.  Our original plan for this first day was to be very conservative and ride just 20 miles to our first night in Defiance.  We were beginning our journey after lunch, in July, during the hottest part of the day and we figured that would be about all we could do.

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About 14 miles into that plan, I stopped to take a photo of the limestone bluffs, and a gentleman that was hiking with a tall shepherd’s hook (I’d passed him a short distance back) called out to me when he saw that I’d stopped and asked if I wanted to see a picture of a rattlesnake.  (Not especially, but I didn’t want to be rude)  I agreed and he approached with his cell phone in hand and found the picture of the timbler rattler he’d taken on the trail just a week ago.  It was huge!  And I very much hoped I didn’t see one today.  The “sheperd” then asked me where my accent was from.  I thought that was a funny way to ask, but I told him I was from Kentucky.  He was from Georgia but had relocated to the area and was a history buff.

By this time, Jimmy had doubled back to see what was taking me so long with the photo, and he got in on the history lesson as well.  The “shepherd” told us we were riding into Missouri’s wine country, and that all the vineyards we would pass were planted by German immigrants.  The soil and climate is very good for growing grapes.  He also said that few people realize that cuttings from the old Missouri vineyards are how the famous vineyards in California got their start.  And that even the grapes that grow in France today, suffered a severe blight decades ago, and had to be replanted from the hardy grape stock of the Germans in Missouri.

He was really interesting to talk to, and you could tell he loved to talk!  Before we parted ways, he told us two things;  one was to be careful on the trail ahead because it was heavily populated with snakes and that he’d even seen a bobcat or two on the trail.  Second, when he found out where we were headed for the night, he said we had to try the homemade rootbeer just a short distance past our destination. He bid us a safe trip and we were off.

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I don’t know if it was the heat or the fatigue, but I couldn’t stop thinking about those two things.  As I rode, I began to scrutinize every stick laying in the path to make sure it wasn’t a snake as I scanned the brush along the trail side for bobcats.  Plus I was suddenly very much craving a rootbeer!  It was hot, I was sweaty, and a rootbeer seemed the only solution, especially a homemade one!  When we got to our turn-off for Defiance, it was just 2 pm and we figured it was too early to check in to the B & B, so why not ride the extra little bit for a real homemade rootbeer.

So we did, but the “shepherd” had forgotten exactly how far that rootbeer was.  By the time we’d gotten the rootbeer and come back to the turn off to Defiance, we’d ridden an extra 15 miles, making for a 35 mile day.  But it was a really good rootbeer at a pretty little hillside spot overlooking the trail.

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His predication about the snakes was accurate though.  We were cruising back at about 12 miles an hour and Jimmy was looking down at his speedometer or something on his bike.  I saw a very large black snake in the trail but could not warn him in time, we were going too fast.  He ran over it with his bike (both tires!) but it crawled off so I guess it survived.

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When we arrived back at Defiance, we were greeted at The Inn at Defiance (www.thedefianceinn.com) by our sweet hosts, Jeff and Chris.  They absolutely exude hospitality and made us feel so welcome.  They told us they’d worried about us all afternoon in this heat, and gave us ice cold water bottles as soon as we came in to the wonderful AC!  They have thought of every little detail and comfort here!  They personally showed us around the entire inn, encouraging us to make ourselves right at home.  They were delighted that we were from Kentucky, because they’d never had guests from Kentucky before, so they invited us to walk up to the top floor library, where they had large maps of the US and the world mounted on the wall.  They wanted us to pin our location in Kentucky along with all the other pins that were already on the maps.  Jeff offered me a box of different colored pins, and I chose a blue pin for the Bluegrass state and UK.  Go Big Blue!  It was quite an honor and pretty cool to see all the pins from all over pinned to their map.  And while we got out of our sweaty clothes and got cleaned up, they waited for us in the sunroom with a tray of grapes, cheeses, and German meats.  As we enjoyed our snack and another bottle of water, they got out a map of the Katy trail and gave us some great tips on must see things along the trail as well as places to eat.  Chris and Jeff have ridden the trail since it opened 25 years ago and they were a great source of information.

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We talked to them for over an hour, then knew we better walk next door to dinner and let them get on with their evening.  They don’t live at the inn, but gave us their home and cell numbers in case we needed anything during the evening.  They also offered to come in early to prepare breakfast earlier, so that we could beat the heat as much as possible tomorrow, so we are really thankful for that!

The only restaurant open in this little town happens to be right next door.  So we walked down to Defiance Roadhouse, where the Monday night special was a strip steak.  Jimmy had the steak and I had the chicken caesar wrap.  After reading the signs posted all around the restaurant stating that “Absolutely No Glassware Used on the Weekends”, we were glad that we were there on a Monday night.  Not sure what happens on the weekends, but I don’t think I want to know!  The food was good though,and when we finished, we walked back up the little hill to our room, where we had chocolate chip cookies waiting for us as well as a sticky note on our door wishing us a good night.

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Tomorrow, Defiance to Hermann…