May 22, 2001

5/22/01 Sedalia, MO

74.9 miles

Silently slipped out of the house early today, trying not to wake up Matt or Brian. The guys were great hosts, with a wonderful home. I need to make time to visit them when this trip is over, maybe to do some single-track mountain biking. Plus I need to beat Brian in ping pong.

The plan was for me to meet Jim in Rocheport, some 20 miles away. The ride on the MK&T spur was a little chilly, but the sun was out, promising a good day. I was surprised at how many people were on the trail this early for a run or to walk the dog.

Limestone bluffs

At one point in the miles leading to Rocheport, you find a cave documented to have been used by the Lewis & Clark expedition. As I ride along these massive bluffs, I wonder what those early explorers thought as they traveled upstream. The forest and rock seem so impenetrable, but did they wonder at the bounty hidden on this land?

Saw a group of eagles and was mesmerized at their effortless flight near the river bluffs. Just amazing.

There is a marker honoring Edward D. Jones, Jr., who had a dream of using the abandoned M-K-T railroad as a pathway connecting many of these small communities with others looking to get outdoors. He was able to acquire the whole railroad bed and put up most of the money for the trail's original construction. Because of the devastating flood in '93, the official opening of the Katy Trail was in 1996.

Talked with a few cyclists at the Trailside Café in Rocheport while waiting for Jim. He arrived just about the time the café opened for breakfast. What timing!

It really looked like we were in for a great sunny day, even a little cool.

It was kind of different riding with someone beside me to talk with. We crossed a very windy bridge to enter Boonville. The city is all abuzz because of the new gambling river boat being built. The old factory is going to be converted to apartments and other historic buildings hopefully will be restored.

All Aboard in Boonville, MO

The Spanish-style depot is the only one still standing and houses the information office. I described my grandfather's appliance business in Boonville and the woman remembered it. She also told me that my mom's old school, St. Peter & Paul, still gives a first class education, but they did close the high school (the average graduating class was only 15-20).

The winds still seemed to plague us as we left Boonville. We started to see more frequent black clouds cross our path ahead. Just as we planned to stop in Pilot Grove for lunch, a quick storm moved in.

Brian had just opened up Hunters Hideaway Café the week before, but business seemed good. As we ate, one gentleman asked about our trip, when I told him my family was from Pilot Grove. At the mention of Gramlich, he said, "that family that just left was part of the Gramlich's. And I hate to admit it," he smiled, "but I'm probably related to you, too." I wish I knew more about my family here. I'll see my grandmother in a few days, so I need to ask her again.

The whole afternoon was spots of rain with windy dry spells. As we got closer to Sedalia, I thought we were going to be drenched. The trail ends at the edge of the city, so Jim helped guide me through the city to the campground at the state fairgrounds.

Storm clouds in front of us

The weather is so fickle! Just as we arrive, the sun comes out again. Looks like all this wind is pushing all the weather through here. Reports call for clear skies tonight, but a lot colder. Hoping to do a long ride into KC tomorrow, but wish to miss the predicted afternoon rain showers. Only 20 miles left to do of the Katy Trail, then it's back on pavement to home.