May 14, 2004

5/14/04 St Charles MO

49 miles (72 total) miles

The weather report said we had 4 to 5 inches of rain yesterday and I believe it. Listening to it continue to rain made it awfully hard to get out of bed. But rain or no, we were going. I said my "see ya' later" to Nomad and Dwinda and headed out into the steady rain. At least it wasn't like yesterday's deluge. I was a little exposed riding the path along the canal levee but it was pretty flat.

Chaos was the order of the day at the Lewis & Clark State Memorial Center. Tour buses full of seniors and yellow school buses were dropping off way too many people for the few places sheltered from the rain. But even with that, my aunt Juanita yelled at me from the crowd. It was so nice to have a familiar face to see me off. Unfortunately almost everything at the Center was canceled. That didn't seem to dampen anyone's spirits though.

The surprise of the day was that Jim Fogel, a friend and cyclist from Kansas City, and I were the only cyclists there to start the Lewis & Clark Trail on the anniversary. I mean no one else showed up. Maybe because of the rain? I don't know. But I did meet a guy, Neil Rosenblad, who is going to kayak up the Missouri. Last year he floated the Ohio and Mississippi following the route taken after the keelboat was built. And including Nomad, that made only four of us hearty souls following this history.

The good news was that the rain had almost stopped. At Wood River Creek, I found two of the Lewis & Clark pirogues tied up with several re-enactors standing watch. Peter Belt said they were part of the group that was going to recreate the entire two and one half year journey for the Bicentennial. Now that would be a great trip.

Cropland in Missouri

Crossing the Mississippi

Still pretty cloudy as I stopped for lunch at Alton, IL. From there it was a pleasant ride along the bluffs to Grafton where I caught the ferry across the Mississippi. Jim had given me directions for a shorter, more pleasant route to St Charles and he didn't steer me wrong. With the cooler temperatures, flat roads, and a tailwind, it was almost a perfect afternoon for a ride.