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May 9, Friday
By our original schedule, we weren't supposed to be in St. Louis until May 13 so that we could fly home to Lynchburg on the 14th. Now, with several extra days on our hands, we will ride the Katy Trail and Ann agreed to pick us up in Boonville, some 150 miles west of St. Louis. Ann shuttled us from her house to the trail and we were underway by 9 am. Our ride through suburban St. Louis passed by fashionable and expensive homes with nicely manicured lawns. We passed by Creve Coeur Lake and noticed a number of rowing sculls in a storage area for use on the lake. From the lake to St. Charles we rode into the wind on busy 4 lane roads. St. Charles is a trendy town with a nicely restored area. We ate lunch in a cafe, stopped at the tourist center where we gobbled up free cookies in honor of national tourism week, and saw Missouri's first capitol building. Then we picked up the Katy Trail and headed out of town. On our way out of town, we passed a riverboat casino. Now, we had been seeing a number of these casinos on our trip through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois and had never stopped at one. But today, we had plenty of time and thought we might not get another chance to visit one, so we went in. It was another world with thousands of flashing lights, lines of people, and "boarding passes" as if the boat was going to actually move. We bought twenty dollars worth of tokens for the slot machines, divided them between us, and said when it's gone, we're done. Within ten minutes, Laurie had won a $20 payoff and Bill a $60 payoff plus a couple smaller ones. We said "Let's go." and cashed in our chips and walked out $70 ahead. Yea, another B&B! Back on the Katy Trail, we rode to Defiance where we met Steve Henry, a friend we had talked to on AOL but never met. He picked us up and took us back to his house for the night. Steve is a wonderfully personable guy with tons of outdoor adventure experience. He has written a mountain bike book for the Ozarks and he leads several guided trips each year to the Ozarks and Utah. His company is called Out There Adventures and his screen name is The Katy in Katy Trail is the nickname for the MKT railroad, or Missouri, Kansas, & Topeka. The rail trail was formerly owned by MKT.

41.4 miles 10.6 mph 3 hours 52 minutes

May 10, Saturday
Steve is a bachelor who keeps a neat house and he's an excellent cook. Our breakfast was sausage gravy over biscuits plus scrambled eggs, cheese, & sausage. We were joined today by Pete Fornoff, "Broknspoke", who has been our internet contact for this trip and who has been sending our journals to all of you. Steve & Pete drove their cars to Bluffton, 50 miles west of Defiance, where we left Pete's car. Steve took the three of us plus Pete's bike back to Defiance and we rode the trail westward. Unfortunately, Steve had to go to work. The Katy is a good example of how these rail trails really stimulate the local economy. At each little town we passed, we saw delis, bike rental shops, stores, and Bed & Breakfast inns doing an active business. It being a Saturday with the best weather so far of the spring season, we saw perhaps 100 other bike riders today. The trail at times was right next to the Missouri River and at other times was right beneath 100 to 200 foot high bluffs. About 15 miles from our destination of Bluffton, Bill had an unusual failure on his bike. As he was remounting, the bolt holding the seat onto the post fractured. Having no spare bolts of this size, Bill rode standing up or carefully balancing on the wobbly seat for the next five miles. At the next road crossing, he was able to get a 1/4" bolt to make a temporary fix. We ate dinner at the next trail town and then rode on to Bluffton where the B&B was full but we were able to sleep in the owner's RV. Anything for a shower. We said goodbye to Pete and really enjoyed his company today.

54.6 miles 12.0 mph 4 hours 31 minutes

May 11, Sunday, Mother's Day
Doug Rendleman (the owner of the B&B) fixed us a great breakfast of french toast and we were underway by 8 am. The first hour rolled by smooth and easy. Then, a serious west wind kicked in that stayed with us the rest of the day. At the little town of Tebbetts, we saw that the worship service at the Methodist church was about to begin. The greeter invited us in so we entered the small but attractive church with about 30 other members of the congregation. The pastor gave a fitting tribute to Mary and all modern mothers. Laurie received a red carnation on the way out which she stuck in her handlebar bag. We were invited to lunch by a couple but had to decline due to 25 windy miles to cover and a thunderstorm predicted for the early afternoon. We arrived in Hartsburg and checked into the Globe Hotel, which is being lovingly restored by Jeanette, the owner. We then went to The Hitching Post, the local bar and restaurant, and listened to a group of 10 local bluegrass musicians who come to jam every Sunday afternoon. Hartsburg is a popular destination for Sunday bike riders as it is only 10 miles from Jefferson City, the capitol of Missouri. These kinds of experiences really add to the enjoyment of this trip and would probably not be encountered in a regular car trip across the country. Later, we ate dinner with Bob, 77, and Joe, 68, two friends who were biking the Katy Trail together and had great fun laughing and conversing with them. Bob, who has lived in California for the past 12 years and frequently rides his bike on the Huntington Beach bike trails, thought the Katy Trail would be great if only it were paved. We were loving it the way it is.

44.4 miles 10.4 mph 4 hours 13 minutes

May 12, Monday
The spring weather is beautiful here and the Katy Trail is wonderfully maintained for its entire distance. Indeed, it has the best consistently groomed pathway for its entire length of any unpaved bike trail we have ever ridden. We planned a short day so that we could get picked up by Ann to return us to St. Louis so we could fly home for Chrissy's graduation from UVA. We passed through another area of really tall bluffs today, the highest that we had seen thus far. We also passed Lewis and Clark Cave, which was mentioned in the journals of their 1804 journey to the Pacific. At one point, Laurie ran over a snake on the trail that she didn't see in time. We saw a few other black snakes cross quickly ahead of us after apparently looking both ways. When we got to Rocheport we stopped at the Trailside Cafe for a second lunch. They were also able to supply us with the needed seat bolt. After asking about local B&B's, we decided to ride on in search of a less expensive place to stay and somewhere to store our bikes for the week we would be away. In New Franklin, we met John James of Roundhouse Campground who consented to keep our bikes and directed us to his parents B&B. We went to town that evening and did our laundry so that we could leave all our gear and clothes in Missouri, except what we were wearing.

38.9 miles 10.3 mph 3 hours 43 minutes 1532 miles total

May 13, Tuesday
Bill's cousins, Ann & Bill, picked us up and drove us the 2 1/2 hours back to St. Louis for our flight back tomorrow. In the afternoon the Bills toured the Haack's business while Ann took Laurie to the botanical gardens.

As we return to Lynchburg, we calculate that we have completed a little over one third of the American Discovery Trail and are about halfway through Missouri. So far, this has truly been a journey of discovery of America — its people, its scenery, and its culture.

We will be home in Lynchburg until the morning of May 21. If any of our readers have questions or comments about this trip or about the American Discovery Trail, or if you just wish to say "Hi" and offer your encouragement, we invite you to email us at We will try to give a personal reply to anyone who writes. If there is enough subject matter in your questions to publish an additional chapter, we will do that before we hit the trail again.

To our AOL friends, we will be in the Backpacker chat room as featured guests on Thursday, May 14 from 9 to 10 Eastern Daylight Time.

© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1997, Lynchburg, VA.
The Happy Feet

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