Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip

Saturday, October 16, 2010

SUMMARY - Thanks for joining us on our blog and following our bicycling adventure.  As of now, this blog has had 872 visits during our 6 week trip.  There were 825 hits from the U.S., 40 from Canada, 6 from the United Kingdom and 1 from Singapore.  A special thanks to the Proctor's (Kendrick & Michelle) and the Ligon's (Mike & Karen) and their friend, Jim, who helped us when we needed it the most.  We traveled 2153.7 miles on this trip and pedaled for a total of 198.81 hours which averages to 10.83 mi/hr.  We covered an average of 50.1 miles per day, but there was one day that we did not travel at all due to weather.  Without that day our average was 51.28 miles per day.  Our bike, trailer and all gear weighed 184 lbs., including our body weight we were a total 510 lbs. rolling down the road!  Our max. speed was 47.5 mi/hr and our highest mileage day was 75.9 miles.  If you would like to be included in an e-mail notice for any future adventure blogs of ours, just e-mail us at:  stewyx2@ctcis.net  and we will let you know the web address of our next travel blog.
     Misc. expenses - $495.96   All food (dining out & groceries) - $1147.10   Lodging (camping & motels) - $1494.34   Spending 6 weeks on a bicycle adventure with my best friend - Priceless!

Friday, October 15, 2010

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Mayor of Higginsville, Bill Kolas, in the Homecoming Parade

Dennis & Geri before and after photos (see above)
 Day 43 - With such a short distance to pedal to get home, we took our time leaving the motel and I got caught up adding photos and videos to our blog.  I was several days behind with no Internet available for my computer.  We finally got on the road at 10:30 AM.  What a beautiful day it was!  The temperature was perfect and the wind was very light.  It was amazingly warm for the middle of October.  We had an uneventful trip to Higginsville with just one stop during the 32 mile ride at Alma, MO. for lunch.  We made good time and arrived back home before 2:00 PM after averaging 11.6 mi/hr.  As soon as we pulled up in front of the house we heard a marching band playing, so we pedaled a few blocks without unloading anything and discovered that the high school Homecoming Parade was just starting.  How appropriate to arrive home to a Homecoming Parade!  Now, it's time to get to work unpacking and cleaning up everything from 6 weeks of traveling.  If anyone is still reading this and is interested, a complete summary of the statistics from our big adventure will be posted by tomorrow afternoon.  That will be the final post to our blog.  If you enjoyed following our blog and would like to be informed of a future blog of one of our adventures, just e-mail us at:  stewyx2@ctcis.net  and we will let you know when we go wandering again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Barge on the Missouri River beside our campsite at Huntsdale, MO.

Looking up at the bluffs along the Katy Trail north of Huntsdale, MO.

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videoDay 42 - Do you know how hard it is to get out of a nice warm sleeping bag and start packing up camp in the cold so you can pedal a bike for nearly 60 miles?  No, of course, you don't!  You have sense enough to sleep in a heated house and drive a car!!  Anyway, we stayed in bed late and didn't get traveling until 10:15 AM.  The morning lighting was great on the bluffs along the Missouri River as we pedaled north.  We stopped for a very late breakfast in Rocheport, MO.  I ordered the Paul Bunyan pancake.  It was one foot in diameter and one and a half inches thick!  Geri and I ate the whole thing!!  The wind was from the NW in the morning, but most of the time we were protected by trees along the Trail.  Gradually throughout the day, the wind changed directions from the SW.  When we reached Boonville, MO. and left the Katy Trail, it started to really affect our progress, but we decided to try to make it to Marshall, MO. and get a motel room instead of camp at Arrow Rock again.  We pedaled nonstop to Marshall and it was a rough 35 miles.  Besides the wind, it seemed that we climbed most of the time to get there.  Fortunately, when we reached Hwy 65 we had to turn north and we got a very helpful wind aided push for 6 miles to the motel.  We didn't break 60 miles today, but we got close.  Our average speed was only an even 10 mi/hr today.  That provides some evidence of the hard travel we had.  We will not be setting an alarm in the morning!  It's just a short 32 miles to Higginsville!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our wet tent at Bluffton, MO.

 

Our campsite at Huntsdale, MO.
  Day 41 - Just when we were nearly asleep it started to rain, so we had to jump up and get the rainfly on the tent in a hurry. It rained a lot during the night, so we woke to a tent so wet that we just packed it away without taking the time to let it dry. It felt like it weighed twice as much, but we were able to get on the trail by 8:45 AM. We pedaled to Mokane, MO. and stopped for a late breakfast before continuing onto Jefferson City where we took a very long break, so I could catch up on our blog. We didn't have any phone signal last night, so I was behind blogging and the Katy Trail has no WiFi hotspots, so the addition of photos will have to wait. Soon after 3:00 PM we were traveling northwest into a rather strong wind. Most of the time we had a good windbreak from the trees, but when we were pedaling in the open, the wind hurt are speed 2-3 mi/hr. It was a long 30 miles to Huntsdale, MO., where we got a campsite at a commercial campground. We arrived just before sunset, so we were able to set up the tent in the day light but we had to cook dinner in the dark. We covered over 60 miles again today which makes 4 days in a row of 60+ mile days. We were pretty tired, but we have a great campsite right beside the Missouri River. We passed the 2000 mile mark on this trip today and we are only 85 miles from home. We are in good enough shape now to pedal over 80 miles in a day, but not if we have unfavorable winds. If we have helpful winds, we could actually be home tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back on the Katy Trail!!!
Fall on the Katy Trail
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videoDay 40 - We woke up fairly refreshed after such a hard day yesterday and we were pedaling west toward Union, MO. by 8:45 AM. It was cold enough this morning that I had to start traveling with a jacket on. That is only the 3rd morning I have had to do that on the entire trip. There are a fair amount of warm clothes that I brought along for this trip and I haven't even touched them yet! At Union, MO., we stopped for a grocery store breakfast and we crossed the route that we took on the way to Mississippi, so we have completed a huge circle. All we have to do now is retrace our route back home. The highway between Union and Washington, MO. was very busy, but there was an excellent wide shoulder. We still had some long grades to climb and on one downhill section we hit 45.5 mi/hr. After we crossed the Missouri River at Washington, it was just a few miles to the Katy Trail. It was a great feeling to be safely back on the Katy with no traffic. The sounds of internal combustion engines was replaced with the crunch of gravel and the rustle of leaves beneath our bike tires. We were disappointed that the fall colors were not in full swing like we expected. The trees are really late changing this year, but there were a lot of fallen leaves on the trail. The unpaved surface of the Katy Trail does hurt are speed a bit, but we still managed to average 10.6 mi/hr for the day. One of the most exciting moments on the Katy Trail was when an owl swooped out of the woods beside us and flew between us just one foot above our heads. A few minutes later I had to swerve to miss a large black snake that covered 3/4 the width of the trail. Thunderstorm clouds started building in the afternoon, but they looked like they were going to stay north of us, however, later we were caught in a heavy shower for 15 minutes and we sought refuge under a tree, which was still holding on to most of its leaves just for us! We didn't get too wet and the rain motivated us to pedal harder to reach camp before there was a repeat performance. The rain never returned, however, so when we passed a bar and grill north of Hermann, MO. we stopped for dinner. We were not very excited to have to cook tonight after covering over 60 miles today. It was 10 miles west from Hermann to the same self-service campground we stayed at on the way out. We reached the campground a little after sunset and we were the only people in the entire camp,however, we thought it was a little unfair that we had to deal with mosquitoes in the middle of October. We had to hose off the bike and our gear before we could unpack. We were covered with a bit of mud from the rain. We had to set up camp in the dark, but we were both feeling much better than last night. We are even thinking about trying to make it back home from here in 2 days instead of 3. That is not a thought we would have even considered last night!

Monday, October 11, 2010


Our campsite at Robertsville State Park
 Day 39 - It was a long, rough day of pedaling for us. With all of the goals of this adventure satisfied, we are anxious to get home, but our planned high mileage day beat us up with a seemingly endless series of long steep hills in the afternoon. When it was all over we had covered 70 miles, our 2nd highest mileage day on the trip, but we only averaged a little over 10 mi/hr because of the hills. Our day started out fine with a motel breakfast and an 8:45 AM start in the cool morning air. We traveled on Hwy 61 all the way to Festus, MO. We did have some challenging climbs on this part of the route, so we were ready for a long rest in Festus. It was lunchtime, so we stuffed ourselves for one hour at an all-you-can eat buffet before heading west on Hwy A. I was expecting this county road to be narrow and hilly, but it was wide, smooth and had a fantastic shoulder over a car width in places. There were many rockcuts so the grades were much easier than expected. After 10 miles we began heading NW on Hwy BB. This was our favorite part of the entire day, except for lunch! We pedaled through a colorful valley next to Belews Creek. The easy grades of the symmetrical hills allowed for fast travel. We were sorry when it ended because once we started pedaling NW on Hwy NN, it was an entirely different road. The hills were very steep and long. Any downhill sections were over very quickly, but we did hit our fastest speed of the entire trip at 47.5 mi/hr. We only missed our record speed by just a half mi/hr! This difficult section of the route lasted over 10 miles and Geri was near her physical limit, but fortunately we reached a much friendlier Hwy O that got us to Robertsville State Park 15 minutes before sunset. We have been to this state park before during our previous pursuit of Missouri State Parks, but we did not camp here at that time. We nearly had the campground to ourselves. We were not very hungry after stuffing ourselves so much at lunch and our exceedingly high physical effort today, so we just ate snacks for dinner and rehydrated. We look forward to getting on the Katy Trail tomorrow and leaving the hills behind for a while as we enjoy the peak fall colors along the Missouri River.