Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Waiting for the Hickman-Dorena Ferry back to Missouri

Geri looking at the fallen Slippery Elm former state champion
 Day 35 - The morning was warmer, so after a big motel breakfast we were on the road, just a little after 9:00 AM, but we made a Wal-mart stop and were not really traveling until 10:00 AM again.  It was much warmer today, but it was still comfortable weather for biking.  We headed NW out of Union City, TN. on Hwy 5 and into the same NW wind we had yesterday.  I don't understand how we can still be having a NW wind with the temperatures rising back into the 80's.  We pedaled in 3 states again today.  We left Tennessee early in the day and entered Kentucky.  When we reached Hickman, KY. we caught the Hickman-Dorena Riverboat Ferry to get across the Mississippi River and back into Missouri.  We met Vernon Bess who was on the ferry with 5 of his 6 daughters.  We enjoyed talking to Vernon for a long time.  When it was our turn to pay our ferry ticket, we discovered that Vernon had already paid our fare!  Thanks Vernon!!  The ferry put us just a few miles from Big Oak Tree State Park, our 47th Missouri state park by bicycle.  We were disappointed with this park, however, because we expected to see some really big trees, but there was a lot of tree damage from wind and probably ice storms.  Many of the state champion trees that were located here have fallen.  Honestly, the large oak tree we see along the Katy Trail south of Rocheport, MO. is much more impressive than any tree we saw in this state park.  I majored in zoology in college, not botany, but the forest in Big Oak Tree State Park did not look very healthy to me.  Most trees were missing many limbs and there were a lot of standing large dead trees.  This state park was a day use only park, so we had to head north on Hwy 102 to find lodging for the night.  This highway ended at the ferry, so we practical owned the road as we traveled.  We only saw 3 vehicles in 10 miles!  We reached a motel in Charleston, MO. by 6:00 PM.  Even though we covered a little less than 50 miles today, we were a little worn out pedaling into the wind all day and getting used to the warmer temperatures again.  This might be our last night of luxury for a while.  We will start to have campgrounds available again as we travel to the next state park and eventually return to the Katy Trail for the final push back home.

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