Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back on the Katy Trail!!!
Fall on the Katy Trail
Day 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!

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