Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 1....El Dorado Springs, MO, to Sedalia, MO on the Katy Trail.

D84.81 miles in 7:51...elevation gain....1814 ft...descent...1893 ft....max speed 29.6.... Average speed 10.8 mph....total trip miles...13.94.62....total ascent...31,113...average distance per ride....73.4 miles for 19 days of riding

Out the door at 8:38 this morning....warm, tailwind, ideal riding conditions. I had to make a decision about staying on US54, which would be the shortest distance to travel, or heading north to the Katy Trail, a rails-to-trails ride that goes all the way across the state. My decision was made based on the fact that the only pro that US54 had was that it was a shorter distance by almost 50 miles. BUT: I would have been riding into a head wind out of the southeast. If I headed north to the Katy Trail, I have a tailwind. It I go on 54, I climb over 3500 ft, ( as well as descent 3500 ft). That is some hilly riding. My ride to the Katy Trail  entailed about half the climb and descent. If I stay on 54, I go into the middle of the Ozarks tourist area, and the motel prices are way up there...the cheapest I could find was over $60. I paid $39 in Sedalia. I might travel less distance on 54, but I would need to take a day to rest my legs because climbing through the Ozarks would blow them up. Riding to the Katy a Trail is on the prairie, then the trail is pretty level. The Katy Trail was the way to go, longer or not.

My ride, north, out of El Dorado Springs, was about 48 miles to Clinton, MO, the western terminus of the Katy Trail. The hills out of town were not rollers, but the steep, short, ups and downs that I'm familiar with from Western Pennsylvania. On the long half mile rollers on US 54, gravity played a huge roll, as I had to gear down and drag my ball and chain (read: packed weight) in the easiest, slowest gear the bike had. On these steeper, shorter hills, I could fly down the hill, then just stand up in the saddle and crank it to the top with out even changing gears. Standing up in the saddle was actually easier on my tired legs, because I was using different parts of my muscles. The standing up also made it nicer on my butt, which is getting saddle sore, even though I have a different type of seat than I used on my previous cross country treks. It's a uniquely designed seat, that several people warned me against using, but it works for this old man's butt. The prairie that I was traversing was a different picture post card, every time I turned my head. Just beautiful. Prairie grass, farms, ranches, lakes and ponds, rivers and creeks. I also saw a bald eagle fly right in front of me with a rodent of some sort in its talons. It happened really fast, but the 'cool' factor was way over the top. I also saw two dead (unfortunately) barn owls, many, many hawks, and a coyote run across the road and through a large field, like a long distance runner, as well as two different kinds of woodpeckers. The roads were mostly shoulderless back roads, with virtually zero traffic. GPS girl did have to take me on about five miles of gravel roads, but the hardback gravel really want that bad. And I was in the middle of NOWHERE. I sort of suspected that might happen, so I packed extra water, and I bought saltine crackers and Goober BP and j in case I didn't see any place to eat. 
It took me about four hours to get to the town of Clinton, where the trail starts. I actually took all my shirts off and caught some sun out there in the middle of nowhere. The cows didn't seem to mind. I filled up on ice in Clinton, and asked a local directions to the trailhead, when GPS girl refused to tell me. The trail is packed gravel chips, just like the C & O canal towpath, and the Montour Trail. I averaged over eleven mph on my way to the trail, because of the tail wind and the pop over hill climbing technique, and I only averaged 10 mph on the thirty eight miles of trail I rode, because of tired legs and the gravel pack is just slower. There was very little scenery, and there were very few people using the trail. It was very nondescript, but I enjoyed not having the traffic, not climbing and rolling, and not having to focus so much. I just put it on auto pilot and cruised, with no time frame to meet. I did stop in a little town right on the trail, and filled up on ice again, and spoke to a local biker who gave me first hand motel info, and I spoke to a lady who was an alderman. She wanted to know what cross country bikers were looking for, so she could put her town on the map as a destination for trail riders. The Rock Island, Chicago, and Pacific Trail, which runs north-south, intersected the Katy Trail in her town, and she was trying to get some insight to take advantage of that intersection. The Rock Island trail was not yet up and running, but she was making plans. That's what politicians do. I gave her quite a bit of info, and I realized that she really had no clue, so I hope I helped her. 
When I got into Sedalia, I had a difficult time finding a motel. The first place I stopped had no one at the counter. Door wide open. Nobody to be found. The second place I stopped was booked full. The third place had one room left, a smoking room. I balked and whined, and the Indian owner dropped the price from fifty something to $39, he changed out my pillows and bedding, and sprayed air freshener on the carpet, plus gave me two extra pillows and some chocolate candy. Sold. There was one place to eat nearby, Dicky Doo Barbeque. I went in and the waitress talked me into the catfish special, and when I told her I was really hungry, she brought me out seconds and thirds of catfish. She (Cassie)took a liking to me, and sat down and talked to me for a while, and I think I might have gotten a free beer out of it too. There was a band playing outside on the Dickey Doo Party Deck, so I went outside and listened to them for a while, and they were really good. Cassie took some pictures of them and sent them to my phone.( yea, she got a great tip)  They were a blues band called The Doghouse Daddies. They played Ray Charles, the Stones, and just really good blues. One guitar, one base fiddle, drummer, and a sax/harmonica player. My kind of band. A really good day, and evening.

El Dorado Springs, Missouri

Rolling Missouri farm land

The rolling ribbon of highway headed north

I got this "look" all of the time

I would've been cool to see a prairie chicken on the prairie

I did see a dead barn owl

Gravel roads on the prairie,headed for the Katy Trail

On the Katy Trail, headed down to the Missouri River - on the other side of the state!

This is what I was watching for

I saw many of these guys

A tool rack and air pump on the trail in Sedalia
Dickie Doo's BBQ - Great evening eating, drinking, listening to music
Katy Trail

Lunch time with peanutbutter and crackers

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