Anticipation of the first long ride of the year is that of a child who awaits Christmas morning, but the ride is here at last. There are those believe that we have lost our minds, but long distance biking is an addictive adventure. There is something inside me that only comes to life when I set out to test my skills, physical ability, and endurance. I will persevere. Even when I am chilled to the bone and muscles are sore, and legs heavy and lifeless, I will my body to push onward by force of will. I will succeed and love it!
We are a steadfast trio – my daughter, sister and I. Over the years many have ridden with us from time to time but it is we three amigos who return year after year.
This year we have planned a 120 mile ride beginning in our state capitol. We kicked off festivities with a lingering visit to Central Dairy. Maybe not the best fuel for our body but definitely nourishment for the soul. My waffle cone embellished with a hearty dollop of cookies and cream ice cream added just enough motivation to tackle the first leg of our journey into Rocheport.
We rode past a few favorite landmarks like the Claysville store, the Hartsburg Inn, and Missouri’s State Champion Burr Oak Tree.
We were introduced to the Claysville store at the conclusion of our first ride on the trail. This little establishment began as a family lemonade stand along the trail. It now boasts award winning pan-fried chicken and other country style offerings.
In Hartsburg, we fondly reminisce about our stay at the Hartsburg Inn last year. We had ridden the entire day in the rain. Even with raingear we were chilled to the bone. Damp in clothing and in spirit, we were welcomed most graciously by the innkeeper. The Hartsburg Inn was delightful in its cozy simplicity.
The state champion Bur Oak Tree is one of my favorite stops along the Katy Trail. This sprawling giant has stood witness to the passing of 360 years. Imagine the stories within this magnificent old tree.
We pedal on; share our own stories and laughter beneath the towering bluffs carved by the power of the mighty Missouri River. Turkey vultures soar silently just overhead, Squirrels scold, freeze, and then scatter left then right at our approach. The rich purples of the spiderwort demand that we stop for photographs.
We ride into Rocheport with a smile on our faces. Lodging with hosts, Brett and Tawnie Dufur was a wonderful experience. We spent the night in the Katy Boxcar, a quaintly renovated boxcar boasting every amenity a tired biker could ever need. We each enjoyed a warm shower and headed to the award winning Abigails. The rich aromas, eclectic furnishings, and unique entre offerings made this little bistro one that will definitely warrant a return visit in the near future.
Saturday morning dawned bright and cold, but the strong north winds from the day before had settled at last. We dressed in layers, straddled our bicycles and rode into the west…
to be continued