Day 41, to Portland, Mo.: First full day on the Katy Trail - Chris Cross America - CycleBlaze

June 2, 2022

Day 41, to Portland, Mo.: First full day on the Katy Trail

No photos today. The cellphone signal is too weak.

Thursday stats

Start: Klondike Park, Augusta, Mo.

End: On the edge of the Missouri River in Portland, Mo.

The Daily Progress: 59.48 miles

The Ascension: 682 feet

Lodging expenses: $0. I've been told twice that it's fine to camp here for free. I believe it, and I'm doing it. "Here" means the river's edge, in the most literal sense. If someone were to cut the straps of my hammock, I'd hit the ground and roll the remaining six feet and then — plop! — I'd fall about five feet right into the water.

Food expenses: $43.

Other expenses: $45 for covid tests and a couple of cards.

Thursday highlights

Almost perfect weather today (the only imperfection being a slight headwind). I hope to see more days like today.

The Katy Trail has lots of perks: very easy navigation, lots of shade, no cars.

The TransAm really spoiled me, though; I've forgotten what it's like to have to leave the trail and bike extra miles to find services such as a grocery store or a gas station. But the Katy makes up for it with welcoming trailheads at each town that offer bathrooms and a bike repair station.

I logged about 7.5 miles today off the trail just to get to a pharmacy in Hermnn to buy more covid tests. I'd been feeling very good and thought a negative test might suggest that I'm okay to go into stores again (with a mask, of course). Well, what a disappointment that was. I knew a positive test was still a possibility, but seeing that faint line appear next to the "T" was still such a drag. Well, I guess It's a good thing I've been staying outside and away from people. 

Still, I needed food, so I called a grocery store for curbside pickup. It took far longer than I expected, but it was kind of a fun surprise to see what my mystery shopper picked out based on the brief descriptions of what I wanted that I gave over the phone. I asked for a turkey sandwich, a couple of apples, a bag of chips, a box of granola bars and a box of breakfast bars. I should've asked for more because I doubt this is gonna last very long. None of their selections was surprising, but I had enjoyed the suspense. I'll have to report back on the breakfast bars; they're not what I would've picked, but they might be just fine.

I met an eastbound cyclists named Paul outside the grocery store. From opposite corners of a picnic table, we exchanged notes. Paul seemed relatively excited to see another solo bike tourist. I was too, but I wasn't feeling great because it took me so long to get to this stop and acquire lunch — it was already 4 p.m. — so my stomach was not especially happy with me. Paul and I bid each other good luck and farewell, and back onto the trail we went.

My stomach was still not happy that I made it wait so long for lunch, which brought down an otherwise delightful final couple of hours. Dani texted me to ask for a phone call this evening so I plugged in my headphones and called her and spoke to her while riding, which seemed appropriate considering that (a) there are no cars on the trail, and (b) I could not really appreciate the natural sounds around me because of my stomachache, but maybe Dani could distract me from it.

I eventually made it to Portland and saw the riverfront and the bar and grill that was listed on the directory in the Eastern Express trail notes. I ordered a catfish sandwich to go (I ended up somewhat regretting that choice, but it was still probably better than eating a box of granola bars for dinner). I ate at the river and then sat up camp.

Now I'm listening to crickets, tree frogs and the river. Time to try to sleep.

Today's ride: 59 miles (95 km)
Total: 1,414 miles (2,276 km)

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