Pedaling to a memorable end of the tour - Show me MO! - CycleBlaze

September 5, 2020

Pedaling to a memorable end of the tour

Cycling the quiet Katy into busy historic St. Charles

Weinstrasse Cabins
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Mr. Coffee was calling me. I awoke early to brew my morning pick-me-up. My touring group had rented Weinstrasse Cabins, cabins from days gone by lovingly restored with modern-day conveniences. I settled in a cozy chair for some quiet reading time before my companions awoke to the aroma of morning coffee. It was fitting that the group gathered for breakfast in this pioneer setting on this last day of cycling this historic railroad corridor.

COVID-19 impacted the economics of this village of only 250 residents. The brewery was the sole restaurant open. The town’s many B&Bs appeared to be empty and most stores closed. This was a common theme on my overnights. Unbusy cities were common, and most sit down dining was closed or operating with limited hours and options.

An occasional open area made for a nice view
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One of our last iron bridges of the week
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A water break greeted me with this view just miles outside of St. Charles
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The ride into St. Charles was under the most perfect skies and temps of the week. Sun greeted me as I rolled down the town’s hills to the trail. 28 miles passed fast under my wheels on the trail. This section of Katy saw a dramatic increase in the number of walkers, runners, and cyclists. This was probably due to it being Saturday, morning, and Labor Day weekend.

Defiance was buzzing with activity as I pedaled by. The size of the trail-heads and parking lots testified to the popularity of the trail in this region. It is an ideal trail for people of all abilities to enjoy the beauty of Missouri and one of the Rails to Trails Conservancy's Rail-Trail Hall of Fame trails. Flat, largely shaded, nice trail towns, and close to St. Charles and St. Louis make it an ideal day trip or weekend getaway.

End of tour group photo
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I rolled into St. Charles before 11:00 am. The Lewis and Clark monument on the Missouri’s banks in the riverfront park was my end of tour destination. It is always an emotional moment to cycle that final mile realizing that the goal was ahead, and a week of cycling was coming to a close. I posed for the end of tour photos with my touring companies before setting out to explore St. Charles.

Historic St. Charles, Missouri
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Historic St. Charles was alive with tourists. It is one of those charming historic towns with streets lined with shops and restaurants tempting you to open your wallet. Walking the brick street with hundreds of others was an interesting twist to the tour. I had spent the week cycling on largely empty trails stopping in villages, towns, and cities that were similarly void of activity.

It was COVID-19 mask-on time for my stroll through the streets to the Lewis and Clark restaurant. I and other group members had longed for a sit-down full menu restaurant for the past few days. Our dining options for this COVID-19 week were mostly sports bars and restaurants with menus pared down to sandwiches and wraps.

The tour officially ended with a cycle to the Tru by Hilton at the end of the tunnel of tourists. The hotel had given the group week long complimentary parking passes and allowed us to change clothes at the hotel. Clean dry clothes make for a much more comfortable (and less smelly) drive.

I will post my thoughts about the Katy Tail and the tour in the coming days. I hope you enjoyed following my tour on the United States' longest continuous rail-trail.  Adventure awaits from your handlebars. Where will your bike take you?

Today's Route

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Follow the tour

No telegraphs need as we trace Lewis and Clark’s journey into the unexplored. You can just check us out on social media: Cycle Blaze and Instagram with hashtags @tombilcze #showmeMO #katytrail.

Today's Trivia

The 144-mile stretch of Missouri’s old Rock Island Line may become the state’s second east-west rail-trail if things continue to fall into place. In late 2019, The Missouri Department of Natural Resources signed an interim trail-use agreement with Missouri Central Railroad Company, marking significant progress toward railbanking the Rock Island Railroad corridor between Windsor and Beaufort into a walking and bicycling trail. 

Today's ride: 28 miles (45 km)
Total: 261 miles (420 km)

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Al BurnardI have totally enjoyed your week long travelogue -- or is that bike-a-logue! Some day when I do the KATY I'll have a nice itinerary as a starting point. I'll be interested to read your thoughts about the trail! Safe journeys wherever they may take you!
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