20th Anniversary Trip, Katy Trail, Missouri

Sunday, August 11, 2013

This is the University of Missouri's campus...it was beautiful
and a first time visit for us.  We really liked Columbia.
I wanted to take a picture of Jackie behind me and it worked!
He had 80% of our bags on his bike!

This is the B&B in Hermann, it was huge and modern.

This was right outside of Sedalia on our first day,
I enjoyed seeing the old train light
I had to get a photo of Jackie mounting up...this is at the trail
head in Columbia.  His bike was so heavy it made getting on
and off a real deal.

This was listed a private property between Jeff City and Hermann.
It said to protect the cave and its bats and don't enter

I always get one of these somehow

This is Cliff Manor B&B in Jeff City

Friday, July 11,  2013 was this blog's start date but I finally finished it today, August 10, 2013 (we've been out of town and busy in the yard and canning pickles!)

I've gotta hand it to Jackie for once again showing that he could run a travel agency.  This is our 3rd touring experience and it was as fabulous as the first and second one.  There are so many things you have to consider when touring like flat tires, sore muscles, packing lite, the stomach bug from eating out so much, planning stops to fuel, rain and heat and on and on.

Here's how our trip went with some notes for your next tour, weather it's biking around Amsterdam, Bayeux, France to the beaches of Normandy, and Glennwood Springs, to Aspen, Colorado or here in Missouri riding the Amtrak across to Sedalia and riding 163 miles back to Hermann.

I have blogs to post about the start of this anniversary trip but I'll have to share it later on (Jackie's recommended me to start a diabetic resource blog on what to do to when participating in long runs, triathlons, long bike rides and touring...we'll see:)).

1. Plan your Katy Trail Tour.  I talked Jackie into riding the trail since we were to drop Chloe off at Pinecrest Presbyterian Camp in LaGrange, Tenn on the Sunday before our 20th wedding anniversary.  So he studied the trial and picked to start in Hermann, leaving our car and bike rack at the Amtrak station.  We got our train tickets online and reserved a spot for our bikes. (You should be able to do the reverse of this, starting in Clinton, Missouri where the trail starts, ride it all the way to St. Charles and ride back but do the research first :)).  Note to self, be ready when that train arrives, they don't dilly dally when boarding.  In fact, MAKE sure you're hands free so you can get your junk on the train quickly.  The conductor will help you load, get your ticket and tell you where you can sit.  We were shuffled around quite a bit as to where we could sit as the train was 90% full.  I thought that was great.  Our train originated in St. Louis and ended in Kansas City.

2. Maps and smart phones.  Jackie and I both have Verizon phones and the cell service in Hermann and along the trail was spotty to say the least.  Jackie had already planned to get off the train in Sedalia, which would average us about 34-47 miles a day back to Hermann.  I picked up a trail map at one of the trail heads, which was nice to have in case the phones were out of service.  The trail heads have large posted maps going east or west along the trail with notes about what to not miss etc. The Katy Trail website is a little tough to look at, but once you get used to it, it's an excellent guide to plan your meals while on the trails in the heat of summer... http://www.bikekatytrail.com/.  You must also take into consideration where you will refill water and Gatorade every day.  Half way through each daily ride our bottles were empty and generally speaking, we needed that midway stop to refuel and rest.  The trail is 80% shaded thankfully!

3. Pack right.  With 2 waterproof Ortlieb pannier bags, I was told to pack light.  I have already packed light on multiple occasions, duh Jackie.  Even though Jackie is a smart wool wearing fool (that's someone who rode the trail over 6 days and nights with 2 pairs of smart wool boxers, 2 pairs of GI2 Patagonia zip and unzipped pants and 3 total shirts, no socks and one pair of shoes that had to be Gorilla glued back together in Columbia).  I packed 3 pairs of padded shorts (cause women, we stink after 1 day in polyester), 3 cycling tops, one pair of jammies, 4 dresses and one extra pair of flip flops just in case.  I did end up mailing a dress home, the dirty cycling clothes and other trinkets like receipts etc.  Details on why I mailed something coming up later.  We had the IPad, charging cords, car keys in one pouch, each of our clothes in a Rick Steve's packing cubes (which makes for a great way to tour as we had to unpack the pannier bags every night and it was super easy to find our stuff), my medical (or lack there of) equipment in a ziplock, an insulated ice chest for my insulin and emergency juice and peanut M&M's.  Plus we had 3 water bottle slots on our 2 bikes, Jackie packed the pump, extra tubes and first aid kit on his bike. I know, that's a lot of stuff Keeli!

4. Fueling and resting.  The Katy Trail website has excellent links on it where you can plan to get supplies and food along the trail.  Luckily, Jackie had this planned out each day with suggestions of where to go in a certain number of miles etc.  It was important because on the first day of the ride, we rode 2 hours on the train where I got a turkey and cheese sandwich with a side of hummus and pita chips and split it with Jackie, then we had to find the trail head across town and ride 38 miles to Boonville, where the "thing" happened.  When we arrived in Boonville, Jackie had cramp problems.  It was hotter than anything and he didn't have much lunch or hydration.  (I forced him to eat half that sandwich on the train, btw).  He cramped so bad, he went down on the bike to recover.  The internet on my smart phone said to hydrate, eat potassium (bananas or pickle juice) and take Tums and of course, train more (lol).  I had Tums packed anyway and the Fredrick Hotel had a ton of bananas with its complimentary breakfast the next morning in Boonville.

5. Weather.  We checked it up until the day of the drive to Hermann and Jackie voted to not take our rain gear.  We knew this would be risky but on Sunday, it only looked like 30% chance on Wednesday so chances were that we'd make it rain free.  Back on the Amsterdam/France trip with Martin and Kara, Jackie and I both were thrilled that on 2 days of the touring, we had and wore our rain gear.  This isn't a rain jacket, this is water PROOF shoes (Gortex), pants and jacket.  There's a HUGE difference in water resistant and waterproof.  Waterproof means water won't ever get in, resistant means water will get in eventually.  We used 55 SPF sunblock sticks, one each on the Katy Trail.  Both of us missed our right sides on day and I was burned in stripes on my arm and it looked like Jackie skipped is whole right side.  It rained Wednesday morning when we departed Columbia but it was outta the way by the time we started our day cause remember, we didn't have rain gear.  Whew!  This is where we caught up at lunch with 2 touring cyclists that had so much gear I couldn't believe it.  They saw our gear as they were coming in and we were going out.  Come to find out (as I was looking at the 90 mile read on my odometer) they were on their way from DELAWARE heading west.  Yes, a father and son left the east coast on their way west on a bicycle.  I know, that's nuts.  They looked excited and fired up as they were half way across the country.  Their plans were to catch a plane back when it got closer to when school started.  Yes, I'm sure they are still going west as we speak on Saturday, August 10.  Amazing and my 90 miles looked like a day to them.

6. It's official...I love touring with a backpack, no makeup, no purse.  In fact, we're discussing driving to Washington D.C. and ride along it's famed Rails to Trails line to Pittsburg.  I CANNOT wait, I tell ya! I'll be getting a touring bag for my bike so we can have nearly equal weight.  On the first day of touring, Jackie was the turtle and I was the hare because of the weight of my stuff.  It drove me nuts that we couldn't stay together.  I would ride on at my speed and take a lengthy stop to wait for him to catch up.  It drove me nuts!

Overview of touring the Katy Trail:

Sunday: Hermann hotel, Hermann, Missouri (only iffy place we stayed, it had bugs in the room, yikes)  Have breakfast downtown near the Amtrak station at Jillsie's.  Wonderful food and neat local memorabilia.

Monday: Amtrak leaves beautiful downtown Hermann daily at 10:50.  Get tickets ahead of time with a bike reservation.  Parking is free.  2 hours to Sedalia, have lunch and charge your phones.
Ride 38 miles to Boonville.  (Finding the trail from the trail head was tricky, I got chased by an unruly Akita mix, who meant business through a residential area.  I yelled, no and get back, y'all know how Kara and I sound while riding around dogs, and these two ladies on their front porch stood up and started running toward us.  I think they thought a child was going to get hbc, hit by car.  I laughed so hard for blocks that I didn't see that they were putting fresh tar on 3 blocks of city streets leading up to the trail and had it all over my tires.  Note to self, pay attention! We had to use rocks to rub the tar off both our tires, mine was worse.  I thought, my god, if I have a flat or other bike issue the first day, that would really be bad.  But it worked out :).  Lunch at The Trailside Cafe in Rocheport was really good.

Fredrick Hotel, Boonville.  Absolutely fabulous, historic hotel, 25 rooms, excellent breakfast included and an amazing hotel staff.  This is where the "thing" happened.  My insulin pump failed.  Yep.  In packing light, I didn't pack syringes or my long acting insulin pen.  It was 7:30 at night and the 2 pharmacies were closed.  After crying because of my stupidity, my doctor called back, reassuring me and calming me down.  She said to just ride my bike to the nearest hospital (lol) because I was going to be really sick if I didn't at least give myself a shot every 3 hours of the insulin I did have for my pump.  We arrived at the wonderful Cooper County Memorial Hospital, just 5 miles by cab.  They were so nice even after I kept saying what an idiot I was.  The hospital didn't have the 24 hour insulin or nph, the 12 hour kind.  The doctor on call, Dr. Koch, went to his office and got a sample pen that literally saved my life.  I was on the phone with Minimed, who shipped a new pump to our hotel the next day in Columbia.  It worked out but Dr. Myers and I both agreed, I learned a lesson.

Tuesday: 35 miles to Columbia.  There was an 8 mile bike lane built by Columbia to connect the Katy Trail to Columbia.  It was totally packed by locals.  Whereas the Katy Trail was desolate to say the least.  We hardly saw anyone on the trail until Columbia.
The Tiger Hotel, Columbia.  Let me just say that I give them an F overall but I will rate their rooms an A of all the places we stayed on the trip.  For one, they don't answer the phone and don't allow their patrons tape.  I needed to mail the insulin pump box with all it's inserts and devices home and after printing my own label with postage, the front desk said that the hotel didn't have any tape.  Really?  I hope none of you ever stay at this hotel ever.I.mean.ever.

Wednesday: 40 miles to Jefferson City.  It was a great day of riding with lunch at Dotty's Cafe in Hartsburg.  The cafe was wonderful and super nice to cyclists.  Offering to fill up our water bottles and were very friendly.

Cliff Manor B&B is AWESOME!  I kid you not that Jackie can sure plan a trip.  This historic mansion sits just blocks from the capital building and overlooks the beautiful Missouri River.  It was clean, accommodating and the owner was super duper nice.  She offered to freeze our polar bottles and she did and we especially appreciated this since the final day would be unshaded, the hottest day of the ride and the longest.
We also enjoyed visiting the state's oldest Irish Pub, Paddy Malone's.  It was authentic and packed.

Thursday: 48 miles to Hermann.  It was an easy ride in, seriously.  We weren't sore or tired, just ready to get to Hermann.  We arrived late afternoon at Amtrak and went a few blocks to the our last stop.

Schiller Guest Suites B&B, another favorite.  It was a fantastic, updated, large B&B.  We had a private balcony and a library.  It had W-fi too.  Everything in Hermann was within walking distance to this B&B.  We also discovered the Hermann Wurst House and I bought some delicious andouille sausage and bacon.

A small plug for our BBC group, each of the places we stayed could accommodate 4 couples at a time.  What fun would that be??  I'd like to suggest it for a future tour.  We had a blast and really enjoyed the Katy Trail.  And Chloe survived camp but still refers to it as prison camp.  Whatever! :)

PS.  Kyle and Cecelia were in France watching parts of the Tour De France. I cannot wait to hear about that trip!!!
My odometer in Hermann....I
didn't start it when I got off the
train in Sedalia so it's short by
about 5 miles

The train

First day, Sedalia Trail Head (and Chamber of Commerce)

I love this!

This is the historic Fredrick Hotel, Boonville, MO

Jackie took this of me having to be checked in
to the Cooper County Memorial Hospital.  Yes,
they made me check in when I only needed
insulin syringes.  But they were AWESOME!!!
As was Dr. Koch who went to his office to get
me a Levemir pen.  THANK YOU DR. KOCH!

The Trailside Cafe in Rocheport.  We loved it and its air

One of the many trailheads (most had bathrooms and water)

My self timer on my camera worked...this is Columbia, MO

This is where I laid my camera on my bike seat and Jackie
didn't know it, and it broke when he grabbed my bike to lift
it across...dang it.  It really was Chloe's camera....:)

The bikes from Delaware heading west.  Amazing I tell you!

This shot scared me while taking it...(see the shutter problem?)
That's what happenend when it crashed on the Katy.  This is
the pedestrian and bike bridge the city of Jefferson City made
to connect Jeff City with the Katy Trail....smart people!

Look at the beautiful Cliff Manor mansion behind us in
Jeff City.  What a beautiful and super sweet B&B

There were a lot of animals along the trail, dogs, squirrels,
turtles, birds and lots of bugs etc.  But we didn't get chased
and we didn't need OFF.

Our balcony at Schiller Guest Suites in Hermann, Mo

This is Standing Rock at Steedman. From the web: This spot is at Mile Marker 120.4 on the Katy Trail biking/hiking trail that is now Missouri’s longest state park. It is is quite popular with national and international outdoor enthusiasts who hike or bike here. The spot has signage that includes the rock’s geology, the railroad’s gamble, and the travels and discoveries of the Lewis & Clark “Corps of Discovery” on their upstream adventure in 1804.

Here is a quote from the “Mysteries of Standing Rock” sign:
“Standing Rock looks like an isolated boulder that fell from above, but it is actually a remnant of the bluff that has resisted erosion. The rock is a fine-grained sandstone that may have formed when sand filled in a sinkhole or joint within the older dolomite, the primary rock of these river bluffs. But, like similar “mystery sandstones” in the Ozarks, its origin is unclear.

Geology is not the only mystery surrounding Standing Rock: the identity of those who marked river levels throughout the previous century on its face is also unknown. Standing Rock records water levels for at least seven floods: 1903: 1923; 1935;1943; 1944;1947; 1993. The earliest record in 1903 marks a major June flood that was one of Kansas City’s great natural disasters. Other readings are more difficult to read.”

Moore, Oklahoma Tornado

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Our hearts ached when we saw Plaza Towers Elementary
School that was blown away....
The school before the EF5 tornado killing 7 children

And after...
The fence around the school said so much...I hate it that just
blocks away the Home Depot and other multiple businesses
weren't touched...makes me so sad for those in this neighborhood...

Chloe took all of these shots....

This tree has re-growth...a sign of healing

No words

I couldn't believe the numbers of kids coming to see the
remains of the Plaza Towers Elementary School

No words

From Plaza Towers fencing....

I love the Pray.Love.Hope.Oklahoma signs

These shirts on the Plaza Towers Elementary fence were moving

No words

Words cannot say anything...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

I am from Oklahoma.  I'm not scared of wind, hail or tornado warnings.  After taking Chloe and my nieces to see the Moore devastation, I went over our plan in case a storm comes to Birdeye or anywhere else.  It's extremely sad about the lives lost.  That the storm hit an elementary school instead of the multiple businesses right up the road from it is totally mind blowing.  It really isn't for me to judge or say one way or another but I'm sad that it hit multiple schools filled with children.  Harmon reminded me of this when a thunderstorm came through Wynne on a Tuesday and I hadn't picked up the kids by 3:30 cause I was in Jonesboro running vet clinic errands.  He said, "the Moore, Oklahoma parents had wished they'd picked their kids up early that day." Ok. I get that.  According to the Huffington Post, it caused 1 billion in damages and 20 lives were lost.  Briarwood and Plaza Towers Elementary Schools will be rebuilt.  Read this from Huffington: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/30/moore-oklahoma-schools-tornado_n_3362123.html

And this article just 3 days later: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/moore-oklahoma-school-district_n_3319981.html

Newest Fosters (dang it), Birdeye

Monday, July 29, 2013

Has anyone of my friends or blog readers heard me say Spay/Neuter?  Well, Spay/Neuter people.  I think it's just as important as a parvo vaccine for 6 week old puppies.  It could be argued to be more important maybe.  Just putting it out there, the number of dogs euthanized each year is extremely high as well as owners who have unwanted litters every single year. The Humane Society of the US and other websites like DOsomething.org have links to the millions of animals that are euthanized each year.  It can be prevented by a simple, low cost surgery when the dog or cat is under 6 months of age.  Just sayin...http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-spaying-and-neutering


These guys are 8 weeks old or so, extremely smart.  Chloe leashed trained each one individually in one day and they are crate trained already.  Very smart, NON-diggers and NON-barkers.  What pluses don't you see?  They're absolutely fabulous! :)  We think they're related to Gumball somehow.  Jackie and Chloe think Gumball's some kind of rocket scientist, when I say Gumball is really just a digger, trash eater, game chewer, bible destroyer and complete idiot.  Sorry, it's the truth, he drives me nuts and he knows it...:)

Lemme know if you have room in your home for one of these guys!  Chloe took these photos and is becoming a wonderful photographer! :)
Stan out in front...so darling!

This is Stan up front, Aidan and Katy in the back

Alexis and Katy