We got off to a late start on our first day. After an hour-long traffic jam in Columbia and hassles with the Uhaul truck, we arrived at the trail head in Sedalia at almost 4:00pm. The weather was fair though, and a lot of daylight remained. We were ready to ride.
There was a big parking lot at the trailhead. The trail began at one end of the lot; at the other end there were the remains of old railroad tracks that had yet to undergo the "rails to trails" effort. This truly was the beginning of the Katy Trail.
The trail itself was everything wed expected. The first twenty miles were a scenic breeze. We passed farms and fields and amber waves of grain. The smell of flowers was powerful and complemented the scent of manure nicely. The trail had only a modest incline and was nice to ride.
We went across a few old railroad bridges, and as these were the first railroad bridges we had ever crossed, we stopped to investigate each one thoroughly.
Our water was running low as we reached the first town on the trail, Clifton City. As we looked up the road for a store or a water pump or something we spied an old refrigerator in front of an ancient barn. A sign on the refrigerator read, "Honor System." Inside were cans of soda, bottles filled with water, candy bars, and a jar in which to put money. We stocked up, paid, and continued on our way.
Just after Clifton City there was a detour sign posted on the trail. The sign pointed toward an alternate route: straight up a narrow, hilly road. We considered our options for a millisecond, ignored the detour sign, and continue down the trail. It turned out to be a good move: the cause of the detour was light construction that was easily avoided. We met some riders later who told us that the detour was long and dull, with frequent and grueling hills.
It seems that we had misjudged the distance to Boonville, though, and after about 30 miles in 3 hours we began to wonder what wed gotten ourselves into. The trail seemed endless and entirely uphill. The group spread out; we stopped talking to one another and concentrated on finishing the ride.
In Boonville we quickly found a restaurant and ate heartily. Our exhaustion somewhat abated, we got back on our bikes and rode a short way down the trail to the Roundhouse, an excellent trail side campground. We set up camp by flashlight, and as we sat around a fire sipping big bottles of Newcastle and watching the multitude of fireflies in the surrounding trees light up like white Christmas lights, the days ride didnt seem bad at all.
Thumbnails of Day One pictures: