Friday, July 1, 2016

Katy Trail Part 1

Today was when my decision to drive to Lexington on Wednesday and get in a couple hundred miles was going to pay off! I only had 375 miles to go to get to Rocheport, MO - a main trail head on the Katy Trail Rail Trail.
I was up early so I was taking my time drinking my coffee and reading my book. It was around 7:30 when I departed the Cracker Barrel and headed west! Indiana and Ilinois were boring, however, I noticed the corn didn't start until Illinois! Turns out Indiana is mostly wooded. Illionis is rolling farmland and it wasn't so bad to drive through.
I will say that it's much more exciting to drive 64 west into St. Louis! You cross the Mississippi with the Arch in front of you! It's a pretty cool moment. The rest of driving through St. Louis is equal parts terrifying and thrilling! It's 3 or 4 lanes of traffic and everyone is going at least 10 mph over the posted speed limit! A little NASCAR to change things up. The rest of Missouri was dreadfully boring!
It was about 1:30 when I got to the Rocheport exit and made my way to the town. It's a tiny little trail town with a huge parking lot for the trail head. The town is very cute, lots of little houses, all well kept! The trail head parking lot is very large and had plenty of space for me. It's so quiet and secluded I'm going at attempt to stay here overnight. It appears legal and safe. Hopefully I don't get run out in the middle of the night.
Since I had plenty of time this afternoon I decided to embark on a 30 mile ride to check out the trail. I headed east from Rocheport because I'd heard that was the best part of the trail. The trail was really nice! It went along the Missouri River for most of the ride. There were lots of historic markers telling about Lewis and Clark - their expedition left from St. Louis and went up the Missouri River all the way into North Dakota! They camped along its banks too! So I'm following in their footsteps by staying here! At one point the trail had moved away from the river and was beside a corn field! Ha! Now I was riding my bike next to corn! There were also lots of neat rock formations.
A 30 mile ride always sounds good on paper, but after about 20 miles I start to wonder what I was thinking. That was true today too, but I did notice that my legs didn't hurt as bad during the last 10 miles as they have in the past! The one issue I had was that about a mile in I noticed that the bite valve on the hydration system was full of mold. Ewwww. I'd been pulling off the bite valve to drink, but it wasn't as efficient as the bite valve so I wasn't drinking as much. Also, I didn't bring quite enough snacks! All I had was a granola bar and a bag of trail mix. I should have brought something more substainal or eaten more than just some pretzels before I left!
Once back at the van I got a cold drink and snack, then got in the shower. There's still so much bleach in the water that I smell like I've been in a pool! There's a picnic table under the tree by where I parked. I attempted to eat dinner at it and got attacked by mosquitos. There's another picnic table but it was in the sun. I sat there for awhile, I guess mosquitos don't like the sun! It was nice to be bug free, but it was hot, so I retreated into the van.
I've been hanging out at the van, mostly outside, for 2 hours now and no one has said anything to me. There haven't even been a lot of people through here, the only folks have been people who have parked & biked or walked the trail. I'm guessing I'll be ok for the night. If not, I can go to Walmart up the road.
Edited: so, I decided to check online about the legality of staying overnight at the trail head. I was thinking about the citizens of Rocheport and how one RV spending the night, leaving no trace of their visit the next morning was one thing, but the idea that any 'ol vagrant can come in with their van and sleep there didn't seem right. I checked online and the Katy trail is designed for day use, you can park a car overnight, but you have to let the Rangers know. I'm sure they'd frown on camping. So, around 7:45 I headed into Booneville, planning to go to the Walmart, but I took a detour through downtown Booneville to find the trail for tomorrow morning. That's when I discovered the casino. Typically casinos offer free overnight parking, so I checked my Overnight RV Parking app and sure enough, they allowed it! I talked to the security guard and he pointed me where to go. I'm in a gravel pit, literally down by the river, but, there are no drag racers, growler trucks, fireworks or semi's however, there is a train. But, the trail is only a few feet away for tomorrow morning.

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