September 14, 2016 – Sunny, 75 degrees
Miles Today: 68
Miles to Date: 16,219
States to Date: 44
Today was a terrific day of bicycle touring, though it still did not win me over to gravel. I spent the first 30 miles on Missouri’s famous KATY Trail. It is bucolic and serene, the limestone cliffs are striking and the Missouri River expansive. It is likely the best gravel trail I’ve been on. However, when I pedaled through a passing storm my entire bike got covered in dirt and there’s too much friction to ever feel any speed. Nonetheless I passed more cycle tourists in three hours than I’ve seen in three months. Clearly, I am in the minority on this preference.
I was hungry when I reached Boonville. The town has a newish, garish casino, and I recalled that casinos have great buffets. The hostess wasn’t too keen to invite me and my panniers to the buffet line, but she kept her smile pasted. I had a terrific lunch that fueled me through an afternoon of fluffy clouds, little traffic, and great pavement. Arrow Rock is a neat little restored town; Marshall is famous for Jim the Wonder Dog. The park dedicated to this fabled animal is worth the detour off the highway and into the town square.
I looked for a coin-op car wash to clean my bike, but no such luck. So, I maneuvered Tom into the tub at the Marshall Lodge and gave him a good shower. After he dried, I lubed his chain. He’s as good as before he ever skittered along the KATY Trail. So am I. And we have some misty photos of the broad valley to show for our effort.