Sunday, July 28, 2013

Klondike State Park, MO

Day 71: Sunday, July 28, 2013
McKittrick to Klondike State Park: 55 miles

Grandma Moses farm
This farm reminded me of a Grandma Moses painting.

This was my fifth day on the Katy Trail. The riding was pretty much the same as all the others. Flat. Scenic. And, fortunately, dry. I passed by picturesque farms, picturesque bluffs. And I met some interesting people - none of which are pictured below; but that's the way it is: you don't think to snap a pic until after you've parted.

Actually, I've met interesting people just about every day. It's the people who make the trip memorable.

tidy soybean crop
This tidy crop of soybeans...

tidy farmyard
...was accompanied by a tidy farmyard.

I rode for 15 miles or so with a retired school superintendent who never graduated from high school. (He got his GED after leaving the service, and then went on to earn his bachelor's, master's, and PhD.) He cycled partially to get his mind off his recent divorce (and perhaps find someone else) - but it wasn't working: that was our primary topic of conversation. She was an off-the-wall OCD who refused any kind of treatment. Their counselor finally asked him, "Why are you still married?"

I was wearing an Expeditors t-shirt today. While the super and I were talking our way down the trail, another cyclist pulled up next to us, and asked, "Where'd you get the t-shirt?" It turned out that he was also a former Expeditors employee, had worked in the Chicago office, then transferred to St. Louis to help get that branch going. He didn't know Annie - which surprised me. He told me his name, but it slipped away on the wind. It was something like Sean Barbados. Maybe someone out there can tell me who it really was.

The bluffs below Klondike State Park

The Augusta Brewery sits right on the trail. And it has a beer garden. With music. A lot of cyclists were stopped there. Figuring that they knew what they were doing, I stopped for lunch. And I broke my rule against having a beer before the end of the day.

Augusta Brewery
The Augusta Brewery has a laid-back atmosphere and so-so food.

The music was okay - mostly oldies, easy to sit back and groove on. The beer was okay. But the food was run-of-the-mill.

That wasn't my last chance to stop at a beer garden. The two-block-long town of Defiance had one, or maybe two, plus a winery. It also had a gaggle of motorcyclists, and at least two rock bands going full blast. Not exactly my kind of place. A motorcyclist who was also a bicyclist came over to chat for a while. I stopped at the bicycle shop to pick up an ice cream bar. The proprietor said that the town is like this every weekend during the summer. It wasn't exactly his cup of tea either. After a short chat, I headed back west, to Klondike State Park, to set up camp.

Motorcycles in Defiance
The ambience in Defiance was quite a contrast to Augusta.

This Klondike has nothing at all to do with the Klondike we in the Northwest are familiar with. There used to be a town of that name nearby. The state park is at the top of the bluff that lines the north side of the trail, on the site of a former silica sand quarry. It's a pleasant place. There were quite a few French-speaking tourists there. They sounded like Quebecois, but don't quote me on that. The history of this area of Missouri has quite a few French connections: trappers, traders, settlers. Primitive campsites were only $7, but I paid $10 for a deluxe one. What made it deluxe? I didn't have a long hike to the john.

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