Saturday, July 27, 2013

McKittrick, MO

Day 70: Saturday, July 27, 2013
Hartsburg to McKittrick: 66 miles

Missouri street signs
Street signs at a crossing near the Katy Trail

Dottie's Cafe was just across the street from the gazebo, and cars and bikes galore were lined up in front of it. Scarcely a table was empty, and the waitresses were definitely getting their morning exercise. I filled up on my usual plate-size omelet with hash browns, and hit the trail.

(As you've probably been able to tell, I'm using my stove less these days, and my wallet more.)

The piers of several of the bridges I crossed this morning had caused logjams, and the streams were so completely covered with logs, weeds, green algae, and human-generated debris that it appeared possible to walk across them without getting wet. One hapless cyclist seems to have tried it (see photo); I think he's still down there.

log jam
Several creeks were jammed at the railroad bridge.

helmet in logjam
Walking the logjam, this cyclist didn't fare so well.

There are a few campgrounds along the trail, but B&Bs is what you'll find the most of. I think there's a real shortage of hostel-type lodging. The one in the photos below is the only one I know of. A local resident donated the building and a foundation, funded in large part by Ted Jones, helped to fix it up, install beds, a kitchen area, a bike workshop, and other useful stuff. The building is kept locked, but the key hangs on a post outside. (!) Suggested donation is $5 plus clean-up-after-yourself.

Turner trail shelter
This shelter is open to all Katy Trail users.

Turner trail shelter interior
It offers bunks, a small kitchen area,
and bike storage and workspace.

Some sections of the trail are open to horseback riders. (Why not all? That's a mystery to me.) I met only three. They were out for the horsey equivalent of a stroll. I noticed that their saddles were equipped with holsters for beer bottles - and they were loaded. The holsters, that is: not the riders! We had a pleasant conversation and then parted company, each of us leaving behind our own style of tracks.

horses on the trail
These are the only horses I saw on the trail.
L-R: Okie on Shorty, Caleb on Gunner, Kathy on Grey Goose.

trilliums by the trail
Trilliums by the trail
(I'm not sure they're trilliums, but I liked the alliteration.)

Plestiodon skink
Blue-tailed skink?
No! Plestiodon skink.

treed barn
Forgotten barn in the forest

Suppertime brought me to the trail-flanking towns of Hermann and McKittrick. Hermann is actually a couple of miles south, and is to all accounts a very pleasant place to visit. But it is a popular destination. The mother of a trail cyclist, whom I happened to meet, said that the town was full up, due to a blueberry festival or some such, and she had to go 15 miles north to obtain lodging. I thought I'd try McKittrick, which is immediately adjacent to the trail on the north side. But it, apparently, was housing the overflow from Hermann. So what to do? Here's what: wander into a restaurant and look lost.

A customer, who just happened to be the former husband of the proprietor of the restaurant and the adjoining B&B, offered room at his place. It was about four miles north, up a few of those Missouri hills. Pieter is a free spirit, a remnant of the '60s and '70s, who raises vegetables and chickens on fourteen acres with his boys. (He must do something else too, but our conversation didn't take us there.) When I arrived, the boys were fixing dinner at the open-air veggie-stand/kitchen/dining room, and invited me to join them. It turned out to be one of the better burgers I've had on my trip.

Pieter's truck farm
Pieter and his boys raise veggies and chickens
on 14 bucolic acres.

rustic lodging
This rustic lodging (yes, there's a trailer
under there!) sheltered me for the night.

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