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Messages - Ty0604

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Routes / Katy Trail Review
« on: August 23, 2023, 05:32:43 pm »
We recently completed the Katy Trail in Missouri and wanted to pass on a quick review of the trip. We started in downtown St. Louis and ended in Lenexa, Kansas in the greater Kansas City region.

Day 1: St. Louis—>St. Charles: From downtown St. Louis you can catch the Riverfront Trail at the Gateway Arch and ride it north to Chain of Rocks Bridge. Cross the bridge into Illinois, which is also part of the ACA’s Route 66 route and is pedestrian only, and take the Madison County Train Confluence Trail (MCT) to the town of Alton. At Alton cross the river back into Missouri on the Clark Bridge aka US-67 (bicycle lane). Once in Missouri turn right onto St. Charles St and then right onto MO-94 when the road ends. Fairly busy road but has a sufficient shoulder. (You can also turn left onto Dwiggins Road off of MO-94 and ride this quiet two-lane country road for a few miles until it ends at MO-94). From there turn left onto Machens Rd to access the eastern terminus of Katy Trail State Park. Go around the cable and take a left on the gravel road as soon as you cross the RR tracks and the trailhead will be around the bend.  We camped at an AirBnB a few miles east of St. Charles. It was $20 and we has access to the house including showers and bacon/eggs for breakfast but one of the homeowners dogs ate part of my bicycle shoes when I wasn’t paying attention.

Day 2: St Charles—>Marthasville: Take the time to explore the historic downtown area of St. Charles, the original capital of Missouri. Cute town. There’s a Wal*Mart in town if you need supplies. We camped at the baseball fields in Marthasville for $5. Access to showers and bathrooms all night. Huge covered area in the event of rain. We were woken up at 4am to tornado sirens and had to scramble to get the tent taken down before it blew away. This wasn’t in the forecast but memories were made! (Me in my boxers trying to pack up as a torrential downpour slammed the area). There’s a convenience store near the baseball fields and a Dollar General a short walk away. A lot of long stretches on this day without shade so FYI if it’s hot out. Along the way you should take the short 1/4 mile detour to see the original burial site of Daniel Boone. 

Day 3: Marthasville—>Jefferson City: Only a single trailhead in 31 miles, at McKittrick. If you take the spur here to Hermann there’s a local grocery store a few hundred feet down the highway. Not much else to see. You can camp at the Noren River Access in North Jefferson for $5 but no showers and I hear it’s where all the teens hangout and cause trouble at night. I opted for a campground 13 miles south of Jefferson City that is owned by a friend of a friend so they picked me up at the Wal*Mart in town and dropped me back off in the morning. JC has a lot of cool stuff including the old Missouri State Penn which has a museum etc. We didn’t visit since it was Sunday.

Day 4: Jefferson City—>Boonville: Rain all day so we didn’t stop much. Hartsburg has a bakery that sells amazing cinnamon rolls though. We were suppose to camp in New Franklin at Katy Roundhouse but because of the rain we opted for a $60 hotel (Days Inn) a few miles off the trail in Boonville. Town has all services needed. There’s a Casey’s in New Franklin just off trail. It’s my favorite place while on tour. Best donuts and coffee IMO.

Day 5: Boonville—>Windsor: Camped at Katy Rock Junction in Windsor. $15 and access to showers/bike storage garage. Literally right off the trail. Windsor isn’t big but it does have a few stores and restaurants. Boonville and Sedalia both have depots with museums and gift shops inside. Sedalia is a big town and you can also camp at the fairgrounds in town but the fair was going on when we passed through and it’s crazy expensive to camp during the fair. $70 is what we were told.

Day 6: Windsor—>Clinton: Met another cyclist and decided to have a short day to the end of the Katy Trail. You can camp for free at the Clinton Community Center. Access to showers and bathrooms from 5am to 9pm. Free coffee in the morning. It’s in a quiet part of town and they have a big covered area with picnic tables next to the camp area. 24 hour restrooms located near playground but the showers are inside and only accessible during open hours. Big town so has all the services you need.

Day 7: Clinton—>Lees Summit: We took Highway 13 to the junction of the Rock Island Spur 15 miles north at Post Oak. Busy road but has a sufficient shoulder. The tiny town of Chillhowee has a store that’s open every day except Sunday. Free camping at the town park there but no bathrooms or water so we passed and kept going. Pleasant Hill has all services. From here you can catch the MoPac Trail and a few local roads to Lees Summit, home of Longview Lake where we camped for the night. It was $32 for an electric site, on a few dollars more than a primitive site. Showers etc. You can also hop on and off of the Rock Island Spur but it’s patchy after Pleasant Hill so we opted for the more direct road route.

Day 8: Lees Summit—>Lenexa: You can catch the Trolley Trail and take that to the Indian Creek Greenway which will take you into Kansas. I ended here because I have a rule that I have to enter and exit a state fully to make it count. It was a short day. About a mile from the end I hit some mud at a stop light and fell over on my bike.

All together I did 411 miles. I rode with 32 GatorSkin Hardshells and didn’t have any flats. I would probably use my 28s if I did it again. The trail can be soft in spots after a rain though and bumpy when crossing driveways from washouts. Some blowdown after storms is almost a guarantee as well. The state is usually pretty quick about clearing these though.

I can’t say I was too impressed with the Katy Trail and not sure I’d do it again but it’s only of those trails I feel like everyone should do at least once.

If you have any questions etc feel free to ask. I tried to keep it down to a summary so I left out a lot of info.

General Discussion / Re: Stay Bear Aware
« on: July 27, 2023, 02:02:20 pm »

Especially in light of the fatal bear attack in Yellowstone last week. I’ve seen dozens of grizzlies and black bears on all of my tours, including a few that have crossed too close for comfort.

On our last tour we crossed several grizzlies and a few black bears. I wear a size 11 and look at the size of his/her paw!

Routes / Re: Crossing the Palouse in summer
« on: July 19, 2023, 04:08:15 pm »
I am currently on a cross country trip from Washington DC to the Olympic Peninsula.  Since I am a proud 1986 graduate of the University of Idaho, I am stopping in Moscow Idaho in a day or two.

Hey Don! In the future consider riding the Palouse to Cascade State Park Trail, which will soon be the longest Rails to Trails Route in the USA, replacing the Katy Trail in Missouri.

Graduated from Washington State in 2015 and miss the Palouse so very much. I dated a girl who went to UI and I rode the trail between Pullman and Moscow fairly often. I purchased my first bike at the LBS in Pullman and that’s where I got hooked on bicycle touring.

Go Cougs

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 19, 2023, 03:41:56 pm »
There are a few communities with parks for free camping along the KATY in the more western sections. If there is any question about whether a community park is available for overnight camping, I check in with local law enforcement. They have always been accommodating, though I have had the impression that a couple of campsite visits were made to try to distiguish me from a vagrant - as Pat has previously noted, not always an easy distinction at first glance.

Everyone already knows this, but worth repeating - never a bad idea to check in with a local general store or diner. Amazing how many churches, back lots and showers are quietly available to semi-presentable cyclists. (I noticed some years ago, as I looked more mature and established, that the number of local, free accommodations seemed to increase. Of course, I also started carrying the emergency deodorant stick in the handlebar bag.) Not for everyone, as many of us are on the road to be by ourselves, but another option to explore during one's adventure on the road or trail.

While riding the ACA’s Route 66 in 2018 we stopped at a hotel/restaurant in the middle of nowhere California to grab dinner. While eating we asked about camping nearby and the hotel let us camp out back for the night. Gave us access to a room to take showers and the gas station across the street had 24 hour restrooms. Didn’t charge us for the shower or camping.

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 18, 2023, 05:21:32 pm »
1) Firehouses are becoming iffy on allowing you to camp behind the firehouse.  Twice I have been suggested to go camp at the local walmart (small town).

2) Due to homelessness epidemic, cities (small and mid-size) are becoming stricter on overnight camping at city parks.  While some parks may not have a sign stating "No Overnight Camping", the police use the Park Rules of "Park Closes at Sunset" to enforce no overnight camping and make you move on.  Happened to me a few times, e.g., Canon City, CO & Yates Center KS. At Yates Center, cop woke me up at 1am, ran my ID, and told me he was giving me a pass for the night.

3) You must have access to better camping resources than I did on KATY trail.  The cheapest I could find was in Boonville MO at $10 night at a mosquito infested place with adequate dog poop in the primitive / tent camping area and quite a distance from any stores since there is no drinking water at campground, Herman MO at $15 night and that was a nice town park.  Nothing in $5 range that my resources indicated.

The KATY Trail Guidebook from Pebble Publishing and the website are great resources. Several spots along the route that are $5-$15/night.

Haven’t had any issues camping at fire stations or parks and I’ve done so as recently as last year. Keep in mind I’m not doing this in big cities but smaller towns. I usually avoid bigger cities unless I know someone there who I can stay with. It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between a homeless person and someone who’s on tour.

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 18, 2023, 05:17:19 pm »
I eat more when I go bike camping not less!  I eat less when I'm at home and not doing any type of physical activity.  Do most, or maybe all Fire Stations allow bike campers to camp out on their property?  How do you get permission from them?  City parks where I live won't allow it, I thought most didn't, so how do you get a city park to allow it?

I definitely eat more at home cause I’m bored a lot. When I’m touring I’m too busy to eat as much. I usually email the cities ahead of time and ask. Or I just roll in and set up camp and take my chances. Haven’t ever been asked to leave. Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness later than ask for permission as they say.

General Discussion / Re: ShipBikes is back!
« on: July 18, 2023, 05:14:47 pm »
Southwest Airlines allow a bike in a bike box as one of two the checked bags that is included in your fare.  They charge $75 due to dimensions exceeding 62 inch limit.

That’s still more than BikeFlights and as someone who lives a carefree life, getting it to the airport in a box isn’t an easy task. I’m sure it’s doable for others though!

General Discussion / Re: Kickstands
« on: July 17, 2023, 07:36:12 pm »
I second Click-Stands. They’re a small company in Washington and each order is custom made. Love mine and won’t ever use anything else.

General Discussion / Re: ShipBikes is back!
« on: July 17, 2023, 07:33:09 pm »
Much preferred the old BikeFlights with FedEx over UPS. Service was quicker, cheaper and they treat their packages better IMO. When I asked BikeFlights about why they changed carriers in August 2019 they sent me the response below.

Thanks so much for reaching out and taking the time to provide your feedback. We genuinely appreciate hearing from our customers.

We are very excited about the switch to UPS as UPS is the world's largest package delivery company and a leading global provider of specialized transportation and logistics services.

Working with our new carrier, we are now able to better serve more of our customers in more different ways. For example, with our new primary carrier, you have more drop off and pick up location options than ever before. We are also able to better serve our e-commerce and international shipping customers.

While we understand that all of our customers have preferences for certain shippers, we think that shipping with UPS will be a fit for all and we sincerely hope that we can continue to serve you with UPS as our carrier.

Our rates for domestically shipping the largest packages recently increased as carriers (all carriers, UPS and FedEx) have raised their large package handling fees. We continue to offer generally great rates, excellent service and premium protection for all shipments.

General Discussion / ShipBikes is back!
« on: July 15, 2023, 09:29:08 pm »
After a few year hiatus ShipBikes is back but they now require you purchase a box through them to ship. They’re only $19.95 but requires more planning as you’ll need to order the box and wait for it to arrive before you can ship your bike. They do request an order number before purchasing a label to verify you have one of their boxes.

Still glad BikeFlights now has a competitor again.

General Discussion / Re: Air Tags
« on: July 14, 2023, 12:30:24 pm »
I have something similar on my bike. Different kind of under the cage waterproof AirTag holder. 2 things to keep in mind… If someone steals your bike and they have an iPhone it’ll let them know that an AirTag is following them and it’ll start beeping eventually. Secondly, the AirTag will notify you when the battery needs to be changed, usually several weeks before it dies, so if it’s not notifying you right now, no need to change it. The AirTag takes a common CR2032 battery that you can find almost anywhere, including places like Dollar Tree and gas stations.

General Discussion / Re: cost per day to tour
« on: July 14, 2023, 12:25:49 pm »
I did my first cross country tour for about $10/day when I rode from Oregon to Maine in 2016. I spent a lot of nights camping behind fire stations, in city parks, behind churches and occasionally used WarmShowers. Since then I’m at about $25/day. I like the comfort of developed campgrounds with hot water and showers and I now prefer to be alone after a long day of touring. I expect to spend about $20/day next month when I ride the Katy Trail since most campgrounds are $5-$10/night.

I don’t eat a ton while I’m on the road. Oatmeal/coffee for breakfast, fast food when available for lunch, noodles or something of the such for supper.

Sometimes when I have a layover in a city I’ll volunteer at a soup kitchen. For a few hours of work they’ll feed you at the end.

Classifieds / Showers Pass Century CC Jackey with hood
« on: July 14, 2023, 12:10:39 pm »
Showers Pass Century CC Jacket with hood

Men’s size Large

Used for about 10 days over the course of 3 tours

$100 + shipping

Photos on link here:

Classifieds / Pearl iZUMi PRO WxB Barrier Shoe Covers
« on: June 16, 2023, 10:14:09 pm »
New in package

Size XXL

Retails for $55

$35/obo + free shipping anywhere in USA

Photos here:

I actually worry more about dogs than automobiles while on tour. Have been chased more times than I remember and have used my bear spray more than once on a pack of dogs.

Oddly enough my most terrifying moment ended up not being one at all. Last year in Delaware I came around the corner with a long uphill ahead on a narrow two-lane country road to three pit bulls in the middle of the road in front of their house. I thought for sure I was SOL. Pulled out my bear spray but as I approached they excitedly wagged their tails and came over to smell me. I was still annoyed that the owner had let them loose on a known bicycling route but perhaps they had escaped.

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