This is a multi-part trip report. If you haven’t already, you should start at the beginning. Remember that you can click on any of the photos to see larger versions of them.
For a hundred reasons, today does not start as planned. We sleep later than we’d intended, and don’t leave the house until about eight.
By nine, we’ve bought new allergy medicine for me, lots of snacks for the trail, and a bizarre breakfast. Walgreens shopping excursion complete, we eat breakfast on the benches outside.
Then it’s back down to the Katy, through the historic St. Charles main street, with brick streets and old buildings with wavy glass. Main street’s still asleep this morning, except for one old man washing down the bricks in front of his shop. Once on the trail, we pass lots of small park development, with side trails and monuments and picnic areas. There’s a dog park, then a junkyard, then miles of trail. We’re on our way…
…in the wrong direction. We ride nearly ten miles toward Machens before realizing that the mile markers are going down rather than up. We’ve been grumpy with each other already this morning, but having made a big mistake somehow cheers everybody up, and we turn around and go back the way we’ve come.It’s noon by the time we’re back in St. Charles. The ride’s uneventful after that: hot, but not too unpleasant. The trail’s cheerfully busy but not really crowded. We cruise through the dappled shade, making a point to say hello to other riders, passing through Weldon Spring and Defiance, stopping every five miles or so for a quick rest in the shade.
Many of the towns along the way were truly railroad towns, built when the train first came through this area. In fact, many were named for owners or builders or investors in the Katy. The people in the town now named Defiance wanted a stop in their community, but the railroad planners wouldn’t do it. They gave the people lots of requirements and the people complied, but still the railroad said no. Angry, the town’s residents decided to ship their grain and goods by river instead of rail, and the railroad relented and made a stop there, and the name of the town was changed to Defiance.
The brewpub in Augusta is a welcome break from the heat. We all have brats and drinks and sit inside for awhile, but move outside after we eat. This place is like a cross between a bar and a very relaxed neighborhood block party. I fall asleep in my chair, listening to a bad band play. We’re not near them, so the quality doesn’t really matter.
Then it’s back to the trail for the ride to Marthasville. Mandy and I ride into town to have a snack at the KT Caboose while Bryan gets in touch with the guy who gave us permission to camp at the ballpark.
When he called to make arrangements to stay here, the man he talked to failed to mention that there’d be games going on until ten. But here’s the whole population of the elementary school, along with their parents, in dirty uniforms running around the ball fields and the playgrounds.
Just as we pulled into the ballfield, a very scary moment: a big bug flew deep inside my right ear, and stayed there. Bryan and Mandy are afraid of bugs, not me, but it was still awful. Mandy held my bike while Bryan looked into my ear with a light, then stuck his key into my ear canal to herd the bug out. Just then, Mandy saw a big bug on Bryan’s cheek and tried to brush it off, scaring him and making him jerk while still holding the key inside my ear. He poked me while smacking Mandy, who nearly dropped my bike, and in the confusion the bug decided that he’d find more peaceful accommodations, and flew away.
We set up our tents at the very edge of the outfield, near the concession stand, right next to the parking area. We had lots of interesting conversations with the little kids, who came wandering over from the swingset. “Hey mister, are you stayin’ here tonight?” “Yes, we are.” “Are you sleepin’ in THAT?” “Yes.” “I haven’t never slept outside before.” “Well, you should ask your mom and dad to let you camp.” “No, no, my mom and dad don’t like that stuff.” Then, the littler girl next to him: “Yes, and I …” and she trailed off into gibberish as she made a grand and ridiculous I Love Lucy gesture to the side, rising up onto her little tiptoes, after which they both skipped off toward the concession stand.
Aaaaah, the beautiful concession stand. We eat cheap hamburgers with cold canned beer and they taste wonderful. After everyone goes home, we take showers and do laundry in the bathroom sinks and now it’s time to sleep, under the scoreboard lights.