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Bike Cleveland (BikeCLE) is a 501(c)(3) advocacy non-profit organization for people on bikes in the Greater Cleveland area. Representing over 1000 dues paying members and more than 32 local businesses, they make sure that any time the conversation turns to transportation — that people on bikes are being considered alongside people in cars. They work to improve policy, infrastructure, and legislation to help make our roads places that serve people and communities, not just traffic.
If you want to help out, please support this worthy organization by becoming a member. It will cost you $35 (or $60 for a family) but you'll get a fancy membership card, invitations to special events and discounts at over 35 local businesses including a number of bike shops. If you are really motivated, you can also donate a few extra dollars as a one-time contribution. My goal is to get as many new memberships as possible and possibly a donation or two. It’s a good group of dedicated people working for all of us to make the streets a safe place for bicyclists. If you do not live in Northeast Ohio, join any way and know that you’ve supported a good cause.
The Mighty Missouri
Today’s ride will take me from Boonville to Jackson City. With a little sight seeing and getting to and from hotels, I’ll pedal about 58 miles. This will be the longest mileage day. The day started off at dawn with a ride over the bridge from Boonville to the Katy Trailhead. It was the first time on the trip I saw the river. It really is a spectacular sight. The clouds had rolled in over night and it was a little misty. The weather reports called for a chance of rain, but otherwise mostly cloudy.
Boonville to Rocheport
I found the trailhead without much problem and headed out east. This section of the trail begins on the north side of the river and travels through wide open farmland. It was almost a little spooky this early in the morning as there was not another person in sight. There were long stretches of trees either on the right or left and massive rolling farm fields on the other side. One really nice thing about the Katy in general so far is the lack of cross roads. It’s nice not to stop often and check both ways for traffic.
The trail was flat during this section and was in perfect shape. The only tunnel on the entire trail is outside of Rocheport. Right at the other end of the tunnel, I met Earl. Earl was also going the distance and we chatted for a few minutes. The only difference? Earl started his journey in Santa Monica, California and was on his way to the East Coast. Now that’s an adventure! I arrived in Rocheport a few miles later and stopped for a snack and water refill.
Rocheport to McBaine
After the stop in Rocheport we started hugging the river a little closer. The river was on my right and tall rocky bluffs would be on my left pretty much all the way to McBaine. If the east coast is known for “Washington slept here”, this area of the trail is known for Lewis and Clark campsites. There were plenty of informational signs and markers designating something they did along the trail.
I started to pick up more of a drizzle during this part of the ride but nothing to get you soaked. In a way it felt pretty good and kept the dust down in the trail.
The railroad built a bunker into the side of the cliffs as an explosives storage shed. It’s directly next to the trail but a sign warned it was private property. The views along this section offered a great look at the river and many trestles and bridges crossing the small creeks and rivers flowing into the Missouri.
This section was very isolated with barely to no cell phone signal. When I stopped a few times it was very quiet. It’s a little strange to think I’m rarely anywhere where you can’t at least hear a train, car or even a dog bark.
McBaine to Hartsburg
i stopped in McBaine for a quick snack and a water refill and headed out towards Hartsburg. This section of the trail moved away a bit from the river and passed through wetlands and farmland. This part of the trail was fairly level and in good shape. The dust was a bit bad during this section. This trail dust gets into everything. In addition, there are a number of gravel roads near the trail in sections and when a car (usually a pick up truck) travels by, the dust is blinding. Fortunately, this only happened a couple of times but I could see a need to bring some sort of bandana to cover your face if this was during a dryer period
I rode past an opening in the trees and glanced to my left and saw what I thought were boats sticking out of the ground. I stopped and turned around and sure enough there were boats sticking out the ground. There was no sign or marker, I’m just thinking it was someone with too much time in their hands. There was a trestle right next to this spot that offered a great view of the river.
Hartsburg to Jefferson City
I stopped for a few minutes in Hartsburg and continued on for the last 14 miles to Jefferson City. We quickly returned to the forest. It’s hard to describe how green everything is at this spot. The tree covered bluffs would be on my left and the woods on my right. Occasionally the trees would break to show a farm or two. As I approached Jefferson City there was an occasional house or barn close to the trail but once again a fairly empty place.
If you recall from Day 2, I programmed into my Garmin Bike Computer the entire course including the routes off of the trail to get to the hotel. I messed this up on the morning of Day 2 and missed the trailhead. Anyway, this was now another spot where I needed to leave the trail and head south towards Jefferson City. More specifically, I needed to find the bridge over the river and my hotel in the downtown area. Well, I’m happy to report that I left the trail at the right spot and traveled about 2 miles in roads to the bridge.
The bridge over the river offered a 5 story bike ramp that weaved back and forth to get to the level of the bridge. It looks like it was hooked on the side of the vehicle bridge and offered a safe passage into the city. It was a quick downhill ride to my hotel.
It’s nice to report... it never rained!
Tonight is laundry night, so I’m getting an Uber to a laundromat to wash clothes for the balance of the trip. My wife will tell you that this activity is not one of my strengths.
Video Montage of Day 3