Sunday, April 16, 2023

KATY Trail


Garmin Stats and Maps

KATY Trail

Overnight there had been a powerful storm. I felt very fortunate to be safe staying with Warmshowers hosts. Tornados touched down in a town not far away and 5 people were killed. Yesterday, the temperature got up to 81 degrees. This morning's temperature was 29 degrees. This was a huge change and bbbrrr cold! Chris and I said goodbye to hosts Ben and Jessica heading just a few miles to the start of the KATY trail. 

The KATY trail has an unpaved crushed limestone surface. It is 240 miles long. The entire trail is a state park. It is the longest and narrowest state park in the US. There are 26 trailheads.

Meeting Andy at Clinton

Chris and Andy at the Clinton trailhead

Today I met triker Andy O'Neil. He was waiting for us at the Clinton trailhead. Andy has been an integral part of my tour for many months. He has designed a separate website with many tabs and features. One tab is to keep track of Myrtle's progress with miles and elevation and another tab has a map with all my Youtube videos. He has also designed a contact form that is making it easy for me to schedule meet-ups and group rides as I tour as well as a donation page. (Thanks to everyone who has contributed!!) He has donated all of his time and talent. Andy is super smart, easygoing, and a joy to work with. I can hardly believe how lucky I am to have him on board with the tour. As you can imagine, it was very special to finally meet Andy and ride with him.

Catrike, HP and Performer trikes

3 triking amigos

3 trikers started down the KATY trail together. That is something that probably doesn't happen very often. Andy rides a Catrike, Chris rides a Performer and I ride an HP Velotechnik. Chris and I were also pulling trailers.

Andy, removing debris in our path

Because of the big storm last night, there was lots of tree debris scattered all over the trail. There were also dead trees that had fallen across the trail. Luckily, Chris and Andy were able to lift them to clear our path. We also had to stop fairly often to pull twigs and branches from out of our spokes. The limestone gravel was soft from all the rain and my rear wheel skidded a few times. 

Riding with Chris and Andy

Just a few warnings

Andy doesn't ride with e-assist so Chris and I let him set the pace. We rode together for 20 miles merrily yakking away. It was a nice but very cold ride. Windsor was Andy's turnaround point. We stopped here for lunch before saying goodbye. I think this was a long ride for Andy but I am very happy he made the effort. He was a real trooper to make the trip to meet up and ride on such a cold day. I really enjoyed riding with him.

Chris and Andy through the trees

Chris and I continued on to Sedalia. We did 42 miles. It was a long day. The limestone gravel was thick enough to slow me down. I think my average speed for the day was only 8.5 mph. Chris's wife was waiting with the car to take him back to Springfield. Chris and I had been riding together for 4 days. I was very happy to have his company and especially his knowledge of the area. It is so nice for me to be with someone that knows the way and enjoys leading. In Sedalia, I said goodbye to Chris and Patty and then found a very inexpensive hotel. There was a frost warning for the morning and I decided to stay for 2 nights.

With Chris on the way to Sedalia

On the trail with Chris

The forecast called for warming temperatures every day for another week. I am ready for some warmer riding weather. The first 2 days of riding on the KATY had the most climbing. Today's ride to New Franklin had 620 feet of climbing. Yesterday, there were only a couple of joggers on the trail and, today, I didn't see anyone. Again, there was lots of debris scattered all over the trail. Most of the bigger branches came from dead trees and were easy to remove. Once there were 2 fresh trees down and I got very lucky. The only 2 bikers on the trail I saw all day I met at these downed trees. Pat and Ruth were locals out for a day ride and helped me get passed. It took a great deal of effort for them to hold branches back. Slowly I was able to lift the trike and trailer over the large tree trunk. I learned from them that the trail has rangers to monitor and maintain it. But they only do trail maintenance on Mondays. The big storm happened on Tuesday night. I really hoped there wouldn't be any more big trees down as I continued.

Pat and Ruth - heroines

Big tree across the trail

AZUB and 2 HPs

With trikers Craig and JD

On my way to New Franklin, I met 2 trikers going in the other direction. Craig was riding a beautiful AZUB and JD was on a HP Velotechnik. It was very fun to meet them.  I camped at the Roundhouse RV park. No one was there. I filled out a form putting $10 in an envelope.  The RV park is very rundown and the layout is confusing. It took me a while to realize the RV parking and tent areas are actually across the trail from the main house where I paid. I was walking around for quite some time looking for the bathroom. The tent area has electricity and the bathroom was clean with hot water. While I was setting up, another cyclist showed up. Caleb has been living on his bike for more than 10 years. He travels with his calico cat, Marilyn. Somehow, I always feel safer when someone else camps with me even though I don't know the other people.

Drone shot with Caleb and Marilyn

Riding with Caleb and Marilyn

Through the trees

In the morning, Caleb, Marilyn, and I rode down the trail together. I flew my drone a bit to get video of us all riding together. I was also on the lookout for trikers Bonita and Jay who had reached out to host me. We met up after Rocheford. They also got a kick out of meeting Caleb and Marilyn. Bonita and Jay took me to see the Williamson Burr oak tree which is more than 400 years old. The day was beautiful and I really enjoyed riding with Bonita and Jay. We got our trikes loaded into a trailer at the Hartsburg trailer for the drive to their house. This couple is very sweet and super generous. The offered for me to stay as long as I wanted. If the weather wasn't so nice I probably would have stayed longer. It's impressive that people are reaching out to me offering to host when we have never met before. I have noticed that trikers tend to trust each other possibly more than other groups. We had a lovely meal together and I stayed in a very comfortable guest room. Many thanks to Bonita and Jay for opening your home.

With Bonita and Jay at Harzburg trailhead

Williamson Burr 400 year old tree

Bonita and Jay on the trail

I was doing the KATY trail early and riding season hasn't really started. Most of the businesses aren't open yet. In many of the towns on the trail, there are small parks with a bathroom. The water in the parks is still turned off for the winter and the bathrooms are closed. Camping at these parks isn't possible until the bathrooms open. Aside from these parks, there aren't many opportunities to camp. From what I understand, the businesses don't really open up until the middle of May. 

Joey's Birdhouse b&b

Myrtle outside Joey's Birdhouse

The next night I stayed at sweet Joey's Birdhouse B&B in McKittrick. It was Easter Sunday and I was surprised to find anything open. Bonita had sent me off with plenty of food because the grocery stores were also closed. 

Camping at Klondike Park

Caleb and Marilyn


From McKittrick, I made my way a short distance to camp at Klondike Park in Augusta. I camped, again, with Caleb and his calico cat, Marilyn. Another triker couple had reached out to host me. Lisa would meet me in the morning and we would ride to the trailhead closest to her house. Her husband, Jeff, met us with a trailer ready to load up the trikes for the drive to their house. Jeff helped me with a big project. One of my battery mounts has been missing screws since before I started the tour. Until recently, I didn't know the size of the screws. Jeff found the screws at a local hardware store and helped me get them installed. This was far more difficult than it should have been. The placement of 2 of the screws was very hard to get to. I was very grateful for Jeff's patience and happy to have the project finished successfully. They have a very comfortable house and Lisa is a terrific cook. It has been very special to have trikers reach out to me even though we have never met. I really enjoyed my stay.

Jeff, loading up the trikes

Lisa and Jeff

Lisa prepared a beautiful breakfast

In the morning, Jeff drove me and Lisa back to the trailhead. She rode with me 16 miles into St. Charles on a beautiful day. Jeff was waiting with the trailer to take Lisa home. Thanks for the fun visit and ride.

Thanks for the fun ride, Lisa

In St. Charles another triker opened her home. I have known Marian from BentRiderOnline for probably 15 years. It was very fun to finally meet her. She lives 2 blocks off the KATY trail. Marion took me shopping and paid for my groceries. Thank you Marian for opening your home.

With Marian

I really wanted to take advantage of the warm weather and was eager to continue riding even though everyone who hosted me offered for me to stay longer. I left Marian's home early and finished the KATY trail at Machens. From there, I got back on paved roads finding my way to the Mississippi River crossing at Alton riding into Illinois. Crossing into a new state is always very exciting. My average speed is only 11 mph but I feel like I'm making very good time on this tour.

End of KATY trail at Machens

New state, baby!

The KATY trail is very nice and I recommend riding it. For me, this ride was extra special because of the trikers who hosted me. That was terrific! It was also fantastic to meet Andy O'Neil and ride with Chris. Cycling the KATY was a rich experience. The trail itself is good for triking. It is also very dusty. My trike and trailer were coated in fine limestone dust. A shower was definitely needed after every ride. Doing the trail later in the season when everything is open would make it an even better experience. While I was on the trail there were very few other bikers.


  1. You sure are a true triker doing the ride alone. Glad you met up with some people and they provided their homes for you to rest up. Hope the rest of your tour is trouble free and Happy Triking.

    1. Many thanks, Gerald! I love the positive comments as well.

  2. You are always so positive! Love; Mickey

    1. Thanks, Mickey! I has really helped to get so much support and positive comments.

  3. Wonderful blog! It’s great to read your summarizations of your rides!

  4. Great read! Good luck and stay safe!!!

  5. Thanks for letting us virtually ride along. Here’s to blue and sunny skies ahead.

  6. Love reading your blog and seeing all the pictures.

  7. I am glad to hear you enjoyed riding along the Katy Trail. It is a joy to ride on.

  8. When I rode the Katy Trail two years ago I met a guy like Caleb, but not Caleb. My Caleb had a very large plastic bottle of peanut butter in the place where most bikers put a water bottle. He had many bags all over his two wheeler and it waas interesting to hear stories of his country-wide rides. THANKS for your entertaining posts !!

  9. we rode the Katy trail 21 years ago--no reservations, just the two of us on our bents. It was early May, and very few places were open to stay. Had a good time--also rode some of the roads along the trail--found out that if you were on the S. side of the trail, the roads were pretty flat and easy to ride on. On the N. side was another story--hilly--not afraid to admit that we walked a few hills. Met our daughter in St. Charles with our van and spent a day or so with them.

    1. That sounds like a great trip! Early days for recumbents, too.

  10. Hi Sylvia, I'm virtually following you from Scotland and you are a great inspiration to me :)

    I have a question - I'm guessing that on some of your rides you go out of range of mobile phone signal - do you worry about how you would access help if needed in those circumstances?

    Keep enjoying your expedition - I am very jealous of your freedom!