Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Sunday, August 17, 2008
We entered Missouri, our 25th state, early this morning. Before crossing the bridge, we took some pictures of the Atchison Sante Fe Depot railroad museum and some of the trains in the yard at the museum. We then turned to cross the tracks to our breakfast spot and got held up by a modern-day train. We had been held up by trains going by twice before, going to dinner the night before and coming back from dinner! We got pictures at two of those events. It was foggy on the Missouri side of the river this morning, so we didn't get a good picture of the Missouri River as we crossed it, but we did get a neat picture of the bridge enshrouded by fog. The bridge, or at least its road surface, was not in great shape - in fact, most of the bridges we went over today were in bad shape. One of them was particularly scary, with pieces of the concrete broken off at the edges. The roads themselves were in fair condition, for the most part, although not many of them had shoulders. Luckily, the Missouri drivers were patient with us and waited behind us when they couldn't pass. The traffic was usually pretty light, although there did seem to be more of it than we've been used to lately. Today was Sunday, though, so we'll see how it goes during the weekdays.
We had a nice flat run for the first 15 miles, rolling along the green hills we would soon be climbing. Missouri looked distinctly different from the Midwest states we've been in so far - less crops, more wilder-looking areas, and more residential areas with large houses on large lawns. We were quite surprised at the number of very large, new-looking houses we saw, sitting on lawns rather than pasture or crop fields. The fog wasn't as thick as it had been a couple of days earlier, and lifted fairly quickly. We were able to see a bit of Sugar Lake and the Lewis & Clark State Park, within the first 6 miles of our day. We didn't see the Missouri River after we crossed it this morning, even though we followed it roughly for the first 20 miles, then we moved east away from it. We skirted Kansas City to the north, not seeing any of it except for the many planes coming and going from the nearby Kansas City International Airport. We had a fairly complicated route today, mostly on county roads which all seem to named by single or double letters (B, C, F, JJ, etc.), quite an alphabet soup. They also jogged around a lot, as well, so we had to keep a close eye on our maps. We did go through a number of towns today, however, which was a nice change, and we had lots of places to stop and get a snack or soda. We did have to go a little off route to get lunch in Smithville and we had to eat our dinner at a convenience store in Holt since nothing else was open on Sunday.
The main highlight today, besides crossing into a new state, was the Smithville reservoir - a huge lake east of Smithville that we jogged around and over in a couple of spots. There were quite a few boats in the lake and we were passed by a number of cars towing boats that seemed to be going there. I can't get by without mentioning the hills, though. Remember the Nebraska roller-coaster hills I was griping about a few days ago? Well, Missouri's like that, too, only these are much steeper. Many of them weren't all that steep, but there were some 9-12%ers in there, too. We definitely got a workout today. The next couple of days look to be more of the same, but then we'll be on the Katy Trail which is, purportedly, flat(ter). We ended up at 62-1/3 miles in a little under 6-1/2 bike hours, leaving Atchison (after breakfast) at 7:45 and arriving at our motel in Holt at 4:30. And we have cellphone and internet connection here! (Not sure about the next couple of days).
Finally, a postscript about the Roland Sherman Memorial Area we saw on the Steamboat Trace Trail near Peru, NE. Our friend, William from Greensboro, NC sent us 2 YouTube links regarding Roland Sherman and his carvings that you might enjoy: Click here to see video of Roland Sherman Memorial Area; Click here for The Roland Sherman Memoral Area and Environs.