Okay…it wasn’t actually a trail blazing, but the OBS Geezers sure discovered all that is good about Missouri’s Katy Trail.  Plus we also experienced what happens when it rains which is not so good.  The foliage hadn’t quite “foliated” fully yet, but it was still really pretty.

Sixteen of the Oklahoma Bicycle Society Geezers  (yes, it is a selective, highly regarded and august group) met in Columbia, MO on Sunday, Oct. 12 to prepare for a week on the trail (which upon unpacking required a Happy Hour).  Told you this was a selective, highly regarded and august group!  Although this trip was my first with the Geezers, I was impressed with their knowledge of the importance of a Happy Hour to rider training.   

Our five days on the trail consisted of nights spent in three locations (Columbia, Hermann and Washington)and rides east or west each day on the trail as far as our legs, constitution and compunction carried us.  Some of us did the “requisite 20 miles,”  while others opted for longer distances.  Some Geezers have non-riding spouses to pick up and ferry back, others rode out and backs. 

Fred Kamp did a great job of putting a schedule together, which I learned is “flexible.”  In other words, the Geezers, at Fred’s own admission, don’t totally listen to him.  Actually, he’s very good at devising evening dining table seating arrangement matrices (which no one followed), but the method is impressive.  In other words, the tour is very laid back and everyone is free to do their own thing.  For example, I think I was the only one to stop at North Jefferson and ride to Tebbetts and back, but the Summit Hill Winery is nearby and I needed provisions.  The weather was dicey that day and several of the Geezers took advantage of the cultural stops like the Churchill Memorial in Fulton where Winston gave his Iron Curtain speech. 

Riders get a good view of the Capitol across the river when riding from North Jefferson east to Tebbetts.

They also see the Tattoo Mobile Unit at Wainwright.  Didn’t have any customers!

Our ride to Rocheport on the first day was great!  Some jumped on at McBaine…some of us got on the MKT Fitness Trail on Forum Blvd.  Terrific weather, and despite the complaining, we all made it up “the hill” to the A-Frame at Les Bourgeois for lunch.  Of course, at the end of the day we celebrated a Columbia Happy Hour and then some stayed close by at Ruby Tuesdays and others went to my favorite place, Flat Branch Saloon.  Can’t beat their brick oven pizza…or the catfish, according to Betty.

Our next stop was Hermann for two nights.  Some rode Tuesday afternoon because the weather forecast was not great for Wednesday.  However, once again Happy Hour came and went and we found ourselves at The Vintage Restaurant at Stone Hill Winery.  Great food, good wine, terrific company.

The next day the weatherman was right!  So several of us found ourselves covered in the lime slime of the wet Katy Trail.  I consider a day in the rain on the Katy a type of baptism that all should experience.   After a morning in the rain, some good German food is in order..and nine of us tried out Trapper’s Grill.  Although the service was slow, the food was good.  Dorothy and I managed to plow through a Brat is short order…and of course, we had beer (early Happy Hour!)

The next two days on the trail were picture perfect…cool temps in the morning…sunshine, little wind…just glorious days.  I was reminded on those days how fortunate we are to be able to able to enjoy the simple pleasures of the great bicycling outdoors and the fellowship that results from group rides.

 

Joe, Betty, Jim, Joanna, Larry and Gary stopped at the Smith Creek bridge with the Mighty Mo behind them just west of Treloar.  Some of us enjoyed a lunch break at the Treloar Bar and Grill with two nice ladies from Missouri who ride the Katy each fall.  Meeting fellow cyclists on the trail is part of the charm.  I got to know a very nice young man from Columbia who I saw several times along the way, two guys from Chicago, an Elderhostel group of 23 riders from all over the U.S. and Canada, and three guys from the West Coast who rode part of the trail as an Adventure Cycling tour from Cedar Rapids, IA to St. Louis. 

On the last day, most of us cycled from either Dutzow or Marthasville to Augusta or Defiance.  Several of us met up at the Augusta Brewery for some wonderful Oktoberfest brew and sandwiches.  I rode with Joe most of the day.  He said I pushed him, I maintained he pushed me, but either way, we held a very good pace and covered quite a bit of ground.  It was one of those Zen cycling days.  Thanks Joe!

Joe is a big guy, but he looks small next to the water cut bluff near Matson. 

I’m so fortunate to have found the OBS Geezers.  What a fun loving group of folks!  I just hope they’ll let me tag along again.

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