Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 12, 2011. Pilot Grove to Columbia, MO. 44 miles

Dolores, in the pink shirt below, is the owner of the Bed and Breakfast where we stayed last night, and she came in this morning and served us a wonderful breakfast! We had egg casserole, bacon, redskin potatoes, toast, homemade jam and homemade salsa, fruit, juice and coffee. What a treat that was after starting the day yesterday on white toast and sweet rolls at the hotel!Dolores took our group photo before we saddled up and hit the trail.Eleven miles down the trail, we stopped at Boonville. This is the restored Boonville train station where I bought postcards for the grandkids while Fred changed his tire again--he flatted on the trail and the tire was ruined, so he booted it and limped into Boonville where Bill, Doris and Ruth came bearing new tires and morning snacks.As we left Boonville we crossed the Missouri River in a bike lane on the highway bridge. We could see the old lift bridge, which is scheduled for demolition, in the distance.

We passed the old explosives bunker, used when they built the railroad, and remnants of the train turntable at Franklin. The clay brick grain elevator was at Pearsons, a town that no longer exists due to the absence of the trains.

Just before reaching Rocheport we passed through the only tunnel that was built on the MKT railroad. There are other tunnels, but they were built for the rail trail in places that the rock walls on each side of the rail bed were unstable.

We had lunch at Rocheport--sandwiches in the trailhead parking lot, since the restaurants are closed on Mondays. White limestone cliffs rose on one side and the Missouri River flowed on the other as we rode from Rocheport to Huntsdale. There were several plaques commemorating Lewis and Clark's expedition on the Missouri River, and some ancient Indian pictographs that were barely visible.

Just before McBaine we took the cutoff to Columbia. It was a great trail, and it used to be the spur from the MKT railroad into Columbia. Bill, Doris and Ruth were at the end of the trail so we would not have to ride our bikes on the busy streets of Columbia. We arrived at our hotel, showered, and walked to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Sometimes you want the known quantity... several people were sick today after eating at the place with the cage fighter for a waitress.

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