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Woke up this morning to the sound of some anglers just before the alarm went off.  We had left the tent fly only partially on to help with ventilation and during the night it had blown off so we had a nice view of our lock and the surrounding forest.  While we were admiring the surroundings we also noticed a couple million mosquitoes trying to break in and have breakfast.  A couple had lock picks and others with battering rams, we’re talking determined. Let’s just say Cyndy found squished bugs many miles later, one at the nape of her neck.

Given the hostile environment we packed everything we could while barricaded in the tent then made a run for the bikes, packing everything in record time.  Grabbed the bikes and headed for the other side of the lock and into the parking lot.  Whew, we were much safer.  Boy, is it a challenge to be walking that narrow walkway on top of the lock gates, with the open grate to stare at the water below.  Time to brush the teeth and make sure we have everything.  All this rushing had us going in record time.

Lock 18, Little Falls to Schenectady, NY 028 Headed six miles down the road to Little Falls to get breakfast at Ann Street Cafe as recommended by Ed last night.  Whipped out the computer to finish the blog entry and check our route for today.  Not wanting to have a repeat of yesterday Steve took the time, while we had an internet connection, to check each departure from a path and plot the streets required to get to next entrance.  This consumed 2 hours so we ended up leaving at ten forty, so much for a early start, but we were prepared.  All that work and there was actually plenty of signage to direct us.

Lock 18, Little Falls to Schenectady, NY 002 Shortly after getting on the road we came across Lock 17 the largest drop of any lock on the Barge Canal at 40.5 feet.  This one had a down stream door that dropped vertically into place and had a concrete bulkhead overhead to accommodate the large change in water level.  Steve wanted to just take a quick look because of the late start but we ended up there for a half hour anyway.

Headed up the path to lock fifteen where we stopped for at the camping area and enjoyed a few minutes of relative quiet along the side of the canal under some pine trees.  Didn’t miss the opportunity to snack a bit while we were stopped.  Lock 18, Little Falls to Schenectady, NY 015 The power station door was open for viewing so Steve took the opportunity to check out the old switch gear and the two original four cylinder gas engines driving DC generators.  Cyndy just nodded when she heard about the hardware, but enjoyed staring at the water and eating fresh Concord grapes.  Who knew there is actually a way to eat them by popping the center into your mouth, spit the seed then enjoy the skin part.

The path went through the edge of Canajoharie, which means “pot that washes itself” (too bad we didn’t find the actual creek with this whirlpool in it)..  Stopped at a local diner down Main Street for a soft serve ice cream, if you can believe that.  The lady gave us a small size cone that was piled a mile high.  She started asking questions and was in disbelief at the answers so we had to show her the bikes.  As we sat in the restaurant we could hear her repeating the story to anyone that would listen.

Came across another lockLock 18, Little Falls to Schenectady, NY 022 from the original canal.  It was not as accessible as the others but very cool just the same.  A replica of a grocery store also stood on the spot.  It was hard to image that  the large canal in the background didn’t exist when the grocery was in operation.

At this point we started to look at our evening destination.  Amsterdam was a choice at only five miles away, but we really wanted to make Schenectady.  (Cyndy just loves the name with the accent in the wrong place, just keeps thinking of Randy Meyers schmackdaddy hat…) Some re-plotting gave us reassurance that it was only 20 miles away and we still had two and one half hours of sunlight.

The trail was paved for the rest of the ride (where there was trail) and we made very good time until we stopped at lock 8 on the outskirts of Schenectady to find lodging.  We found the information we needed and Alice did her usual job of guiding us to our destination.  Luckily the B&B we are staying at was right on the trail (it was really on the city roads that lead to the next segment of trail).  This B&B was built c1775 in the historic downtown area.  Lots of magnificent stone buildings.  We walked up to diner on Erie St.. We were told the original canal ran where the street is today, also hard to imagine.

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We are certainly not going to get any awards for our morning motivation so far.  We barely made it to our 7:30 breakfast reservations, then proceeded to chat with the owners for another hour.  Ran back to the room to get the blog finished and sucked up another hour and still didn’t finish.  Couldn’t delay anymore so we hit the road without completing it.

Cruised through the downtown of Medina on our way out of town so Cyndy could look around and then we crossed over the canal and re-entered the bike path.  Right over the bridge the town had a large red apple (looked more like a strawberry) as a monument to the local growers.  We stopped to take  a bite out of the big apple!Medina, to Macedon, NY 002 As we left town we got a bit rattled by rumble strips in the concrete canal edge, the surface gladly lasted only a hundred feet or so. 

Apparently the local sandstone in this area has been used to build part of the Brooklyn Bridge and Buckingham Palace.  Who would have guessed?

We were passed by a cruiser (power boat in the canal) somewhere out of Medina and then caught Medina, to Macedon, NY 016up to it a few minutes later as it waited to pass a draw bridge.  Steve has been watching ever since, hoping to arrive at the next set of locks at the same time.

We unexpectedly stumbled on a feature that we thought we had missed, the only road tunnel under the canal.  Steve couldn’t pass up the opportunity to walk under the canal and snap a couple ofMedina, to Macedon, NY 004 photos.

The ride was SOP until we arrived in Albion where the trail way was closed, again with no markings for a detour.  Fortunately we ran into some other riders going west as we arrived at the closure.  They had just completed a detour and gave us the info we needed along with a little map of the upcoming area.   They also filled us in on a good place to eat in Spencerport called a Taste of Texas.  So nice to have others out here to chat with.

We headed out into the countryside to follow the detour.  The roads were very nice and we had the opportunity to see what the local farmers were tending.  Cyndy was blurry eyed when she saw rows of cabbage, soy, corn, apples of all kinds.  In few miles we were back on the trail enjoying the canal and the forest that surrounded it.

Stopped in Brockport for something to eat around 2 ended up just getting ice cream and holding out for the Texas barbecue in Spencerport just 8 miles down the path.  We spent a short while chatting with the local bike shop guy & his dog Sprocket. Medina, to Macedon, NY 023

We arrived in Spencerport to find another very nice downtown area host to various little shops and found the barbecue.  Hauled in and ordered up a hardy lunch, another yummy stop.  They had WI-FI so Steve took the opportunity to finish yesterdays’ blog and upload it.  Started today’s too.Medina, to Macedon, NY 024

By this point it was after 4pm and the sun was setting much sooner than when we started this trek, so time pressure is beginning to creep in.  Down the trail 2 hours or so we ran into the town of Pittsford with its canal side restaurants and shops.  The smell of dinner was in the air and lots of people out enjoying a beautiful evening, but we needed to keep going if we were to reach our goal for the day.  Shortly after we ran into Fairport, same thing!! Darn!

We were just 4 miles out of Macedon but the sun was setting so we focused on getting down the trail.  We passed the landmark trailer park only to realize the hiker, biker park was still three more miles out so we zipped down the path in the waning light.  Finally the Lock and the camp area showed up out of the forest.  We crossed the canal on a narrow walkway mounted on top of the lock gates (great fun) and then investigated the area.

There was another couple on bikes already setup for the night.  We ended up chatting with them for forty five minutes or so.  They were from Pittsburg, PA doing the trail from Buffalo to Albany.  Had to get our camp set up so we said good night only to step out from under the tree to find it had begun to rain.  Steve looked around and found a covered picnic area right behind our selected site so we moved under the cover to avoid getting all our equipment wet.

We sat out for a little bit to eat and set up, then called it a night.

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We’ll be back on the road to finish the last leg of the trip right after Labor Day.  Day 47 was posted at the same time as this message so there may be some new stuff you haven’t seen!

intermission_folks

Another mighty fun day today.  Cleaned up the campsite and hit the road in a pretty timely fashion.  The bike path ended just a short distance after rejoining it, as expected.  A couple of turns to route twenty to get me on the course for the day.  The town of Ashtabula, as I saw it, consisted of a lot of big box stores on the main route and that was about it.  There was a breakfast place, a chain with Internet, that I had been to before so in I went to get some food and info for the day.

I knew my route for the day but the lake was just over there and I wanted to see it.  I looked high and low to find a little road that went along the shore, but none made sense.  So I checked email and resigned myself to the fact that I would need to wait on the lake viewing.

Back on the road I was getting a beating.  The surface had been ground for resurfacing and there was nowhere for me to go to avoid it.  I just held on lightly and hopped to get past it soon, as I assuredly did.  I appreciated the smooth roads ahead much more the rest of the day.

After crossing into Pennsylvania I arrived at route 5, a road that promised light traffic and views of the lake.  Ashtabula, OH to East Ripley, NY 019 After hours of riding without seeing it the lake finally revealed itself, just over there as I knew it was, but still out of reach.  The view came and went and I continued to look for ways of getting to its edge, when finally I came across Presque Park, a peninsular.  After all the whining I chose to bypass the park because going would have added 20 miles to my day.  I know I’m ahead of schedule, but that’s been revised.  So now I have new expectations.

I continued along only to run into Liberty Park and Marina just a couple of miles after.  I had been making great progress 47 miles and it was only 1pm.  But the shinny objects in the harbor were a distraction.  I investigated every corner of the place, finally touching it, when a couple walked up and started asking questions.  In the course of conversation the guy let me know that there was a water taxi that ran across the harbor to Presque Park, the one  that I had forgone earlier.   From there it was a very short ride across the peninsular to the lake and beach.  I balked at first then ended up running for the taxi at the last second.

Ashtabula, OH to East Ripley, NY 013

I wheeled up and the captain welcomed me and my bike aboard strapping my bike to the rails for safe keeping.  I stayed up at the wheel house to chat and the captain filled me in on the goings on in the park and on the water.  In a few short minutes we had made the 1.5 miles crossing.  His round trip takes 1 hour so I asked him to hold a spot for me on the next trip.

I headed over to the beach, it was much closer than I had expected, and kicked off my shoes and waded into the water.  I wanted to go for a swim but I didn’t want to deal with more wet things hanging from the back of the bike.  In the end, I went in the water of course.  It was cool and refreshing.  I was cold, finally.  But my indecision had cost me time and I only had 15 minutes to dry off, change and get back to the boat for my return trip.

Headed for the pier and was greeted by the captain and a half full boat, some being bikers.  I heard a couple of noises (moans really)from the other passengers, you know, the kind like, is that overloaded bike going to tip us over????  As we made our return trip the Captain and I chatted some more, he had just taken up biking again at the young age of 61.  He didn’t want to wear a helmet so I gave him the helmet speech.  He filled me in on some more info for my easterly departure from the Erie area.

Soon we were at the pier and I was off.  There were some decent paths to follow on the way out of town and I also noticed “BikePA” signs earlier so I followed along.  Most of the roads had decent shoulders and surface conditions.  As I moved out of the city the traffic became lighter again and the route more of a pleasure.  I was pleasantly surprised by the route through Erie.  I expected to be riding through a busy downtown cluster, it was anything but.

That was the last of the cities for me today.  All of my riding would then be through small towns and rural areas.  Ashtabula, OH to East Ripley, NY 026 Route 5 continued to take me close to the lake and provide vistas at irregular intervals.  I stopped at another marina for a look and to snap some photos later in the day.

I only had 27 miles to go when I left the city of Erie to make my goal for today and of course I passed some great places that were short of that.  So I continued to pedal along until I reached my 75 mile mark then started looking.  I had been scouting up to this point and it was very obvious that all these vineyards and corn fields back right up to the lake.  So I’m thinking, hey, I can go to the back of one of these areas and camp right along the lakes edge, out of site out of mind.  So that’s what I did.

Ashtabula, OH to East Ripley, NY 050

I’m at the back of a vineyard right above the water listening to the waves crash.  Not bad.  This place also has a set of stairs to get down to the water where there was a private beach for my bathing enjoyment.  Took care of removing the days’ filth, then made dinner and pitched the tent right at sunset.  Scurried into the tent to avoid the skeeters and type this entry, then it was off to sleep.

Great ride today.  Continued on the nice roads with low traffic for the most part.  Got out about 17 miles to Fredericktown and found a place to have breakfast.  Came through the door to the clang of bells hung on it.  Got the “ya ain’t from round here” look from everyone.  Never to let that slow me down I yelled hello to everyone and moved on.Delaware to Medina, OH 001

Didn’t rush through breakfast taking some time to complete yesterdays blog and upload photos.  Finally headed back to the bike only to be cornered by one of the guys who were the restaurant.  He regaled me with stories of his glory days on the bike.  Nice guy but he never took a breath to allow me to get the ol’ “gotta get going” in.  It took a half hour or so, but he finally got bored with me and let me go.  I went back in to get water bottles filled when the owner let me know he (the guy outside) does that to every biker he sees.  Would have been nice to know that ahead of time.

The road surfaces were nice and it was pretty hilly for a good portion.  Not those nice pitches like Colorado, no much steeper.  They weren’t too long maybe 2/10 to 1/4 miles, but there were a lot of them, one after another.Delaware to Medina, OH 004

Pulled into Wooster around 3:30 and stopped for lunch at a little summer time diner.  Struck up a conversation with a couple on a motorcycle.  After we went through the usual bike trip stuff.  They started talking about a boat they have at a marina in Erie.  Turns out they have the exact boat Cyndy and I have.  Got some mileage out of that one.  As it started raining I was still ready to talk boats for hours longer but they were not interested in getting wet.  They managed to pry themselves from my grip and get on their bike before I could stop them.  Meanwhile the help had taken the umbrellas down off the deck and I was left to weather the showers on my own.  Hmm, fine, I’ll go!

Stopped at a grocery store a couple of blocks up and re-provisioned, but forgot to fill water bottles.   As I rode through suburbia I kept looking for a spigot to fill bottles (yes Californians, the rest of the country drinks form the spigot) so I would be comfortable were ever I landed.  Finally found a commercial building and filled everything.  Wooster is a nice town with a lot of  colonial architecture.  I have been here before, maybe 10 years (or more) ago I interviewed for a job at Stahl. 

Headed out of Wooster for Seville.  That would put me right at the numbers I am shooting for.  Unfortunately they were pretty proud of there rooms, even the campground was over the top at forty dollars per night.  Being cheap I continued to ride and ended up looking at the largest array of non-designated campsites of any evening on this trip.  From churches to empty lots to cemeteries, for one reason or another I just couldn’t close the deal.  In the end trying to find an off piste place to stay was taking far too much time and I was running out of it.

Here’s some residents of a one campsite I looked at.

Delaware to Medina, OH 006

I headed for Medina, just ten miles up the road were I negotiated a room for $19 more than the campground wanted for a tent site and I had a hot shower and a restaurant to eat at while I composed the blog entry.

Decided last night that a new rear tire is mandatory so I waited until 10 am for the nearby shop to open.  They had a very limited supply but one that would work, so I was in business without going off route.  You know I like that.

They delay also allowed me to watch a couple of morning showers go by without getting wet.  The front that has been on my rear for days has now taken residence on top.  I have been watching the weather RADAR trying to pick the best departure time or determine if I should take today as a rest day.

The morning has been relaxing but the downside, of course, is that it’s now approaching 12pm and I haven’t been on the bike today.  As I finish lunch/breakfast the clouds are breaking and it’s time to go.

The route for today was selected, again, because it appeared to be small untraveled roads.  I couldn’t be more wrong.  Small shoulder lots of traffic.  I definitely miss Kansas.  As I passed Lebanon route 42 traffic load calmed markedly and the shoulder widened.  The rest of the ride was more calm.Fairfield to Xenia, OH 002

As I rode over an overpass a couple of miles south of Xenia I saw a bike path below.  I stopped and asked Alice what she knew about it but she wasn’t talking.  When I got to Xenia I found the path and the fact that I could have been riding on it for a large portion of the day, Bummer.  But I also found it goes to the next town on tomorrows agenda, so that’s a plus.

Today was short and tough for me.  I never warmed up (muscles) and even the little climbs were tough.  I also had a 10 + MPH wind behind  me that should have elevated my average, but it never happened.  I don’t know if it was just an off day or a more chronic issue with the pace I’ve been maintaining.

So 50 miles to Xenia and I was sitting by 5pm.

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bike trip, bike tour, cross-country, camp, bike, travel, transcontinental, Raleigh

Late start today, spent the morning chatting with some folks while I stuffed down the wonderful continental breakfast at the Econolodge.  Asked Alice about an easy way back to 50 and ended up exiting town on a great back road that lead to 50 east of town.

50 was a fantastic concrete surface with a wide shoulder and I was enjoying the conditions, until the rumble strips showed up.  Unlike, other states where the strip is parallel to the lane of travel, this one covered the width of the shoulder lane for about 3 feet.  So for 20 miles it was brump…brump… brump.  I’m going brumping crazy.Vincennes to Seymore, IN 001

Stopped in Washington, IN for brunch at the KFC and chatted with the ladies behind the counter for a few.  Nice bunch.  The landscaper dude couldn’t understand why I would want to ride across the country.  He thought insanity may be the answer.

Hit the road on the east side of town to find a very busy section of the highway but plenty of shoulder, for a while.  As always the shoulder disappeared and the traffic didn’t and for the next couple of hours I was wondering what I was doing on this road.  The road surface was the same as so many other miles of 50 but there was much too much commercial traffic.  Finally got to the 50/60 split and most of the traffic was gone and I could enjoy the ride once again.  This lasted all the way to SeymoreVincennes to Seymore, IN 004

Arrived in Bedford, this town seemed as good as any to have lunch and take a short break so I stopped at a little diner on the outskirts. I relaxed in the back for at least 45 minutes.  Filled in the girls behind the counter on my trip, they couldn’t resist asking, after I had taken up residency.   Topped off the fuel tanks and the water bottles and decided 4pm was too early to stop so packed up and shoved off again.  The wind was behind me and I didn’t want to miss one second of that rarity so I targeted Brownstown 28 miles away as my destination.

I was adamant about not staying in a hotel tonight knowing that tomorrow I would be in the vicinity of Cincinnati and there would be no way to camp.  To my surprise there were two or three camp grounds before Brownstown but I wanted the full distance.  I had already decided I would just camp in a corn field and that would be good enough.Vincennes to Seymore, IN 002

Well Brownstown, came and there was still plenty of light and Seymour was only 10 miles up the road so off I went.  Seymour was a much larger town than I was expecting.  With the main street, route 50, stretching several miles with retail on both sides.  I kept I eye out for somewhere to eat because I didn’t want to have to go back out after showering, a time saving tactic.  Been thinking about Chinese for a couple of days so that’s what it was.

Quick in and out, made some phone calls about a room and off I went. Less than in hour in town and I was fed and showered and ready for bed.  So maybe you’re wondering what happened to my commitment to camping????  It went out the window when a passed the 100 mile mark for the day and there was few prospects for camping.  There was a shower out there with my name on it.

sign

Here’s a riddle for you today.  I have seen this sign a couple of times and I think it means one thing and I am wrong.  What do you think it means?

 

So I woke up alive this morning, or so they have let me believe.  My relocation last night having obviously subverted the towns plans for me.  Thanks to my advanced survival training and some sheets to hide under.  I moved quickly and stealthily through the motel room, quickly gathering my things before being seen (except for the 2 hours I spent on the phone with REI and finishing the blog entry).  But then I see one of the daughters pointing at the room and speaking to another.  I’ve been made.

She comes over the my door and knocks, I swing the door open and acted casual, trying not to let them know I was on to them.  Finished up the conversation and quickly grabbed my things then fled from the room (except for one last check of Mafia Wars). I was in the street pedaling and trying not to look back lest I give away my advantage of knowing what they were up to.  I make it to town and hide in a building, Ok it was a breakfast joint.  Everyone stared at me like they were the people in Invasion of the BodyWindsor to Franklin, MO 001 Snatchers that had already been replaced.  I stared them down, don’t show fear, they’ll know I’m on to them.  I casually sat down and ordered way too much food and wrote my supplemental entry then snuck out the door.  I was quick to the bike, except to take the time to upload my entry, and off, but then one of their scouts caught me.

Windsor to Franklin, MO 002What’cha up to, son?  Running like a  scared school girl sir before someone in this town sucks my brains out, I mean riding across country.  He says he met another guy doing the same thing and he followed him on his blog, then asks if I have one too.  I think quick, is he stalling or are they going to get me on the trail.  I tell him my name is Patty O’furniture, without a blog and ride away.  As I enter  the trail right around the corner, I hear the music change from the fearful “don’t open that door” to the Oooo Golden Retrievers in the tall grass playing, I’m saved.  People smile and wave on the trail completely oblivious to what’s going on in that town.

Finally I’m on the Katy trail. It’s great I’m off the road for a  while and I can let my guard down.  Regular services and a pretty decent riding surface.  there is a rider at the entry and I just say good morning because it’s 10;30 and I need to get some miles under my belt.  About 7 miles further there are a couple of other riders and they want to talk, OK time for a break, been at it almost 30 minutes, whew.  Burn another 45 minutes chatting and off I go again.  Started off slow because of the surface, but in the areas with good tree coverage (most of today’s ride) the trail stayed moist and packed.  Making as good time as on the pavement.Windsor to Franklin, MO 005

One corner after another reveals a beautiful corridor with trees forming a canopy, then out in the open, then a bridge or two.  The trail takes me along the back side of ranch and farm land.  Cows wading in the water (you know I wanted to join them).  Now this is my kind of landscape. Windsor to Franklin, MO 013

As the miles pass so do the towns, access to their resources don’t seem to be as good as I would have expected.  It’s early and I don’t need anything so the towns slip by with little more than a glance.  then, of course, I begin to get Hungary and now the search begins.  Food is not as easy to get as I had expected, another stretch where many businesses are closed.  The ice cream place, the grocery store, gone.

End up in Boonville for dinner and groceries, it’s a little bigger and seems to have what I need.  Happened across an ice cream store on my way to the grocery, clearly a sign from god, I stop.  Stroll in and find three 30 something guys who were ‘”definitely not from around here” running the place.  They tell me they’re from Las Vagas.  We end up having a fun time speaking in plain uncensored truth.  As we’re chatting one guy asks if I’m hungry, well, I’m always hungry.  He whips me up a sandwich that was just delicious and exactly what I was looking for, On Yeh, so was the ice cream shake.  So one more place that you definitely need to stop by on your Katy trail trip.

CARRIE LYN’S ICE CREAM PARLOR
745 Main St. Boonville, MO.

Dropped down to the grocery and wandered around looking for provisions… this was much easier when Cyndy did it.  Forgot to grab the nectarines but I was back on the road.

Right out of town I crossed the Missouri River, Windsor to Franklin, MO 016so I had to stop at the middle and gawk and take photos.  Got to the other side and had a bit of trouble getting back on the trail, thanks to Alice once again.  Two or three miles out I run across a very nice campground on the trail.  Ride past determined to get 60 miles in for the day.

Less than a mile up I run across a kiosk with maps and finally pick one up.  Hey, Looks like I’ve already gone exactly 60 miles and there are no campgrounds for 22 more.  Hmmm, that campground is now looking like the right choice. Back I go.  Good choice, fed, showered, camp setup all before 10 PM first time in days.  Early to bed, early to rise, many miles to ride.

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If you remember from back at Bazine, KS, one of our tent poles broke.  The little coupler between the sections broke clean, Ahhh tempered aluminum.  No big deal we were 2 days out of Salina were we would pick up a car and run back to Denver.  There are plenty of REI’s there to get’r fixed up.

Well, seemed simple at the time.  That was five days ago, I set up the tent yesterday only to have another pole break except not a coupler as before (I now have spare parts for that), the tube cracked, no parts to fix that.  Not happy, but I bought it at REI no problem.

Got up this morning and started making phone calls to get this taken care of.  Call REI customer service, very nice, not very helpful, tent model is not available in any store other than California.  Tells me that it would take two weeks to get the tent to St. Louis but they don’t have any at the warehouse.  If I want it faster I would have to pay for shipping! Oh, and he can’t handle store transfers.  This guy won’t do anything and dumps me off on the Cal. store manager.  Frustration!

Call Brentwoods store, not open yet, you Californians are still in bed.  Call  Mountain Hardware they’re still sleeping, doesn’t surprise me, given the quality of their tent.  Bet you can guess I’m not any less frustrated, aye.

Call REI customer service back, I’m not as forgiving as I was on the first call, but still polite.  The lady tells me “maybe the tent isn’t the right product for what I’m doing”.  REALLY FRUSTRATED!  So if the tent isn’t good for camping what the ((*& is it good for!!!!!

She sends me to customer service, thought I was talking to customer service!?!?  Explain the situation again and as you might guess I’m not going to take no for an answer.  We go to REI and pay a premium for premium customer service.  This guy seems to get that.  He’s suppose to call me back in a couple of hours, after he can get a hold of the Brentwood store and arrange a transfer.  We’ll see.

The rub here is two things;  I sewed a custom compression bag for this tent to fit the bike loading the way I want it, so I can’t just buy another tent.  Second I purposely bought this tent for the trip because I didn’t want any problems during the trip and my other tent was a cheap $40.00 tent from Wal-mart.  Seems the Wal-mart tent is actually made to camp with because I’ve had it for years without any problems.

One other note, Mo. still lets people smoke in restaurants.  Cough, cough.  Don’t realize it’s missing until it’s not.

Thanks for letting me whine, I feel much better.  I need to finish my breakfast and get moving.  Yikes, I’m trying to jamb it in too fast just to get going! I have to come up for air, must get going, muuuust breath, must get going.  Gasp, gasp.  What no phone service to up load this?? Cram in food faster to get outside for a connection.  I feel like the comic strip Cathy.

Once again it’s after 10am and I’ve ridden 0.5 miles.  Off to the trail I have high hopes of off highway peace and quiet.

So I get into Winsor right about sunset, Beautiful little town all the lawns kept up, plenty of room and trees, houses with Victorian architecture.  Pass the entrance to the Katy.  I’ve been looking forward to getting here and I had a shower waiting for me to boot, good times… or were they?

Followed the directions John had given me to Pat’s house, who was suppose to provide some help to a weary traveler.  Trying to be considerate I called from down the street, no answer.  Hmmm, let me ride a little further, probably in the shower.  Five or so minutes later call again, no answer.  Hmmm, I’m just down the street I’ll go to the house, dark.  That’s weird, just an hour and a half ago this person was “excited to have me over”, now vanished.  I circle in front of the house a couple of times, like a dog looking for the perfect sleeping spot.  Then the neighbor, a large greasy less refined sole, comes out to see what I’m up to.  I ask if the house next door is Pat’s, “yup but he ain’t home, who are you?”.  My cue to practice “leave no trace camping” and move on.

John and some others had told me about a campground, down the street behind Sonic Burger, so off I went.  After one wrong road selection, there were two behind Sonic, I found the place.  Big beautiful play ground on a lake with some spots on the other side of the lake with bathrooms.  This was going to be great.  Nope, “ya can’t camp over here, Ya gotta go up the road to our camp area.  Ya came by it on the way in”.  Paid my five bucks and I was off.

I pick a spot at the edge of the trees in this field (campground) along the side of the road in a spot shaded from two huge lights. Time to pitch the tent and get a shower under the spigot.  While I’m showering I’m still trying to figure this whole thing out.  A guy out of no where finds me a room, host vanishes.  Get directed to camping spot in open field under lights, then, seems like an awful lot of cars driving by slowly on a dirt road to nowhere, then some semi naked, apparently drunk guy pulls into my spot mumbling something as he bottoms out his POS Cadillac on the rocks then backs out.

So here’s where my head is now:

Scenario One:

Bi-city conspiracy where people sort through the morons yapping about their trip and their toys and have them out for display on the dinner table.  “help them out” and help themselves out too and I’m left walking through the streets half naked mumbling.

Scenario two:

After sunset or after I’m asleep, all kids’ eyes turn opaque white and converge on my tent repeating, “give me your blackberry”.

It’s funny but the situation didn’t smell right and I wouldn’t sleep at all, so I packed my tent up and headed out… at 10pm.  Alice said there was a hotel up the road 0.4.  That’s where I was going.

I pulled into the parking lot, office closed, circled like dog, again.  Saw note on door, find us out back in the little house, crap their all in on it!!!  Went back to find a very pleasant family who just bought the place and they are remodeling.  The only useable rooms are taken, but I can pitch in the yard.  Wooo, things are looking up.

After chatting with the owners for a while and pitching the tent he had his daughter open an unfinished room so I could use the bathroom and shower, really looking up.  Then in the end they just let me use the room to stay in, for free no less.  Packed up camp for the second time tonight, but for a much more pleasant reason.  From creepy to unexpected generosity.   My faith was shaken briefly but once again I’m stunned by the folks out here.

If you’re on the Katy you have to stay at the Winsor Motel.  It’s the next to last town on the west end and the owners are great, you won’t be disappointed.  By the time you get there it will have a fresh remodel.