Indian Creek Campground, Mark Twain Lake

HANNIBAL — Mark Twain’s home

On September 12 we did a short day trip to Hannibal and enjoyed a walk around the town that Tom Sawyer made famous! It was fun, we had a beer and a HUGE pretzel at a brewery and then John and Keith sat to watch some street musicians while Bill and Joanette did a little window shopping. We all walked to the riverside and watched a few barges heading up and down river.

ST. LOUIS – Gateway to the Frontier — Edmund Babler State Park —

Here we are lounging at Babler State Park! Notice the color of the sunset through the trees — courtesy of all the fires out west.

KATY TRAIL – Crown Jewel of the Rails to Trails — At least that is what our bicycling brother John tells us and that is what he has really been looking forward to. His plan is to do the entire Katy Trail in Missouri. John is feeling like Keith and I are getting better on our bikes and stronger in our legs that we can surely do this leg of the trail, from the Chesterfield Trailhead to where ever we felt we needed to turn around. So on September 14 we headed out not knowing how far we would go! The hardest part was UP AND OVER a bridge over the Missouri River. Joanette hadn’t gotten as good at downshifting as we all had hoped, and had to stop half way up the bridge. But after a rest was able to pedal the rest of the way!!!! Once we got over the bridge we pedaled along the Katy Trail in the shade along the Missouri River. We stopped at one photo op, which just happened to be Lewis and Clark’s first stop after they left St. Louis on their epic journey!! This was too cool! It was so pretty and the ride was easy so we pedaled all the way to the cute little town of Defiance and had lunch. After filling our “tanks” Keith wanted to continue up the trail far enough to make our ride 25 miles. Once we had gotten back to the beginning of the climb back up that pesky bridge we had a long rest and then began the climb! She made it! All the way to the top! We all rode back to our starting point, quite happy and satisfied! 25.57 MILES! Our longest ride yet!

Forest Park, St. Louis, MO – September 15 — home of the 1904 World’s Fair and the 1904 Summer Olympics is a beautiful park in the middle of St. Louis. The map below shows our 9 mile bike ride around Forest Park. That was a fun day. Getting Joanette more and more comfortable riding! The sites in the park and sounds of the city around the park were fun, followed by a nice lunch on a city sidewalk table and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!

While in the St. Louis area we met Bills nephew Brad and his wife Sarah for dinner outside of a lovely Italian restaurant and then we had the best St. Louis Style BBQ pork chops in their back yard a couple of days later! Again, we sure enjoyed meeting more of Bills kinfolk!

GATEWAY ARCH — It is unbelievable how many great things we did while in Missouri and the trip to the Gateway Arch was among them. The size and shape of the monument are inspiring and the story of the construction is totally amazing. Pretty cool was the fact that it was estimated that 13 people could lose their lives in the construction, and that not a single person was lost!!

MISSOURI CONFLUENCE VIEW POINT — September 17 — Knowing where the Missouri River begins, having seen the confluence of the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers back in August, and having followed the Mississippi River since seeing it’s headwaters in Minnesota, it was a great thrill to know that we could actually go to the confluence of the two great rivers, Missouri and Mississippi! We found on a map where we needed to go and there was a bike trail to take us there. Only, the bike trail was not rideable due to several years of flooding. So we took off on the bikes down a paved road, only to find out that it was no longer travelable either. But there was one more option, 11 miles (round trip) on another gravel road, to where we found what remained of a the bike trail (maybe). We went as far as we could, parked our bikes and followed/bushwhacked our way to where the observation deck was. What was left of it anyway. Those two mighty rivers did quite a number on the observation area, but we made it to the confluence!

Back to the KATY Trail – John’s plan to fulfill his dream of doing the entire Missouri Katy Trail (265 miles) involved Keith and I taking John and Bill to the beginning of the trail in Machens and they would ride that first leg back to Chesterfield. Then John would leave Chesterfield to do the next three segments on his own, staying at bed and breakfasts on each night. Then Keith and I would take Bill to the Pilot Grove Station where he would meet John and would ride the last two legs of the trail and we would meet them at Clinton.

John and Bill have a great travel blog which details the Katy Trail ride and all of our adventures, albeit from a different viewpoint. Check that out at johnandwilliamtravelblog.com. John is a great writer, has different pictures and different memories than Keith and I. We have both struggled to keep up with our blogs, we were just so busy having such a great time, it was hard to find time to sit and concentrate, but we are getting caught up!

DANIEL BOONE HOME – Defiance, Missouri — The day we went to the Missouri Confluence viewpoint, was also the day that John would begin his Katy Trail ride, we took John and Bill to their starting point in Machens after our 11 mile ride to and from the confluence. After we dropped them off at the trail head, we were excited to drive down to Defiance and see the place that Daniel Boone spend the last part of his life. We were so lucky to find out that Daniel Boone had lived in Missouri, near where we were spending some time, and learn that the Spanish government had offered the Boone family land if they would go in and establish roots in the frontier land there. Daniel Boon was a very well known man, world wide by this point, and this would help settle the area. Daniel’s land was in the lowlands next to the Missouri River, but his son Nathan had land on higher ground near Defiance where Daniel spent a good deal of time, actually spending list later years traveling between several of his children’s estates. The house is much like it was in the days that Daniel was there. It is a stately three story home on beautiful grounds. The room where Daniel Boone passed away looks like it did back then!

Bucksaw Campground on Harry Truman Lake – John left us at Edmund A. Babler State Park for day two of his six day trek along the Katy Trail. Bill, Keith and I packed up our rigs and moved to the western side of Missouri to Bucksaw Campground where we would spend several days before ending the Katy Trail ride at Clinton, Missouri. Keith and I took a day trip down to Monark Springs near Neosho, Missouri to see the Church of God National Campmeeting grounds that Keith attended with various family members as a boy. On the way we drove through the little town of Nevada, Missouri where our daughter Kristin attended Cottey College!

From Bucksaw we took Bill up to meet John at Pilot Grove so he could ride the last two legs of the Katy Trail with John. Thus began our duty of “Catsitting” Mouse, the light of their lives. Mouse seemed very content staying with Uncle Keith and Aunt Joanette for a few days!

The day John and Bill were to complete their Katy Trail ride, Keith and I drove to the Clinton end of the trail, got on our bikes and rode toward them. We did it again, a new personal best for us! 27.88 miles! We spent the next few days at Bucksaw recooperating and enjoying the two best campsites in the Army Corps of Engineers Campground!

Missouri, The Show Me state. sure did show us a great two weeks! It was beautiful, the trees were just starting to change colors and we wore ourselves out! On to Kansas!

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