Nick on the bike 2005: Oregon to Virginia
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Day 41: Tebbetts to Klondike
August 24, 2005, 5:00 PM
Where am I now: Klondike, Missouri (38.57885N by 90.83901W at 559 ft.)
Today's distance: 72 miles (4576 miles total so far)

Well, it's not true that the sun never shines in Missouri, and NOAA Weather Radio is not always on the mark.

At first light this morning the rain was beating on the roof and other exposed parts of the Turner hostel in Tebbetts, Missouri.

 I lazed around in the sack until the nearby church bells chimed seven.  Last night somone got on the bells at dusk and played a couple of hymns, it was really quite beautiful.

I spent a couple of hours in the hostel doing this and that in the comfort of nice surroundings.  Made breakfast, wrote some email, fixed the puncture in the tube that went flat yesterday, tuned the bike up.

Around 10AM the rain had pulled back to a light drizzle, and I decided to make a run for the next town at least, where there was rumored to be a restaurant.  The radio predicted off and on showers today, tonight and tomorrow, some heavy storms included.

Packed up and hit the trail.  There was standing water in low areas and ditches alongside, but the trail itself was not the mess I thought it would be, and the ride down to Mokane was nice.  I even ran into a couple of intrepid local westbound riders, we chatted a bit.

last night's storm knocked a tree down

At Mokane it had stopped raining but the skies looked lousy.  

The only sign of life in town was at the grocery store.  Inside there was a game going on involving dominos and about 6 locals, and there was a couple on a Harley from Portsmouth Iowa hanging out watching the clouds.  I contracted with the proprietress for her to make me a ham sandwich.

I had a good visit with the Iowa folks.  There's a lot on common ground in motorcycle travel amd bicycle travel.  We have to deal with the weather, and stopping in local hangouts & visiting with people is part of the game.

Around 11AM, the coulds looked like they were breaking; by the time I got back on the trail the sun was comming out.  There was a bit of wind that came with the sun, the trail dried out quickly.  The remainder of the day was great riding.  The air was full of scents of wet woods & vegetation.

Where the trail runs along the river it didn't look like it would take much more water to flood the old railroad.  Apparently flooding was a constant problem for the old MKT railroad.

 I came to a large sandstone outcrop (everything else I've seen around here is limestone or dolomite).  The rock has high water marks carved into it dating back into the 19th century.  Some of them are about 6 feet above the trail.

oddball chunk of sandstone

As it check out the L&C interpretive signs along the way.  The most mileage they were able to make was 18 miles in one day, when they had a tail wind. The river channel has moved a lot over the past 200 years. Some of their campsites are now under water, or on the opposite side of the river from when they came through.

As the sun gets lower, I begin checking the small hamlets along the trail for restaurants and / or camping spots with water or other accomodations.  The pickings are thin.  Marthasville has a population of 800 something, but it looks like half the town is boarded up and for sale.  There's a B&B listed, but I ride on.

At the trailhead in Dutzow there's a westbound cyclist pulling a BOB trailer.  I'm not hallucinating.  Turns out Jim Overbey is headed for Oregon on the L&C trail, just starting out.  We chat some, but we're both thinking about the setting sun & finding a place to spend the night.  Jim's wife is spending one more night with him before driving back to Iowa, she's up in Marthasville checking out the B&B.  Jim tells me of a new County park at Klondike 12 miles down with camping, I ride on.

At Augusta I stop at the bar and ask about places to stay.  Over a beer the bartender tells me about a bicycle trip he & his wife recently took in Ireland.  He's very impressed with the long distance cyclists that come through.  I end up giving him one of my cards and signing a dollar bill I give him for the beer, for permant display above the bar.  I declined his generous offer of a room for the night, and ride the remaining couple of miles to the park at Klondike.

In fading light I set up camp and cooked my pasta dinner.

As I was finishing up, who should drive up but Jim & Nancy Overbey whom I had met up the trail.  They, as I, had not bonded with Marthasville.  We visited some that evening, and more the following morning (today as I write this), but that's another day.