Thursday, October 4, 2018

Katy Trail Day 7: Augusta to Machens (and back to St Charles)

This final morning, we woke up and found that there was no water at the campground! The pipe had burst and they were digging up the road to repair it. So we packed up and headed for the upper park to find water above the break.
Another Night, Another Shelter
Klondike State Park, Missouri
Found the Water: Scrambled Eggs, Ham & Potatoes and Battocletti's Pastry
Once again, we found that there was no water along the trail. From Augusta to St Charles, the only place with services was Defiance, if you ride through during business hours. We were glad that we were prepared and that the temp was about 30 degrees cooler than the day before.
Trail Crossing
The rain started somewhere around Weldon Springs and continued through to St Charles. We arrived very, very wet (glad we had our rain gear) and pulled off the trail to see if our room was ready at the St Charles Country Inn & Suites by Radisson. We chose this hotel specifically because it was right on the trail as you entered St Charles and we were happy we did. Arriving around noon, they were able to accommodate us with an early check-in, as we wanted to drop off our gear before heading out to Machens. He gave us a room on the second floor - right next to the elevator...generally this would be cause for concern, but being a newer hotel, we couldn't hear a thing. The best part was that the stairs were across from us and the laundry room was right next door. Full service!

We knew that we wanted to check out the historic sites before heading to Machens because everything would be closed after we returned. After dropping our gear, drying off, a cookie and coffee, we headed over to see the Lewis & Clark Boat House, which housed a small, but interesting museum and a replica of the boat the explorers used to travel up the Missouri to Mandan, ND. This stop kind of brought us full circle, as we had followed the trail on much of our ride. Next was a trip to the first state capitol and a quick stop at the gift shop, where we found really cool bike Jerseys...thanks Joan and John!
Is that a bike trail I see?
Feeling refortified, we headed out on the trail sometime after 2pm. We rode out of St Charles and made a quick stop at Jean Baptist Point DuSable Park, which was just two miles from our hotel. The next 11 miles were brutal due to the depth of the loose sandy limestone on the trail and the headwinds. We fishtailed and came to dead stops in the sand so many times, I lost count. We rode in silence, just trying to make forward progress. As it turned out (we learned the next day), we were both too busy muttering a string of expletives as we rode. At no time did either of us ever consider turning around; we both knew that we wanted to finish the entire trail. This is why we are perfectly suited adventurers.
St Charles to Machens: Truck and Bike Tracks in the Sandy Limestone
We did come to a very hardpacked an unmaintained portion of the trail...we were very thankful, although it was what I would say was the creepiest part of the trail. We road fast and hard through here, happy to make forward progress.

The closer and closer we got to Machens, the more we both worried about riding back. In my mind, I already knew we would be jumping back and forth between farm roads and the trail. At the Black Walnut trailhead we talked to one of the park maintenance guys. Turns out they dumped new limestone on the trail several weeks back. Lucky us.

Here we are...riding in to the Machens trailhead!

We Made It!
Looking Back at the Trailhead from the Final and Easternmost Gate

Cyclist TIP: From Augusta to St Charles, the only place with services was Defiance, if you ride through during business hours.

Cyclist TIP: Country Inn & Suites in St Charles - great location, great service. Bikes allowed in the room!


  1. Did you have to go back on that scary trail with all the loose sand? I think I would have looked for a road.

  2. We did a little bit of both. The road intersected the trail several times, but at one point veered away and joined a larger highway that was too dangerous for us. I think we both felt like we were able to avoid the worst of it on the way back.