The first day of the 2004 Katy Trail Ride started off with a beautiful morning at Frontier Park in St. Charles. More than 270 riders met at the St. Charles Depot for a quick breakfast of bagels, pastries, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. This was followed by a rider’s meeting led by Melanie Robinson, special events coordinator for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. After the riders were briefed for the events of the day and the group photo was taken, the bicyclists hit the trail headed for Marthasville.
The 38-mile section of the trail from St. Charles to Marthasville took the riders along the Missouri River through the scenic wine country. As the morning passed, the clouds started to roll in and riders were greeted with a cool morning shower. Some of the riders took shelter under the large trees that line the trail along the river.
Rider Jessie Marshall was surprised, “I didn’t really know what to expect since this is my first year. The rain kind of caught me by surprise but it was still fun.”
The first rider rolled into camp at Marthasville shortly after 10 a.m., followed by the rest that trickled in all through out the day until late afternoon. There were a couple of minor accidents, but nothing that a few Band-Aids couldn’t heal.
The rain was constant until early afternoon but didn’t seem to slow the riders down too much. Luckily the sun came out around 3 p.m. and gave everyone an opportunity to hang their clothes out to dry.
Dinner, which consisted of turkey, vegetarian pasta, potatoes, green beans, rolls and cake, was served at 6 p.m. As everyone finished up their desserts, the crowed started to gather in the pavilion for the nightly rider’s meeting. Melanie Robinson led the meeting, which discussed how the day went and what the riders could expect tomorrow on the ride to Jefferson City. A raffle was held for several prizes that were donated by the cities of St. Charles and Marthasville.
Following the meeting, the Marthasville Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission spoke about Lewis and Clark’s relationship with the area. The program lasted about a half an hour and then the riders called it a night.
History on the Trail
Daniel Boone Gravesite
Along Katy Trail State Park, just outside of Marthasville, lies the gravesite of Daniel Boone, one of Missouri’s great pioneers and legends. Boone died in Defiance, Missouri, and was buried alongside his wife Rebecca in the hilltop cemetery a mile off Highway 94.
Very few people deny that Daniel Boone died and was buried here in 1820, but there is much controversy as to where Boone lies today. Twenty-five years after Boone was laid to rest in Missouri, the city of Frankfort, Ky. claims to have exhumed the bodies of Daniel and Rebecca Boone and taken them back to Boone’s home state. The city of Defiance claims that Frankfort dug up the wrong body and that the great Missouri pioneer is still 6 feet under the hill outside of Marthasville. Recent scientific evidence seems to support Defiance’s claim but no one is really 100% sure.
When you are riding along the trail between Dutzow and Marthasville, be sure to take a quick trip down the road to see part of the mystery for yourself.
“Just Off the Trail”
Just off Katy Trail State Park in the southwest portion of St. Charles County, you can find a great hideaway at Klondike Park.
The land that Klondike Park sits upon was originally the Klondike Quarry. Development of the park began in December of 2001 after the St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department received supplemental funding from the federal Land and Water and Conservation Fund and the Recreational Trails Program.
After a few years of “remodeling,” the new park offers incredible views of the Missouri River valley, scenic trails that surround the park, picnic and camping areas, boat access to the Missouri River and a trail connection with to the Katy Trail.
Klondike Park includes the Curt Loupe Conference Center as well as a playground and six camper cabins. Camping is available year-round at the park and sites can be reserved up to six months in advance of the arrival date. Rates for the campsite range from $7/night for a primitive campsite to $65/night for an eight-person cabin. For more information, contact the park at 636-949-7535 during regular business hours or 24 hours a day at www.stccparks.org. The park is located approximately 14 miles south of Highway 40/64 on the east side of Highway 94.
Day 2 - June 22, 2004 - Marthasville to Jefferson City
After a stormy night, the riders emerged from their tents to find a beautiful Missouri morning awaiting them on the trail. The Marthasville Community Club served a breakfast of pancakes, biscuits and gravy, sausage, coffee and orange juice.
A handful of the riders took off on the trail well before sunlight, heading toward Jefferson City. Most riders left shortly after breakfast was served and their tents and baggage were loaded on the trucks. The weather cooperated all day long with comfortable temperatures and no measurable rainfall.
Tuesday’s portion of the ride was the longest section of the ride at 68 miles and it took its toll on many of the riders. There were a few minor accidents and some people were picked up a little early on the trail but the ride was a success for everyone involved.
Dinner was served by Word of Mouth Catering under the pavilion in Memorial Park. After the meal, Melanie Robinson led the evening rider’s meeting to talk about what could be expected on Wednesday’s ride to Boonville. Jim Denny, Missouri Department of Natural Resources historian, gave a program on Lewis and Clark in Missouri after the rider’s meeting.
The weather stayed beautiful into the night as the riders rested their tired legs for the third leg of their journey across the Katy Trail State Park.
“Just Off the Trail”
Jefferson Landing State Historic Site
After riding on the Katy Trail alongside the Missouri River, you can learn more about the Missouri’s history at Jefferson Landing State Historic Site in Jefferson City. Jefferson Landing, one of the few remaining 19th century riverfront landings on the Missouri River, was a busy center of commerce in Jefferson City during the mid-1800s. Steamboats traveling between St. Louis and Kansas City often docked in front of the Lohman Building, which now houses a visitor center. The nearby Union Hotel contains the Elizabeth Rozier Gallery. The historic site is operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
For more information on Jefferson Landing State Historic Site, visit the website.
Day 3 - June 23, 2004 - Jefferson City to Boonville
Wednesday was the first morning on the trip that the riders would get to experience the Pancake Man. The Pancake Man is a consistent figure on the Katy Trail rides and is know for his acrobatic flipping of the pancakes, sometimes up to 20 feet in the air. But before the riders could enjoy his famous pancakes, they had to get to him first.
When the riders woke up in Memorial Park, they loaded their luggage on the trucks and then headed out on the road to cross over the Missouri River on Highway 63. Thanks to the Missouri State Park Rangers who were on the ride, everyone arrived to the other side safely to enjoy their breakfast at the North Jefferson Shelter.
Wednesday was also Poker Run Day. At each of the five SAG stops, the riders were instructed to pick a card out of the deck and write whatever they drew on their sheet of paper. At the end of the day, the riders with the best and worst hands won a prize.
As the riders moved along the trail, they were also looking for the answers to the passport questions for the day. When a rider got all of the questions correct, he/she entered their name in a drawing for a prize donated by the local city. The riders did this all five days on the ride. It was a really fun way to learn Lewis and Clark trivia and ride the trail at the same time.
Most of the riders arrived at the grounds of the former Kemper Military Academy between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tents were set up on the green lawn and on the old soccer field where the Columbia Astronomy Club would host a program that started at dusk. The cyclists were also offered a $4 day pass to the Boonville YMCA swimming pool that was located in the old gymnasium of the academy.
Dinner, which consisted of turkey, barbecue brisket, baked potatoes, baked beans, rolls, and salad, was served at 6 p.m. inside the old mess hall. The rider’s meeting was held after the tables were cleared. David Kelly made a special presentation to Jean Haller for her past and future work with the Katy Trail Ride. Mrs. Haller and her husband Harold, who passed away this past year, always volunteered their services to the riders as they passed their home along the trail near Pilot Grove. Mrs. Haller received a standing ovation and gave a short speech, pledging, with her daughter’s help, to be back again next year to support all of the riders on the trail.
The weather stayed pleasant into the night as the riders rested up for their next day’s ride into Sedalia.
History on the Trail
Before Katy Trail State Park became a great way to travel across the state, the Missouri River, known as the highway of the frontier, led many settlers to travel into central Missouri and make it their home. One such great town along both the river and the Katy Trail is the city of Boonville.
Boonville, named after Daniel Boone, is the oldest town in central Missouri. A party of pioneers, which included the Cole family led by widow Hannah Cole, settled the town in February of 1810. The Coles were the first white settlers to locate on the south side of the Missouri River west of St. Louis. The beginning years of Boonville’s existence were marked by years of conflicts with the Native American tribes.
Boonville thrived in its early years due to the incredibly fertile land in the surrounding area. Another benefit was its location at the intersection of ancient Native American trails that have gone unchanged even today as they mark our modern interstate highway system.
Today, the city of Boonville offers dozens of events throughout the year to entertain and educate its citizens and visiting tourists. During the summer, there are Brown Bag Concerts at the Hain House Gardens, the annual Katy Trail Ride that goes through Boonville, the Prairie Home Fair of Cooper County, and Festival of the Arts in Thespian Hall. In the fall, there are Swapper Days and the Festival of Leaves, plus many more events throughout the year.
No matter what time of the year your schedule takes you to the city of Boonville, there will always be a rewarding and historic time awaiting you. For more information log onto www.mo-river.net or call the Chamber of Commerce at 660-882-2721.
“Just Off the Trail”
The historic community of Hartsburg is one of the most popular small towns located just off Katy Trail State Park. North of Jefferson City, Hartsburg lies in the most southern portion of Boone County beside the Missouri River and the Katy Trail. The town’s proximity to these features has had a huge impact on the city’s growth and personality over the years.
The city of Hartsburg was originally started as a railroad station and was known as Hart Station, named after the founding fathers the Hart Brothers. The town was able to establish itself early on with the help from the trains passing through, as many as 10 trains a day.
The town of Hartsburg has also had to deal with its fair share of floods that occur from being so close to the Missouri River. The town has survived nine major floods between the years of 1903 and 1995. When most towns would be destroyed by the devastating rush of water the Missouri River can unleash, the town of Hartsburg seems to shine under the pressure of keeping their community together. The community of Hartsburg is proud of its heritage of hard working northern European settlers of German and Dutch bloodlines, and of its history as a river town that has overcome the rampages of successive floods with renewed strength and agility.
The spirit of Hartsburg’s heritage really comes through every year during its Annual Pumpkin Festival. The festival is held during the second weekend of October and is known to draw thousands of tourists during the three days.
Hartsburg also has a bicycle shop, a café, a furniture refinisher, antique shops and a winery. Whether you are riding along the Katy Trail or you are just going on a Sunday drive, the town of Hartsburg is always a unique experience that can be enjoyed year-round.
Day 4 - June 24, 2004 - Boonville to Sedalia
The riders woke up once again to a feast provided by the Pancake Man and his helpful volunteers. The Pancake Man stepped out of his usual realm of the flapjack world and ventured into his delicious version of French toast. Eggs, sausage, fruit, coffee and juice accompanied the meal. A lot of people chose to eat outside due to the terrific weather.
After the meal, the riders loaded their luggage and tents on the trucks and headed up the trail toward Pilot Grove, Clifton City and eventually Sedalia. Due to the incline that the trail takes between Boonville and Sedalia, many of the riders said that this was the hardest section of the trail. A long uphill climb right outside of Boonville started the riders off to a long day on a short section of the trail.
Harleen Phillips, the day coordinator, as well as residents of the local Mennonite community outside Pilot Grove and Clifton City greeted the riders at the SAG stops. When the riders reached Sedalia, they met at the historic Katy Depot on Third Street near downtown. Some of the cyclists shopped in the depot’s gift shop while others continued down Third Street to Liberty Park. Once in the park, a lot of riders set up their campsites and then hit the town to get a bite to eat or see some of the sights. Cyclists also had the option to swim at the Liberty Park pool free of charge or to catch a shuttle to tour Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site.
As the day progressed, the riders slowly gathered at Liberty Park’s Convention Center where dinner would be served. Nadler’s Catering catered the dinner again, which consisted of chicken breast in a mushroom sauce, smoked turkey, salad, potatoes and cake. After the plates were cleared from the tables, James Page, special event intern, hosted the nightly rider’s meeting. Guests for the meeting were Sedalia’s Mayor Bob Wasson, Missouri State Parks Foundation’s member Booker Rucker, and Doug Eiken, director of the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the Katy Trail Ride staff gave away prizes to the youngest and oldest participants on the ride, 9-year old Mallory Eitel from Laplata, Missouri, and 80-year-old Richard Shields from St. Charles, Missouri. The staff then drew rider numbers out of a bag to give away other prizes such as Lewis and Clark books and Scott Joplin dolls.
After the meeting, the riders were entertained by the Sedalia Community Band in one of the gazebos in Liberty Park. The band played for about an hour and then the riders prepared for the coolest night of the trip. The temperature dropped down to a cool 50 degrees F that night, setting record low temperatures for the month of June in some surrounding areas.
History on the Trail
Bothwell Lodge State Historic Site
As any rider of the Katy Trail will tell you about the towns that line the trail, the historic homes are definitely a highlight of the stops. Just a few miles north of the trail outside of Sedalia, you can find one of the most elaborate homes built in central Missouri. The Bothwell Lodge is a turn-of-the-century mansion that was built on top of a 120-foot bluff overlooking Highway 65.
John Bothwell spent 30 years, from 1897 to 1928, building his dream home that he and his friends used as a getaway from their business lives. The house is a three-story, 31-room stone house built upon three existing caves. Bothwell mined all of the stone from his own land to build his house.
Also on the 247-acre site are the Stoneyridge Trail, a picnic area, a playground, shelter houses and reservable pavilion. Tours of the lodge are offered daily for a small fee but the rest of the park is free of charge.
“Just Off the Trail”
Just a few blocks off the Katy Trail in Sedalia, you can find one of the best kept parks in all of the state. Liberty Park, just off of Third Street and Highway 65, is a scenic park that offers something for everybody.
If flowers are your interest, be sure to take a look at Liberty Park’s gorgeous rose garden. The flowers are kept up all season and are positioned on a cement path for easy viewing.
Once you are finished smelling the roses, head over to the other side of the park and try your hand at catching some fish in the Liberty Park Pond. They have a heart-shaped pond built with an island and an arched bridge connecting it to the mainland. Weddings are often held here on warm summer evenings.
For the kids, the park offers the Liberty Land Flyer train that runs on an one-eighth mile track next to the large baseball stadium. The park houses two baseball stadiums, a large outdoor pool and Convention Hall, which hosts basketball and volleyball as well as private gatherings.
Liberty Park is a picture perfect view of how parks were being built at the turn of the last century, with a perfect blend of recreational activity and grounds for pure relaxation. The park truly is one of the greatest in the state and should not be missed when traveling through Sedalia.
Day 5 - June 25, 2004 - Sedalia to Clinton
On a typical June day in Missouri, a bicyclist preparing to ride for 36 miles would dress in the normal shorts and light t-shirt, but this morning would be different. After a light rain swept threw the Sedalia area in the early hours of Friday morning, temperatures dropped down to the low 50s, causing cyclists to adorn long pants and sweatshirts.
The Pancake Man welcomed the riders into Convention Hall for one last meal on the Katy Trail. Everyone was surprised to see that once the Pancake Man had reached his throwing distance, he pulled out his newest invention, the pancake gun. The pancake gun is a CO-2 powered, modified water gun that shoots pancakes the length of a basketball court. Many pancakes were dropped in the process but no one left hungry.
Friday’s ride was one of the shortest on the trail so everyone was expected in Clinton by 1 p.m. Riders stopped and rested in the small towns along the way. Green Ridge, Windsor and Calhoun offered cyclists the chance to fill up their water bottles or just rest in the grass if needed. The sun was mostly shining all day but there was still a cool breeze that kept everyone happy.
The riders were welcomed to the end of their journey at the Henry County Benson Center where they were served sack lunches and given a place to shower. All of the riders that were headed back to St. Charles were loaded up on the busses by 2 p.m. and sent on their way back home.
History on the Trail
Whether it’s your end or your beginning to Katy Trail State Park, Clinton is definitely a unique historic town worth exploring.
A town once known as the “Baby Chick Capital of the World” has seen a lot of changes since its inception in the early 1800s. The artesian springs, located in the southwest corner of Clinton, were once a thriving hotspot for vacationers. The springs area offered a toboggan water slide, horse racing and a glamorous hotel among other things. You can still see remnants of the hotel and racetrack today in what is known as Artesian Park. Clinton was once also home to dozens of chicken-producing farms, cigar manufacturers and a broom factory.
Clinton was able to really establish itself as a community when the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad line came into the town. What is now today’s Katy Trail once brought in as many as 10 trains a day to the growing town.
The historic downtown Clinton square is also a very unique part of the town. Some of the buildings date back to the middle 1800s. If that’s not a good enough look into the past, you can always visit the Henry County Museum. The museum is located just off the northwest corner of the square and is housed in an original Anheuser-Busch distribution building that dates back to 1886.
One of the biggest attractions in Henry County every summer is Clinton’s Olde Glory Days. The annual Fourth of July weekend festival features carnival rides, tractor pulls, parades, picnics, fireworks and live concerts.
When you’re planning your next trip on the Katy Trail, make sure to plan in an extra day to explore the town of Clinton.
“Just Off the Trail”
While riding along the Katy Trail between Windsor and Clinton, a rider starts to notice a bit of change in the scenery next to the trail. This change is due to the Missouri Department of Conservation’s efforts to restore the natural prairie grasses and wildflowers along the trail.
If you were to travel along the same stretch of land during the past couple of years, you would not have seen all the native flowers and grasses. The Conservation Department used controlled burning on the land to restore it to its native setting. Once you burn off the top layer of old grasses, it helps the natural flowers and grasses to grow.
Katy Trail Ride - June 21-25, 2004
|Oldest Rider:||Richard Shields, 80, from St. Charles, Mo.|
|Youngest Rider:||Mallory Eitel, 9, from LaPlata, Mo.|
|Average Age of riders:||41|
|Number of riders from MO:||232|
|Number of states represented:||29|
|States represented:||Ala., Ariz., Ark., Calif., Colo., Fla., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kan., Ky., Mich., Minn., Mo., Neb., Nev., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Okla., Ontario, Pa., S.C. Tex, Va., Wash., Wis.|
|Farthest Traveled:||Lehman Holder, Vancouver, Wash. — 1,935 miles|