Location: Windsor, MO (City Park)
I slept well in the clear, cool night and woke up to a dewy morning. Excited and eager to reach the KATY trail, Brian and I ate breakfast and then made quick work of the thirty-five miles to Clinton, the town at the head of the trail. The thirty-five miles through the Missouri countryside passed unusually quickly now that I think about it. We took only two and half hours to go the distance, and the terrain presented hill after hill after hill, some of which were steep but all of which were short. I think the presence of short quick hills made us attack the road with more vigor than usual. We would stand and pedal hard to reach the crest of the hill and then coast down the other side. On the down slope, we’d pedal in our highest gear to gain as much speed as possible to carry us up the next slope, and then we’d stand and pedal hard over the last quarter of the hill. This strategy kept our overall speed higher than usual, meaning we put miles behind us faster.
In Clinton, we did our library chores, adding pictures to the website and writing our most recent update for the newspaper. In addition, I made several lists of Spanish vocabulary words. I wrote the English word and its Spanish equivalent on note cards. I figured that on the smooth and empty KATY trail, I can concentrate on memorizing the vocab, which will be displayed on my handlebar bag where my maps usually are. I’d like to teach myself Spanish over the next two years, and I think that building my vocabulary is as good as any place to start.
Brian and I found our way to the KATY trail and decided to do the seventeen miles to Windsor. The path is crushed limestone, and it’s solid, so we don’t make impressions with our tires like we would in gravel or sand. The hurricane softened some areas of trail under bridges, but for the most part the path is firm, with small pebbles of limestone. The peddling is somewhat more difficult since our tires meet more resistance than on the smooth asphalt, but the loneliness of the path is magnificent and makes the extra effort worthwhile. My mind wandered to all sorts of places today, without the continuous distractions and danger of cars and trucks whipping by me. All the while, my body was traveling through lush green countryside. I took pleasure in weaving about the trail. On roads I hug the white line with white knuckles. On the KATY, when I stood momentarily for the extra push up a shallow grade, I swerved as I pleased, alone and unhindered.
Tomorrow we’ve more of the same. Sixty miles more of the same to be exact. I can hardly wait to get lost on the KATY again.