By Fred Kamp
The Geezers are back from their October 13 – 17, 2008 tour of the Katy Trail in Missouri. No spills or flats! (Well, maybe one flat discovered after the ride.)
Those participating included OBS founder Red Callaway and his wife, Dorothy Wilson. We were greatly helped by experienced recent Trail riders Leann Burger, new OBS member from Pryor, Larry and Betty Menz, and Joe and Rita Bauman. The rest included some people with Trail experience and some without. They were Jim and Joanna Gregg, Gary Ingram, Fred and Bonnie Kamp, Dwayne and Jerri Lee, Martha Morland, and Gene Reynolds. All-in-all, sixteen folks. Gene is Morals Director Emeritus from many past OBS Grand Tours. This time his services in this capacity were not required since Geezers have no morals. Fred was the Tour Enabler–no one can ever successfully LEAD Geezers. Having distributed maps and Q sheets to the others, he promptly left his set at home and had to borrow from the others.
The Greggs rode a tandem. The other riders rode different styles of real bikes: road, mountain, and hybrid. There were no recumbents, although several riders owned one. The trail is packed, screened limestone, and most people used a 28mm tire, or larger.
This Tour was an experiment in how to organize a relatively large group who like to use motels, to have their cars, and to limit the daily rides to around 40 miles. Each Geezer actually makes his own plans. In my experience you can tell a Geezer what the plan is, and he won’t do it. Also he can tell you what his plan is, and he won’t do it.
This tour was designed so that a single rider, with no SAG support, could participate and meet these objectives. This plan was to stay two nights in each of three locations, Columbia, Hermann, and Washington. This permitted riding the most scenic portions of the Trail where we would be in sight of the Missouri River on the south and high bluffs on the north. The rider could drive to the trailhead, park, and ride a loop in one direction, with distance of his own choosing, returning to his car at the trailhead. The next day he could loop in the other direction. He would then drive to the next location. Variations from this plan were dependent upon SAG support. Fred, Dwayne, and Joe had SAG support from Bonnie, Jerri, and Rita, who were not riding. These riders could be picked up en route, so they didn’t need to ride loops. Red, Gene, Dorothy, and Martha devised another plan whereby Dorothy and Martha drove their vehicles to an objective location. They then rode back to meet Gene and Red, who were riding towards the objective. After they met, they could then continue on to the vehicles. So, only two riders of that group rode a loop. You can count on the Geezers to assess the circumstances and alter plans accordingly.
On Sunday everyone drove to Columbia. Monday we started the Tour. We decided to ride west to Rocheport, which is quite scenic with a good place for lunch. We had to drive to the trailhead, about 10 miles from the motel. Or you could drive about 4 miles to a trailhead on the MKT trail, which is a spur off the Katy Trail, and ride 6 miles to the Katy Trail. The two groups met and rode toward Rocheport. Leann led us on a short excursion from the Trail to view the 350 year old Burr Oak. Many rode through the old railroad tunnel a little west of the Rocheport trailhead. Some rode and some SAGed up the hill to the Les Bourgeois A- frame for lunch and to view the Trail and river valley from the heights. After we returned to the motel we cobbled together a happy hour. At this event we could lie about what we had done and what the next day’s plan was to be. We decided where to go for dinner and decided to break up into several tables at the restaurant for efficiency. Fred presented a rather simple daily rotation plan so that the group could get better acquainted. This plan was thrown out the window and Fred barely escaped the same fate.
Tuesday, we were to loop east and then drive east to Hermann. A weak spot was discovered in the plan, associated with the motel check out time. An early check out time limited your riding time if you wanted to take a shower after the ride and before you drove to the next town. We had received dispensation to check out at 2:00 pm. But all was for naught! We awoke Tuesday to the pitter patter of rain drops. Plans were scrubbed (as it were). The Geezers were cast upon their own ingenuity to determine their next step. Individuals and groups began to start the drive to Hermann. Some drove directly. Some meandered, visiting museums and other points of interest. As we drove east towards Hermann, things began to look drier and drier. Some, with SAG support, got on the Trail at various locations, riding towards Hermann. Those who had gone directly to Hermann began looping out of Hermann, some west and some east. Many had lunch in the Portland pool hall. Eventually all arrived back at the Hermann Motel in time for happy hour. Leann gave us directions to the posh Vintage Restaurant at the Stone Hill Winery, since someone had omitted this information from the ride packets, and we dined sumptuously.
Wednesday, plans were a little off of the objective since some had ridden from the west the previous day and some had looped east. Those with a firm grasp of what they wanted to do got an early start. Those still trying to formulate a plan burned day light. But there was little day light to burn, since the rains returned. Those early riders got wet and muddy. Those who dragged their feet found shelter. Once more the Geezers were called upon to use their ingenuity. Other things to do must be found. Some toured the winery. Others went sight seeing. Others tried a late ride when they thought it was clearing. They got wet again. There even could have been prayer and meditation.
Thursday, the base plan was to take a loop ride and then drive east from Hermann to Washington. We couldn’t arrange a late check out. So this was included in individual plans. Once again, some looped, some rode all or part of the way to Washington, and some drove to Washington and looped back west. Several had lunch in Trelor, where we were met by a cheerful Labrador Retriever. We exchanged scratches and pats, and wondered if he was an emissary from the mayor.
Friday, the base plan was to loop west. But many had already ridden at least part of this section on Thursday. So, many rode east to Augusta and beyond, using whatever plan the saw fit. Several rode a loop west to Marthasville and then rode east to Augusta, and some beyond. On the way back from Marthasville, Jim and Joanna led a group a short way off of the Trail to visit Daniel Boon’s grave site. Some of the riders had gone there the day before. Those riding east of Augusta to Defiance sought ice cream and visited the bike store. Many had lunch at a neat place at the Augusta trailhead. After lunch, a couple of riders left to return home. Saturday, all of the rest of the folks started home.
Apparently almost everyone liked this plan for riding the Katy Trail and enjoyed the Tour.