The Katy Trail (Kbh3rd / CC BY-SA)

Back in October, Michele and I took a week and cycled the Katy Trail across much of Missouri. It’s an old rail line (the Missouri-Kansas-Texas, or MKT for short, which is where the “Katy” nickname came from), and is in fact the longest rail-trail in the country. We’d seen lots of people online doing this trail and so we decided to make the trip and do it ourselves.

At first, it was a little daunting to try and plan out this whole trip months in advance. But we found a book about doing the trip, and that helped us figure out which towns to plan our stops in each night. And once we decided to rent the bikes from Katy Bike Rental, we found that Todd (the owner) had tons of advice for the trip, and helped us refine where we’d be stopping each night.

We’d be staying in a hotel or B&B each night, and with no van support, we’d need to pack up all of our clothes each morning and stuff them into the panniers on the bikes, and unpack into a new hotel every evening.

Some interesting moments from the trip:

  • Having someone drive us several hours out to Clinton, the west end of the trail, to start our journey, and only then realizing that all the baggage we brought might not fit on the bikes! (We made it work, but should’ve packed less. Or maybe gotten the dimensions of the panniers ahead of time.)
  • Making it to the small town of Rocheport (well, they’re all small towns – this one is tiny) just before dark, only to find that there’s possibly nowhere to eat in town. Thankfully, the owner of the School House B&B where we stayed came through, getting us a reservation at the town’s only restaurant, which happened to be open that day.
  • Seeing the town of Hermann, which looks like a small town out of Germany. We had a great time there!
  • Discovering that Missouri’s governor’s mansion looks like Disney’s Haunted Mansion.

If you’re interested in more about what this was like, I made an eight-minute video about it: