Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Columbian Connection

I greatly increased my wildlife sightings yesterday on the Katy Trail. I crossed paths with two fox, a muskrat, turkey vultures pecking at a dead turtle, an assortment of birds that I'm unqualified to identify (where's Chris Astfalk when I need him), and a few deer prancing down the center of the trail.

On the way to Columbia from Hermann, I stopped for lunch in perhaps the most unique spot yet, Jefferson City's small-craft airport. Jeremy, one of the friend's I was headed to see in Columbia, works at the Missouri Supreme Court in Jefferson City and suggested that we meet for lunch at Nick's Cafe in the airport. As he said, the airport doesn't have commercial flights, but it does have fried chicken. The airport was conveniently located just a mile off the Katy. We had a satisfying, family-style meal of fried chicken, country ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, bread, and ice cream for dessert. Though it was all you can eat, I tried to exercise some restraint.

After lunch, I had about 38 more miles to Columbia. Before lunch a steady rain had begun to fall. As I rode away from Jefferson City the rain stopped but the trail was more difficult to ride because of the muck. My speed slowed a bit as my tires cut through the silt, but I was still moving faster than usual because of the flat terrain.

Although Columbia is about 8 miles off the Katy trail, I rode into town on another bike trial, the MKT, which connects with the Katy. I pulled up to the house of my friends, Gabe and Rachel at about 6pm.

They were gathered with their two kids, Sadie and Noah, (pictured above) and Jeremy and Amanda and their daughter Helen in the backyard. It felt great to arrive among old friends after 1500 miles on the road. After a wonderful meal, Gabe, Jeremy, and I headed out to Booche's, a Columbia institution, for a few beers and late-night hamburgers.

Today, I laid-over in Columbia. With help from Noah, I thoroughly cleaned my bike which was caked with grit from the trail. Rachel also helped me track down a masseuse who has worked with runners and cyclists. I was able to get an appointment and she worked some kinks out of my shoulders.

The rest of the day was devoted to eating at local Columbia joints and hanging out with Gabe, Rachel, Amanda and Jeremy. After living a somewhat solitary existence with a singular focus for the past four weeks, it has been fun to drop in on the hectic lives of a family of four.


Gabe said...

It was wonderful to have the opportunity to host you in Columbia, though Rachel and I were worried that resting up in a house with two kids under three is not really so restful. It was great to see you and get some further updates on your travels. Noah is really keen to start his cross country bike adventure, and cannot fathom why he has to wait until he's a bit older to start. Anyway, we're all going to be rooting for you over the next month(s) as you head West. All the ladies from Benton school are going to be checking out your progress too! There might be a few extra pictures on the camera you left here when it is returned to you...

See you soon!

Andy said...

Can you fly that masseuse out to Eugene OR?
It sounds like the route change was a great idea for you bud!