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Car-Free Riding

I had hoped to hit two towns today, Jefferson City and Columbia.  After careful consideration, I decided to just hit Columbia, and hoped to stay in a hotel.  I hadn’t paid for sleeping arrangements since Rough River, so I figured I could do it.

I meticulously packed, careful not to touch all the poison ivy.  Everything was wet, at least the outside of the bags, bike and riding clothes.  The vital items were dry.  I had camped on the high point of a river bluff, so the soil was mostly sand and silt, which was on everything.  I got started on the KATY and was surprised and terrified with the number of downed trees and limbs.  It made me very nervous about camping, and I realized the storm was worse than I thought.

There are several historical markers along the KATY, mostly related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  As I watched the flow of the Missouri, and the overall strength and debris load it carries, I was amazed by the tenacity of that expedition.  To go against the current of a river that at the time was far more unpredictable and wild, and to succeed.  Damn.  Impressive.

It was a nice day of riding, with no cars around me and the ability to throw in both headphones and listen to some tunes.  Everything was going well when I got a flat.  This would be number 4 or 5, and when I found the intrusion, I was shocked to discover it was a tiny splinter of a rock.  Bastard got me good.  Fortunately I had one left over beer from the day before so I enjoyed a it in the sun as I changed the flat.

After a solid day of riding, I made it to the Columbia greenway connector, an 8 mile trail into Columbia.  This route is marked well and offers numerous turn off points to different parts of the city, including the university, housing, and shopping districts.  My first stop was Flat Branch Brewing, where I sampled and ate.  I was hunger and thirsty, and was satisfied afterward.  The beers were good, although one was totally off-flavored.

There are two more breweries in Columbia, and I hoped to hit both.  Next was Broadway Brewery, where I had another flight, and enjoyed some great conversation.  I asked around about hotels and the bartender told me there was actually a camping site west on the KATY near where the connector joins.  My decision was made, so I filled the growler with Broadway’s Session IPA, an excellent and wonderfully flavorful and floral beer.

To make it before dark, I had to skip the last brewery, Log Boat.  There is a fourth brewery in town but they aren’t open, and no one had responded to my pathetic plea for a visit.  The campground is called Catfish Caty’s and it is right on the Missouri River.  I found a campsite, hung the hammock and enjoyed the peaceful sound of a large river at night.  I ate and drank like a king as the river raged passed me.  Sleep was easy, until some local assholes decided to do donuts in the field next to my site.  Nothing like waking up around 1am with bright lights shining at you and the sound of a loud engine roaring.  Dicks.  I fell back asleep after realizing what was going on.

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