55.1 miles – Total: 170.9 miles
We woke up today to find our tent covered with ants—lots of little ants and some giant black ants. It took some time breaking camp on our first camping morning. We got going about 10:00am. We had to stop to readjust my load after a few miles to get rid of some front wheel wobble. Too much stuff on the back can set up a front wheel wobble that can make life interesting.
We started the day riding a number of miles on a road the parallels the Katy Trail. We made much better time here and it was fun to cruise. We continued following the bluffs of on the north side of the Missouri River. We even passed though a “town” called Bluffton. We came within view of the Capitol building in Jefferson City and stopped at Hartsburg (pop 107). Hartsburg was formed when a man with the last name of Hart donated a strip of his farmland to the railroad and they put a station here.
All day we have been trying to outrun Hurricane Dennis. What is left of Dennis is now centered over St. Louis and dumping rain there, but we have only had sprinkles. Rain is predicted tonight, but so far it appears that we have missed most of it. It was overcast with welcome high temperatures in the lower 80’s today. That also made it pleasant day. When we asked about campsites we were directed to the town park, which consists of a few picnic tables and a large gazebo. We were told we cold pitch our tent under the gazebo, so we willingly complied! This is a great way to camp with a threat of rain. Depending on what Denis does, we may be riding in the rain tomorrow.
Keith informed me as it began to sprinkle that he doesn’t have his rain jacket. We picked up a poncho at the Hartsburg bike shop. This is the best bike shop we have seen since leaving St. Charles. Many along the Katy have only the bare necessities, but this one is well equipped.
Hartsburg also has a post office, restaurant (that is not open today), a B&B and a bar. The bar has a menu that is on a 3×5 card in a stand on the table. Pretty much basic stuff you can get out of the freezer and heat. They couldn’t make a cheese only pizza (only pepperoni) so we opted for cooking the mash potatoes we brought with us. Other than that, this is very friendly little town. We inquired with a local citizen sitting on his front porch about a store. He said that there wasn’t one, but offered us a ride to a neighboring town where there was one. We took in the scene with him sitting on his front porch, drinking a beer with two empties beside him and politely declined.
Hartsburg is a peaceful little town and we have enjoyed our evening here.