September 20th – September 22nd

DSCN0574

My cross-country cycling trip officially began September 20th at 9 A.M. when I started pedaling from my sister’s house in Lawrence to the south. I had been planning and preparing for this trip for five months and was ecstatic it was here, but still hadn’t completely wrapped my mind around what was ahead. Ready or not….

The first hurdle to get past en route to the Katy Trail was covering the 130 road miles between Lawrence and Clinton where the trail begins. I would travel south on Highway 59 to Ottawa, east on 68 through Paola and Louisburg until Highway 7 in Missouri, where I’d ride southeast to Clinton. I planned three days to make the trip.

DSCN0575

Typical Midwestern sights made for a very calming and relaxing ride to Ottawa and Paola, despite a few stretches with narrow shoulders and inadvertently ending up on the interstate outside Ottawa….Oops.

DSCN0584

I camped at Lake Miola in Paola at the end of day one. 65 miles total on the first day. Not bad for a rookie! Despite the threatening clouds, I stayed dry, too.

DSCN0596

I reached Missouri on day two after 20 miles of riding. Steady climbs up hills and persistent wind made the riding more difficult than expected, but my training was certainly paying off.

In order to pass the time while riding during monotonous stretches, I played “dodge the roadkill” while biking down Highway 68 and 7. An amazing number of possums, raccoons, snakes, turtles, and birds had met their maker at the hands of motorists. Gotta keep the tires as clean as possible (while avoiding swerving into traffic, of course)!

I arrived in Garden City, Missouri around 3 P.M. and was directed to the city lake two miles outside of town by the local sheriff. I continue to find local law enforcement officials extremely helpful and friendly. And it was free….

DSCN0614

The sunrise the following morning over the lake I camped next to was a great sight to start the day. I struck out for Clinton early and covered the first 20 miles with ease.

Seven miles outside of Clinton, my bike suddenly felt like it had shocks. The front tire was nearly empty of air. First bike trouble of the trip! It may have taken longer than an experienced rider, but I successfully fixed the front flat, or so I thought (more on that later). I continued the ride to Clinton.

DSCN0625

I briefly explored Clinton and the biggest town square in Missouri. Two-and-a-half days and 130 miles after leaving Lawrence, I was ready to start biking the Katy.

Stay tuned for pictures and experiences on the trail!

Ride on!

Ben