Missouri Loves Company, from Kansas City via Route 50

This post is part of a series on bike touring across Missouri on the Katy Trail. Check out other posts here, and follow my touring partner JP Bevin's blog No Life Like This Life for even more photos and his reflections on our misadventure.


After our midnight train ride and posh, ant-free night at a galactic Days Inn, we got right to it and started winding our way out of Kansas City on a google maps route to Sedalia, Missouri- home of the Missouri State Fair and it's accompanying campgrounds. Anyway you looked at it, Sedalia was 100 miles away from Kansas City, and we put all our faith into google's bike directions not putting us anywhere particularly awful for cycling.

We knew 100 miles was a lot to do regardless of the good weather, but we were quickly finding out what happens when two photographers/bloggers go on bike tour together. The good sun and country roads were leaving not just me with one hand on the bars and one hand on the shutter button, but JP as well, and honestly it's kinda nice to come back from an adventure and see high quality photos of yourself- especially when he caught me in wheelie mode.

(There's tons of more photos from JP over on No Life Like This Life. We'll be posting about our adventure in tandem all this week!)

So, I brought my dirt-tourer for this trip, knowing that my Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires would be ideally suited for early-spring gravel conditions. Our first day though was almost all pavement. JP's cyclocross bike was unexpectedly out of commission right before he had to leave New York, so he was forced to bring his space bike with skinny road tires. We immediately swapped those out in Chicago with some Rivendell Ruffy Tuffys- which just barely fit in all that carbon fiber aero-tubing. Naturally, JP's ultra-light machine absolutely killed mine on the long, rolling grades of what would make up the majority of the day's riding: Interstate 50. That said, google was kind enough to give us every dirt and gravel detour along the way, which I took heavy advantage of to get dirty and lock in some skids.

The weather reports weren't calling for it, but in the last forty miles clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped. The highway, which had stayed pretty light on traffic all day, was hitting its rush hour period. Our time on the shoulder became stressful, so we upped the pace to try and make it to Sedalia. Signs of civilization returned, and we took advantage of local cuisine.

So, I actually did my due diligence for this trip and called campsites ahead of time. Whoever I spoke to at the Missouri State Fair told me there would be someone at the gate to check us in, with firewood available on site. However, we arrived to an abandoned gravel yard with a few trees, unstaffed, with the gates wide open. While this meant we would camp for free, there was no way of building a fire- something we decided not to pack for after confirming there would be wood to build fires with along the way. In the end, we took my pocket knife, quickly emptied a tall boy of budweiser, and filled our last-minute beer can stove with the only burnable fuel from the nearby gas station: HEET.

This was my first time slinging my camping hammock through a barbwire fence, but with bellies full of freeze-dried pad Thai and vegan sausage we both went comatose within minutes- praying that the new forecast of rain at 4am would be brief-to-nonexistent.

I think you all know what happens next.