We eat a lot on these rides. Dinner consisted of a bag of salad, 6-7 clementines, 2 bananas, 2 apples, 6 cookies, a medium bag of potato chips, a full bag of tater tots (11 servings), half a jar of pickles, half a watermelon (mostly Pete), a small bag of m&m’s, and about 100 ounces of juice and sparkling water. People often ask if we lose weight on these trips. The answer is no. An emphatic no.

Today we woke up in the bunkhouse to a massive rainstorm. (And there had been awesome thunder and lightning in the middle of the night. We’ve missed the Midwestern storms!) We had slept well and we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to shower prior to going to bed. The bunkhouse was air-conditioned and smelled about like what you would expect from a bunkhouse full of multi-day cyclists and their gear but we definitely would stay in the bunkhouse again. A few of the people riding the trail decided to hunker down for a bit longer to wait out the weather, but we left in the rain with one other biker who is headed in the opposite direction. It’s a little bit of a leap of faith to leave a warm and dry building on your bike. We had good rain gear, but I soaked mine from the inside out with sweat, so I’m not sure it was doing a whole lotta good.

Early on we decided to shorten our day a bit and stay in a bed and breakfast. We saw it advertised on one of the bulletin boards along the trail. (There are relatively frequent Katy Trail trailhead areas, with very helpful and interesting bulletin boards, great maps and distance charts, and restrooms or pit toilets, and usually a water pump.) It was extra slow riding today. I spent half of the ride wondering if something was wrong with the bike because it was so hard to pedal. In the end, I think the slowness is because the trail is a little bit softer with all the water in it. We don’t generally leave tracks, and the trail is crushed gravel. But it seemed to roll extra slow today. Our average dropped from around 8 mph to around 6 mph. It was nice to know we weren’t going to have to do it for 12 hours.

After about six hours of riding we made it to our bed and breakfast, “Joey’s Birdhouse” in McKittrick, Missouri. The first order of business was riding back to a grocery store nearby to buy all the food we just posted above. Once we got it home to the B&B we showered and started a load of laundry. Then we ate, and ate, and ate. (Natalie’s note: this place and its host are as delightful as the name sounds! It is a fun little old – but nicely appointed – bedroom with a tiny but functional kitchen in back and a good bathroom with an old claw foot tub. Our host, Joey, in an artist and gardener and I love seeing all her projects and work around. She offered to let us do laundry, and she was so pleasant and helpful in many other ways. She even encouraged us to go pick fresh strawberries and honeyberries from her garden, which we did! I would love to stay here again.)

It is raining softly now as we get ready go to sleep. We are grateful that we are under a roof tonight.

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