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Pilot Grove to Easley: Short miles, a winery, and philosophical discussions

Pilot Grove to Easley: Short miles, a winery, and philosophical discussions


Our bed at the Katy Junction B&B was super comfy and we both slept like logs. Very nice! Jerry arrived around 7am and cooked up a delicious gourmet breakfast for us. He is quite the chef! We loved staying at this B&B and we’ll be back some day.

Chef Jerry at Katy Junction B&B

It was a cold 44 degree morning when we bid Jerry adieu and headed down the trail. The sun warmed up the morning though and we were soon shedding our layers and enjoying our second gorgeous day on the trail.

Every trailhead includes a short description of the next trail section and Pilot Grove to Boonville is described as the most difficult section of the entire trail because of the steep uphill grades. So we prepared our minds for a tough couple of hours and waited for the dreadful climbing to begin. And waited. And waited… but there was only one short climb that wasn’t even very steep. We have no idea why anyone would think that section was hard. The day before included over ten miles total of long difficult climbs. Oh well, it’s always a nice surprise when something turns out to be easier than expected!

Boonville is a cute little town, home to a historic iron vertical-lift railroad bridge. The last train crossed the bridge decades ago and the railroad was planning to destroy the old bridge. Residents and others rallied to raise funds to purchase the bridge from the railroad and saved it from destruction. YAY!!! It’s a marvelous structure and I’m so glad it’s gonna stick around for a while yet. And even better, plans are to reroute the Katy Trail over the old bridge. YAYAYAY!!!!

This is the end of the newly paved section of the Boonville bridge. The raised section is on the other side of this sign.

Right now Katy Trail users are rerouted away from the old rail trail across a divided lane on the new bridge and then through town a few blocks to return to the rail trail on the other side. Crossing the old bridge will be so much more interesting, car-free and fun! They have since raised over $900,000 to remove the ties, add railings and a concrete walkway across the first section of the bridge. Two more sections remain and more funds are needed so help if you can! The middle section is still raised up and I assume needs to stay that way to allow river traffic to pass underneath… so I have no idea how they are going to finish it but I’m so excited!!

Baked clay tile silo along the trail between New Franklin and Rocheport

Next on the trail was my favorite Katy Trail town of Rocheport. Such a picturesque historic little town and also boasts the oh-so-photogenic Rocheport Tunnel, the only original train tunnel on the entire trail. We planned to eat lunch at Abigails, a unique gourmet deli in the middle of town. We’ve eaten there many times before and the food is delish. Buuuuuut… it was Tuesday and now we know that pretty much nothing is open in Rocheport on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. In fact most of the little towns along the trail roll up their sidewalks during the week. Whoops. So we resigned ourselves to munching on Clif Bars for lunch and headed back to the trail.

Rocheport tunnel

We passed two women day riders at the Rocheport Trailhead who told us we should go to the Les Bourgeois Winery for lunch just up the trail. We’ve heard about the winery and have seen the trail leading up from the KT but we’ve never been there. It’s a steep but pretty half mile trek on a crushed limestone trail through the woods up to the top of the bluff to the winery.

It is worth every step. The view from the top of the bluff is breathtaking. Les Bourgeois offers both a fine dining restaurant and a quaint little deli called the “A Frame.” Both sit right on the bluff edge with stunning views of the river far below and miles upon miles of rolling woodlands and farm fields. The restaurant is only open on weekends but hallelujah the A Frame was open so we ordered some sandwiches and a cheese and cracker plate and sat on their expansive deck along the cliff edge. A yummy lunch and two glasses of wine later we were happy and life was fine!!!

The walking trail up to Les Bougeois Winery

On our hike back down we spied a water moccasin chilling out in a puddle next to the trail. Yikes! Be careful out there. I tried to take a photo of the little bugger (from a safe distance of course) but he wiggled away and under a rock. We’ve seen lots of snakes along the trail this week as we usually do… black and green garden snakes (cute!) and water moccasins (not so cute!). We’ve also seen hundreds of turkey vultures, blue jays, thrashers, woodpeckers a few hawks and turkeys and even a prairie chicken. Our most interesting wildlife sightings so far were several groundhogs and one raccoon in the middle of a field intently digging up some poor little critter for dinner. We often see deer on the trail but none yet this time around.

Enjoying the view and delicious wine and food at Les Bourgeois Winery.

Our stop for the evening was the odd little campground/boat dock/Thai food restaurant/ convenience store /live music venue of Coopers Landing. We love this unusual place and have camped there several times. There is some tent camping available and a bunch of seemingly permanent rv campers. A Thai woman and her husband live on the property as well and when she feels like it, she cooks up and serves Thai food that is to die for. We got lucky; she was cooking tonight and we had an amazing curry meal. People come from all over to enjoy her food, listen to live food on the weekends and just hang out. It’s become quite the wacky community. It’s right on the river and a neat spot to camp. Sunsets over the river there are exquisite.

Another gorgeous day on the trail!

Our campsite neighbor was a 30 something fellow who was biking around from place to place working odd jobs. We talked with him for a long time about life and love, happiness and cultural expectations. He’s one of those rolling stone types who just doesn’t fit in, doesn’t want to kill his soul in a 9 to 5 job for the next 30 years, doesn’t feel comfortable settling down or settling period. But he is feeling the tug of desiring romance and knows the possibilities are slim with his wandering lifestyle. Such a fascinating conversation. I hope he finds what he is looking for someday…

Our campsite in Coopers Landing right on the river





Sunset on the Missouri River… WOW!



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