It had been another night in the low 40’s, and for the first time this trip, we actually felt rested. Marc had finally gotten some sleep by supplementing his sleeping bag with a small throw blanket that he’d found at Dollar General. I slept fine, but only did so by wearing everything that I’d brought clothes-wise. We could stay an additional day if we wanted, as it was only Thursday, and we had nowhere to be until Monday. What was holding us back however, was the fact that it was going to be in the mid-30’s that night, and it was only going to get to the upper 50’s on Friday. A cold night, coupled with a cold day, was unanimously given two thumbs down; way down.
No camping Thursday night, would mean that we’d have to finish it up. There was 76 miles to Machens, the eastern terminus of the trail. We’d then have to ride the 13 miles back to St Charles, as this was where our cars were parked. Marc was fine with the 76, but when I told him 90-ish would do it all, he was comfortable with ending his ride the first time through St Charles.
We packed up and headed over to a coffee shop that had been recommended to us at the pizza place the night before. The route to the coffee house took us on streets we hadn’t ridden, so it was an easy way to see more of this unique town. The coffee was good, and the coconut macaroon that I had with it was divine.
It was still in the 40’s when we rolled out of Hermann, and we were layered up with almost everything we had. Once back on the trail from the Hermann spur, we were happy to find that the trail was open to the sun from time to time, and not totally tucked underneath the canopy of the trees. The day warmed up nicely, but we knew there was a strong NW wind waiting for us on the approach to St. Charles.
We made it to Marthasville, and decided that we should split up, as I had an extra 24 miles to ride with Marc deciding to stop short in St. Charles. The trail drifted away from the river for a bit, and became lushly planted farmland. Rolling into Weldon Spring, I took the time to read the information board about the location, and found out that there was a spur that went to a large radioactive waste disposal site that the government had contained, and then covered it with a large mound of white rock. There’s even steps in the mound so you can climb to the top. I made a mental note to check this out next time.
The trail became a lot more busy the closer I got to St. Charles. Many people were out biking, running, and walking. There were also several trail crews out through here pruning trees, and at one point the trail was being graded.
I made it to the main TH in St. Charles, and knew that I had about 13 miles to Machens. The sights were urban for several miles, and then the trail climbed up on top of the levy. Here’s where I was ambushed by the wind, and it was debilitating for several miles. I’d later read where it was 15mph, gusting to 30mph. I made it to Machens, snapped some pics, and then headed back to St. Charles, where my car was waiting.