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Katy Trail Rock Island Spur Comments
Great riding, except for the stray bullet on the trail (??!!!)

Last Friday (Oct 12th) my husband and I rented bikes at Katy Bike Rental in Defiance (very friendly folks there, btw) and for the most part had a great experience riding east toward Weldon Spring for a bit, then back and on west to Augusta for some lunch and a couple of wine stops. The weather was perfect, the scenery gorgeous... but I have to mention one very nerve-wracking event to see if anyone else has experienced this.
A little after 12:30pm as we were nearing Augusta (heading west from Matson) we heard what sounded like gunshots in the distance. Didn't think too much of it, but about 1/4 mile from Augusta we again heard 4 or 5 shots - much closer - and heard the last one literally cross the path not far in front of us and brush the trees to our left, enough to cause us both to slam on our brakes. I think we were in shock not believing this just happened or could actually have hit us or anyone on the trail. We didn't hear the shots again and aren't sure if this was someone target shooting, hunting, or what. We informed someone at Augusta Brewing (first place we came to) but weren't offered much help as to what could be done.
We don't know how common recreational gun use is in these rural areas, but the fact that someone was shooting near enough and recklessly enough to have a stray bullet cross the trail is extremely concerning. We hope this was an isolated incident, and it won't keep us from riding there if we make it out again - but just a word of caution if you hear shooting nearby to be alert.
Any similar experiences or something more we might have done about reporting it?
posted Oct 16 2007 2:46PM - Lisa, Phoenix, AZ

We have entered into Deer season and, since the whole length of the trail pretty much runs through private land, hearing gunshots is common. If someone indeed shot across the trail they were being extreemly careless to say the least. To put it in perspective though, you are tons more likely to get creamed at a road crossing then you are to be shot by a hunter.
posted Oct 17 2007 1:20PM - Jim, St. Thomas

It is deer hunting season.....with a bow. Rifle season is about a month away. You should not have experienced stray fire from deer hunters this time of year.
posted Oct 17 2007 3:04PM - Trek Biker

I didn't mean to imply that they were actualy hunting....I was using the term "deer season" in the generic sense. Most of the deer humters in my neck of the woods start sighting in their rifles around this time of year since most of them have kids that will be hunting the youth season next weekend.
posted Oct 17 2007 3:50PM - Jim, St. Thomas

We rode the Katy Trail from Sedalia to Kirkwood Amtrak during October 10 through October 15. The trail had several notices about hunting posted along the route. The hunting seasons mentioned were clearly before and after our dates on the trail, the same dates those "stray bullets" occurred. We never heard any shots, but there was one of the typical trail "town" signs that had been shot to hell, making it nearly unreadable. I think it might have been Portland's, but I could be proven wrong.
posted Oct 26 2007 2:15PM - Larry Erickson, Seattle, WA

I noted that the last time I rode through Portland, the sign looked like it had modeled for machine gun Kelly. I also noted a rather hostile attitude at the local watering hole on more than one occasion.

I added Portland to McBaine as towns I just ride past. Too many friendly places to visit instead. However, Portland has a very nice view of the river.
posted Oct 26 2007 4:54PM - Ranj Niere, KC

Signs with holes from shotgun blasts or rifle holes seem to be common in most rural areas. People get board, I guess, and seek out targets. A matter of perspective perhaps, beings I'm predominately a small town type, but I'd fear bullets far more while visiting the metropolis than I would in rural midwest. People are not an often hunted target out in middle of nowhere as they seem to be in the city. Kansas City has a crime/murder rate that far surpasses any stray bullet incident rate in rural Missouri.
posted Oct 27 2007 10:24PM - Trek Biker

I last rode the trail on the 4th of july weekend(by the way, a terrible time to do it, not the heat, but lots of things were closed)and noticed the signs in portland. that many bullet holes means that it happens a lot, or for a long time. I could just see the mayor and the sherriff sitting on a porch and blasting away.

hunters happen, accidents happen, but in my experience misses and lucky breaks happen a lot more. If you treat it right, you have a great story now and the odds are that it will never happen again. if it does, then you can start getting paranoid.
posted Oct 27 2007 11:46PM - jason, Eureka Springs AR

I agree with Nanj from KC about the disagreeable attitude in Portland. I stuck my head in the door at the Riverfront B&G to ask (quickly) if they were open for lunch. One of the guys at the table growled at me to shut the door so that the A/C wouldn't get out. I understand his concern but he could have achieved the desired result in a nicer way. The lady who took our order was very nice. Guess we just ran into a table of grouchy locals. They were also surly with a couple of young boys.
Eeveryone else was friendly along the trail, so why cast a sour spell over the trip with these sourpusses (despite good catfish).
posted Oct 29 2007 11:02AM - Don, Dallas

Tags: Augusta, Defiance, Weldon Spring, Matson, Portland, McBaine, Sedalia, Augusta Winery, Katy Bike Rental, Augusta Brewing Co., Water, Wineries/Breweries, Kansas City, Amtrak, Weather, Animals and Plants, Running Modify Tags

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