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Reply to Food, Restaurants, Groceries, Resupply - what's the truth?

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Gary from Central FL on 6/6/2022 9:57:55 PM:
What's the truth about finding food along the Katy Trail? When I use the Trip Planner on this website I get a long list of grocery stores and restaurants that are "on the trail", a few blocks, or less than a mile off the trail. My wife called a Katy Trail rep today for paper map or guidebook. During course of conversation my wife inquired if the publication included food info. The response was an emphatic "you must bring all your own food". "All food sources require a car to get to - too far off trail for bikes". Now she's watching recently made YouTube vids and seeing cyclists buying gas station garbage food or missing meals when a food truck that was expected at a campground didn't make it because truck broke down. This is soooo different than the long list of restaurants and grocers that the BikeKaty website shows from Pleasant Hill to Washington. Does the website not delete businesses when they close? Is there some other explanation for the discrepancy? Anyone have recent experience with an across the state ride to comment on food availability? We own the equipment to be self sufficient. Simply thought this was going to be a different kind of route and was hoping to travel lighter.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 6/7/2022 11:12:00 AM:
Of course, the truth lies somewhere in between. Most of the restaurants are small businesses. Very small. Most people want a day or two off every week, so you'll find that many places are closed Monday, and maybe Tuesday. And hours can be relatively short. And sometimes a place that is supposed to be open just isn't, because the owner had some sort of family emergency. Given the above, I recommend that people call ahead to any restaurant they want to use. Maybe three days before, and then again the night before. That way you know if you can probably expect them to be open or not. The trail and wine country business is very seasonal as well, so a place that is open every day in summer may drop down to three days a week (or zero) in January. We found decent food convenient to the trail for every meal except maybe 2. Just be ready to eat whatever is in your bags if your primary plan fails, and restock them when you get a chance. This happens on the GAP and Erie Canal Trails as well. Part of the adventure.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 6/7/2022 11:17:18 AM:
Also, to help manage your expectations, mid-Missouri isn't gluten-free free-range organically grass-fed sustainable etc country. It's ten dollar steak in a bar and grill that still allows indoor smoking country. We had such a fun time hanging out with the locals. And the people at Casey's are generally nice and are happy to make you a whole new fresh pizza if you are sweet about it. Consider it a local delicacy.

Gary from Central FL on 6/7/2022 11:02:28 PM:
Bill, Thanks for both of your replies - you zeroed in on a couple of particularly relevant points that I hadn't even asked about. I've been a vegetarian for over four decades & my wife has Celiac's so gluten is medically a serious problem for her. We are riding Rock Island and Katy this month. We have managed to eat on many other types of trips, it's just a matter of having a realistic understanding & planning accordingly. On GAP & Erie Canal we didn't have any issues, in fact actually had delightful dinning surprises. We did have backup food with us,,,some never got opened. When we did GDMBR from Canada to Mexico we left each town with two days more food than we estimated for our ride time. But add cook systems on top of that much food and the mountain climbs took a bit longer. We thought we were going to travel light on Katy, use lodgings and restaurants then hop AmTrak back to Leesburg. But the combo of distance between some lodgings & the uncertainty of food means we roll with a Bob trailer behind my bike to carry camp gear & extra food. AmTrak's website indicated I'd have to partially dismantle & box our bikes & the trailer just makes a third thing I'd have to dismantle. Soooo, it looks like we're not only turning this in to another fully self supported, mostly tenting trip but we'll pedal back to start too. Your input was helpful to our decision to approach this as another bike packing trip rather than a credit card ride.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 6/8/2022 8:50:03 AM:
Sounds like you have the right attitude, equipment, and experience. You'll have a great time. And we would agree about the food along the GAP and Erie. The Erie in particular had some really good food options. With your reference to a broken down food truck, I think I'm watching the same YouTubers that you are. They are a load of fun and I'll watch them to the end. But, they could have prepared a little more. And always be on the lookout for raccoons!!! :)

Gary and his Stumpjumper from KCMO on 6/11/2022 5:42:01 PM:
I am someone who generally avoids fried foods and processed meats, but things taste better on the Katy: biscuits and gravy at the Sidetrack Cafe in Windsor, Hash browns at the Miracle Cup in New Franklin, gyro pizza at Theo's Midtown in Jeff City, bbq pork at Holzhauser's in Portland, Philly cheese sandwich at Roadhouse in defiance. I promise you won’t starve (ok, maybe in Treolar on a Tuesday night - thanks Scott for saving me with that pizza!), but it will be a food adventure!

DS Douin from Out of State on 6/16/2022 3:53:06 PM:
Gary if you've gone from Canada to Mexico the KT is definitely a bike packing (more self supported) ride with fatter food and get it while you can rather than a credit card adventure restaurant ride.

Bryan from Marthsville on 6/16/2022 6:18:08 PM:
Marthasville is a Dollar General a little ways of the trail wMarthasville is a Dollar General a little ways of the trail well within biking distance and small Grocery store to

Gary and his Stumpjumper from KCMO on 6/18/2022 5:06:29 PM:
DS Douin, are you saying there are trails outside of MO that you can bike and eat good food? Tell me more. What are some of your favorites?

Bill in Houston from Houston on 6/21/2022 4:39:14 PM:
Gary Stumpy, Erie Canal definitely has easier/tastier food options than the Katy, and just larger towns in general. GAP has some good places, but overall is just a small bit better than Katy, from what I remember.