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Leona from Annapolis on 5/23/2023 8:15:41 AM:
HI All, just finished up the trail. Some thoughts on the highs and lows. I'd look at carrying a high volume mini pump and don't depend on the trailheads as most of the trailhead pumps were patched or broken. Loved the trail from Clinton to about Marthasville and then after that it became more urban/suburban with less friendly riders. Yes. there were bear out there, but not an issue. Would not recommend the Baymont Hotel in Jefferson City for the price-too far out of the way off the trail, across a busy highway and backed up to a sketchy neighborhood. Would choose something closer to the trail head-an airbnb or even Capital Hotel, but that area clears out after the state workers go home at 4pm. It's isolated. Even the desk clerk said he would not walk around the neighborhood after dark-especially riding as a woman alone. Red Wheel bike shop was just fantastic. Joey's Birdhouse was wonderful and the market was an easy walk on the spur trail or cutting across the Highway embankment through the grass. Hotel Frederik was not great. Beautiful restoration, but-too loud all night long-loud mechanicals and traffic-trucks outside windows all night long, even with earplugs. Broken air pumps. Only the Bothwell had a decent air pump. Chatted up some other riders on the shuttle ride to Clinton and stayed in touch on the trail, so riding alone was not an issue. Met lots of international riders heading west-great adventurers. Katy Turner Hostel Shelter was a fun place to chat with others and order food. KT Caboose had the best healthy food on trail and John is a kind, funny owner who is a friend to one and all. Offers camping for $10/night in the side meadow with ice cream. Lovely place. I dropped my bags in my car at St. Charles and did the 6 miles to Machens out and back to finish up. I must have forgotten to lock my car, so when I came back, someone had rifled through my glove compartment and console looking for money. Nothing stolen as I had nothing of value, and it was my fault for being tired on a 50 mile day and not remembering to hit the right button, but still, be aware. St. Charles is not just the safe little small town. There are druggies and homeless about looking for easy cash, floating through Frontier Park. But only saw 2 homeless on the trail itself. Overall, a good trip for a solo female rider. Thanks for all the info. here!

Rugbydoc from Houston (formerly St. Charles, MO) on 5/23/2023 9:53:10 PM:
Haha…you MUST have been tired…St. Charles to Machens is just under 13 miles…each way. ;-)

Glad you had a nice, safe ride. And wow, a bear sighting? I lived next to the trail for years and have ridden all of it east of Boonville an awful lot, and have never seen a bear or even a large raccoon that resembled a bear. :-) Paddled the MR340 x4 too…no bears along the river bank from KC to St. Charles (could have been there at night). You are lucky! Where did you see it? I’ll be riding end to end in Sept and maybe bears are more common in the first 80 miles or so…?

Sorry, bears intrigue me. I’d love to have the same experience you did. Thanks for the detailed report.

Leona from Annapolis on 5/24/2023 6:50:04 AM:
Bear, near Tebbets, east of the shelter on trail. Not my video or sighting, but see the FB group. I heard, but didn't see it, but it was big, on the trail. That out and back from Machens is only 6 miles(12 total), but I came from west of Marthasville that morning, stopped at my car in St. Charles, to drop panniers and then rode the out and back to Machens which was really lovely, quiet and isolated. Big fields covered with mist at sunrise. Ride early, ride late to see how beautiful the colors and perspectives are at different times of day. Forgot to mention from Clinton to about Jeff City, wild roses were in bloom lining the trail. From about Jeff City to St. Charles it was wild honeysuckle another great scent. Lots of wildflowers in bloom and BIRDS-the Indigo Bunting was iridescent blue. I was so nervous about riding this trail alone, but made friends along the way and every single person was kind and friendly. You will be safe. It's really a gem of a trail and I wish we had more like this across the country. What a great legacy from the Edward & Pat Jones family to the cycling world.

madununibomer from op on 5/24/2023 8:29:40 AM:
a few years ago on the news they showed black bears kncking over trash cans in a saint louis suberb [chesterfeid] wth in afew miles of the trail.

Bill in Houston from Houston on 5/24/2023 1:20:34 PM:
Oh, man, I want to do the MR340.