Day 0: Travel Day - Kirkwood to Sedalia to Clinton

We decided to start our adventure with a travel day, so we could wake up bright and early and start riding the trail the next morning. Our Daughter drove us from Ballwin to the Historic Kirkwood Train Station. I had bought our train tickets, online, ahead of time. Mine was free, because I had enough Amtrack points, but I did have to pay $10 to bring my bike aboard. My Husband's ticket was $37, which included the bike fee. We arrived at the train station about 2:30 and learned that the City of Kirkwood had negotiated with Amtrack to purchase the station, to avoid the closure of the Historic Train Station. The city took over running the station in 2003 and it has been staffed by volunteers ever since. We found out from a volunteer that I had purchased train tickets that had us boarding in downtown St. Louis at the Gateway. Oh my goodness! I immediately started to panic, but the volunteer assured me that we would be able to board at the Kirkwood Station. The train would stop at Union Station and then head to Kirkwood and we would be allowed to board. Phew...thank goodness! By the way...I specifically remember choosing the KWD station when purchasing the tickets on-line, so I have no idea how I ended up with these tickets!?

Anyway, we had a little time to kill, so our Daughter joined us for a stroll around the quaint shops of Downtown Kirkwood. She also talked us into a treat from The Custard Station. We took a few pictures too. We were super excited and ready to get this adventure started!

So, we finally said goodbye to our Daughter, and headed over to the boarding area to wait. We met a guy with a bike and a "baby trailer" who was also waiting to board. His baby trailer was filled with his supplies. I was a little anxious about boarding with the wrong ticket. I mean the guy inside was a volunteer...did he really know what he was talking about!? Well, thankfully, YES he did know what he was talking about and we did board the train without incident. The Train Crew helped us load our bikes and actually said they were wondering where we were because we didn't board at Union Station. They only allow so many bikes on each train, due to limited space, so they were expecting us!

 The train ride was about 3 hours long and the time flew by.
 We had packed dinner, so we ate during the ride.

We arrived in Sedalia a few minutes early and found that our previously scheduled ride from Sedalia to Clinton hadn't arrived yet. We had scheduled Victory Shuttle (660) 221-7795, with Jerry, who told us to look for a Blue Hyundai Elantra and to bring $70 CASH.

It was now about 15 minutes PAST our scheduled arrival time, and still no Jerry. I was starting to wonder if he was going to show up, even though I had confirmed our pick-up with him the day before. While we were waiting we met a very nice Amish Family who drove into the parking lot. They were dropping off "Grandma" so she could catch the train back to her own Village. 
So, Jerry finally showed up and said he expected the train to be late, so he was sorry we had to wait for him. Anyway, that was the least of our worries with Jerry! He said he had been a little sick and he was also disabled, but he would get us to Clinton. Well, we went to the back of his car to load our bikes and found that all of the straps on his bike rack were broken, so he wanted us to bungee cord our bikes to his rack. Ummm, I was little concerned about this, and tried to mouth to my Husband, "Is this safe?". He proceeded to help Jerry bungee cord our bikes, so I assumed he thought all was well, (HOWEVER~As I am now typing Husband says, "I'm surprised we didn't lose our bikes during that ride".) Ok, so our bikes are, ummm, secure and we take off. My Husband hops in the front seat and I take the back next to all of our gear. Jerry heads towards Clinton and about 20 minutes into the drive it starts to get dark. I keep feeling Jerry driving off the side of the road and swerving back on. I'm a little scared. This continues, and I can't take it, so I get my phone out and immerse myself in Facebook so I don't have a clue what is happening. It gets worse when it starts to rain. My Husband later tells me that we are lucky to be alive. Apparently, Jerry drove off the side of the road several times, drove on the WRONG side of the road TWICE (once with oncoming traffic that had to stop to keep from hitting us) and he ran over a curb in town. My Husband had to tell him to turn his headlights on. He also almost grabbed the wheel from Jerry several times to get him back into our lane. He came close to asking Jerry if he wanted him to drive. As I was immersed in Facebook, I heard Jerry say that he had thought about retiring last year, but figured he had a few more years in him...WHAT!? 
Good news, after over an hour with Jerry we did arrive safely at our hotel. We stayed at Hampton Inn Clinton, which included Breakfast for $107.02. It was an amazingly clean hotel that catered to our every need. Our room was good size and they let us bring our bikes to our room. This was great because we didn't have to unload all of our gear, store our bikes, and then reload everything in the morning. It was time to rest up for our first day on the trail the next day. We started relaxing with fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies & green tea provided by the Hampton Inn!


  1. So glad you are posting!!! Oh my gosh, that shuttle ride!


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