I’ve always had a fondness for the name Katie. I wanted to name my second daughter Katie, but since my then-Mother-in-law had a dog named Katie at the time, the choice was vetoed. It would have been weird having two Kates in the family at the same time.
Missouri’s Katy Trail would have to be one of the nation’s best rail-trails, given its great name. At 238 miles in length, it crosses a very large part of the state, following the Missouri River along the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (a.k.a., the Katy) right-of-way. It’s crushed gravel and stone surface is very smooth and suitable for walking, running or biking.
The Katy Trail is conveniently located next to the truck parking lot at the Ameristar Casino (click here for directions); follow the trail just a couple hundred yards north to historic St. Charles, and Frontier Park, the site of one of the earliest campsites in the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Downtown St. Charles has many nice restaurants and shops in restored historic buildings, but I would recommend the Bike Stop Cafe. Part bike shop, part restaurant, you can rent a bike and get a delicious breakfast wrap all in one stop.
In the other direction, just a couple hundred yards south down the Katy Trail is Bangert Island County Park, with smaller hilly and winding dirt trails suitable for hiking or mountain biking. This area is more densely wooded than the Katy Trail, and reminded me of Huck Finn. Unfortunately, the park was closed due to rising flood waters on the Missouri River this week when I visited, so I don’t have pictures.
I don’t normally enjoy casinos, but the Ameristar has one penny slot machine that I will play. It has a Dean Martin theme and plays “Ain’t that a kick in the head” when you win. The casino floor also offers free fountain drinks and coffee. Diet Coke and fun music are good suppliment to an afternoon of bike riding. As always, remember to gamble responsibly, or not at all. The only sure bet at a casino is the one not made. Save your money for the restaurant or bakery on-site.