4. Hermann: A Quick Note

September 15, 2001

Hermann, MO


September Cruise 1.2


Checking in quickly from a wifi café at the corner of Schiller and 2nd St. Enjoying gourmet coffee and a superb cheeseburger with cole slaw, chips and a pickle – all priced at well under ten dollars.


Lee told me when I visited out at Lake St. Louis two days ago that anti-German sentiment in the First World War caused this town to be bypassed and isolated. When my dad took us all to lunch here in the 1970s, on our way out to his cabin on the Gasconade River, I recall it as a sleepy backwater. Because it was left behind by progress, Hermann retained its historic character, and today it’s a little gem of a tourist town. The place that Tom and Lee stayed at here on their wedding anniversary was voted the number one bed and breakfast in the whole state of Missouri.


I picked up the Katy Trail again, westbound, less than 15 miles south of Tom’s and Lee’s home on Lake St. Louis. The trail follows an old railroad line that continues on through Kansas to somewhere in Texas. It’s one of the original “rails-to-trails” projects, at least twenty years old, and draws 300,000 visitors a year. Yesterday – in the pouring rain – I didn’t see any of them. The trail is absolutely gorgeous and idyllic. I’m thinking of revising my plan to swerve south towards Springfield at Jeff City, and instead continue on to the trail’s end at Clinton, MO, almost all the way to the Kansas border. I’ll make up my mind tonight, after I’m in my tent, studying my maps as I always do for the next day’s ride.


I’m going to keep this short because I want to get back over the Missouri River, crank out another 30 miles if possible, and set up camp as near as I can make it to Jefferson City.


I’ll fill in the descriptions and accounts I’m passing over now when I can linger for a whole morning in a place like this – probably not until I get to Springfield. I plan to spend about 3 nights camped in one spot outside Springfield, where I can safely leave all my gear while I explore the town and environs with my bicycle stripped down, lighter and fleeter.


Meanwhile, I’m going to break my promise about compressing the photos. A bunch of my first mailings were returned, evidently too large for many mailboxes. A number of other recipients wrote back, saying they had no trouble downloading my photos. In any case, I’ll only send several this time, and will wait until I’ve got more leisure than I do this afternoon to teach myself to use one of those photo compressors my high-tech California friend suggested.


  • 7722 – Last night’s campsite. Several miles west of Dutzow. I’d give it about a five on a scale of one to ten. Very mucky ground; it was all I could do to shove my bicycle up a little rise from the trail, through the underbrush, around fallen logs to a site that was less secluded than I normally choose. But it was getting late enough, and I always give myself time to set up camp before dark. There weren’t many level spots for my tent here either. The one I found, just barely big enough, shielded by leaf cover from the trail, was all I needed. Unlike the first night, after saying good-bye to Tom and Lee, I had no trouble falling asleep. I woke up with the first light, heard some horses clopping down the trail, and a farmer at work with his tractor in the bottomland on the other side of the trail, south towards the river. For once I got an early start. 
  • 7733 – Bob and his rig this morning. Finally it stopped raining. I ran into a group of self-designated “geezers on wheels” from eastern Michigan, who drove all the way down here just to ride the Katy trail. One of them offered me a “snack” as I was peddling by. I thought she said “snap” … and paused so she could snap my picture, with her camera and with mine. 
  • 7752 – Missouri River, looking upstream from the bridge on Hwy 19 into Hermann. 
  • 7754 – Local color. Schiller St., looking south from out front the coffee shop where I’m sitting now. 
  • 7758 – Give us this day. Wifi oasis – Jillsie’s Café: Hermann, MO. 





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