Two Flats

Day 106 • June 15, 2012 •  Pilot Grove to Franklin, MO •  16 miles

We had a good night’s rest last night in our tent at the Pilot Grove city park.  Advertised at the Pilot Grove trailhead, all that was required for these accommodations was a quick call to the local police.  We also had a pretty decent burger last night at the bar directly across from the trailhead.

We didn’t get very far down the track today before getting distracted by another beautifully restored train depot in Boonville.  The Boonville Tourism Commission had an office inside the depot and we chatted for a long time with Sherry, the assistant director.  She had a lot of information about the area, including the story behind a successful bid by the commission to take over the MKT bridge that crosses the Missouri River in Boonville.  When the Katy Trail was originally developed, the bridge wasn’t included in the deal so a detour onto the automobile bridge is required to get across.  The bridge was scheduled to be scrapped out for the steel but now it will stay put with plans to eventually re-route the trail back onto the original MKT right of way in this section. This kind of passion is evident all along the Katy.

When we finally tried to leave the depot I had a flat, the second of the trip.  Yesterday we had the first.  When I repaired the flat yesterday I wasn’t able to find the source but buttoned it back up anyway, hoping that whatever it was had been taken care of.  No such luck.  By consistently aligning the tire with the tube I was able to verify that flat #2 occurred in about the same place on the tire as #1, so there was probably something left in the tire.  Knowing where on the tire it flatted I could focus on that section of the tire and eventually found a tiny thorn that looked like the culprit.  It was almost enough to make me nostalgic for a good ol’ Boise goat head– at least there is never any doubt about the source of the flat.  It’s interesting to note that the flats occurred on the Kenda Kickzumbutt tire on the center wheel which typically is the least likely to get a flat.  The other four tires are the original Schwalbe Marathon Plus with nearly 3000 flat-free miles at this point.  I’m pretty impressed with the Schwalbes but I think switching to the Kenda was still the right choice given how quickly the rear tire is wearing and the substantial price difference.  The Kendas  (I’m on my second) have been good tires, just not as flat-resistant as the Schwalbes.

After repairing and procrastinating into the heat of a 95-degree, high humidity day, we stopped for the night with less than twenty miles to show for our effort.  The Katy Roundhouse campground was a nice place to pitch a tent, with decent bathrooms and showers, though it looked like there were once greater aspirations for that business.  For dinner we followed a sign at the trailhead into New Franklin where the senior center was serving homemade fried chicken for $5 a plate.  We got a good southern meal and a chance to chat with some local seniors indoors, out of the heat.  We shared camp with a big group of boy scouts who were on a weekend ride on the trail.  They were gone before we got out of the tent the next morning.  Over achievers.

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