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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Favorite Rides: The Winelander Run

Copyright © 2013 by Ralph F. Couey
For six great years, I hosted a two day motorcycle ride which I called "The Winelander Run."  The route started in Kingdom City, MO and ran through Fulton, Columbia, Rocheport, Jefferson City, Hermann, and ending up in Hannibal on Sunday. It was a great run, and a great weekend with fun had by all who attended.  This was the Ride Brief I provided to the riders before we started.
Winelander Run
Welcome to the Annual Winelander Run!  I am very happy to have you along today and hope your ride will be enjoyable.  First, a few rules for safety and fun enhancement:
1.  Fill your tank before the ride starts and at all designated fuel stops.
2. When possible, use the approved staggered method of riding.  Don’t ride directly behind the bike in front of you.  On twisty roads, however, stretch the spacing out and use as much as the road as you need.   
3.  No passing. That is, maintain your position in the group through out the ride.
4.  After the ride has started, please don’t leave the group unless you suffer a breakdown or a medical problem.
5. Each person on the ride is responsible for the rider behind him when making turns.  If you have lost sight of the rider in front of you, continue straight ahead, assuming that he will wait for you at the next turn or change in route number.
6.  While in the curves, ride at a pace that is comfortable for you. When you come out of a curve, use the straightaway to catch up.
7. Do not tailgate.  However, in congested areas, keep the formation tightened up and staggered as much as you safely can as you approach traffic signals so that the group moves through the light as a unit.
Now a few notes about the route.
1.  This is “critter country” that we’re riding through.  We shouldn’t see many deer during the day, but there are plenty of dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, etc., so be alert.  Also, the great Missouri turtle migration starts about this time, so watch for little helmets with legs and avoid them.
2.  There are places where you will see me slow down a bit.  Some are curves where there is always a spray of gravel around.  There are other places where I have often seen deer cross in the past, so if you see me slow down and begin to scan the roadsides, there’s a good reason.
3.  If you need to stop for gas or to pump bilges (an old Navy term) give three long beeps on your horn and I’ll pull over at the next available spot.  We will take breaks about every 60 minutes or so.  The travel distance to Hermann on this route should be about 190 miles.   I have scheduled the fuel stops within a mileage range that should not present a problem.  
 Here’s the route for Saturday (220 miles, 5 hours):

Leg 1  Leave from the parking lot of the Iron Skillet in Kingdom City about 8:30 a.m., go south on US54 to Fulton and the Churchill Memorial.
Leg 2:  Take Route F/WW west 20 miles to the US63 junction.  Turn south onto US63 and go about 8 miles to Route 163.  Take Route 163 west to the Pierpont Store.
Leg 3:  Take Route163 north to Route K.  Turn left and follow K past McBaine, out onto the river flats, into and through Huntsdale to Route O.
Leg 4:  Take Route O north under I-70, where this road becomes Route J.  Continue north to Harrisburg and turn right onto Route 124.  Go east on 124 about 1.5 miles to Route E and turn right.  Take Route E south to I-70.  Route E is a series of right-angle curves, all banked to make it easier.  You'll have great visibility through the turns, so enjoy!
Leg 5:  Take I-70 west (right turn) to the Midway (US40) exit.  Just off the Interstate is the Midway Truck Stop, made immortal through the Travel Channel's reality show "Truck Stop Missouri."  Turn right and follow US40 to the Route 240 Spur into Rocheport.  Upon reaching Rocheport, turn left on Route B and follow B to the Les Bourgeois Winery, where we will stop for lunch.  After lunch, continue on Route B to I-70.  Turn right (west) onto I-70, cross the river, and get off at the Rte 179 Wooldridge/Overton exit.
Leg 6.  Take Rte 179 south for about 40 miles to the US50 junction in Jefferson City.  Pass under the bridge and turn left (east) onto US50.  CAREFULLY follow US 50 through Jefferson City, and an additional 15 miles to Loose Creek and turn left onto Route A.  Follow Route A to the town of Bonnots Mill.  Break at Sandy’s General Store.

Leg 7.  We will leave Bonnots Mill via Route C, then out to Route 100.  Take Route 100 east to Hermann.  Watch for the sign directing a turn left to the Stone Hill Winery.  Follow the signs up the hill to the Winery.  A tour of the winery is available, for those who are interested.  Beware the tasting rooms, you still have some riding to do!
Afterwards, go back down the hill and follow the signs into Hermann.  Take the main drag north to 3rd street and turn right.  The Vinchester is about 2/3 of the way down that block.   Total miles, about 220.
Following the Winelander Tradition, we will meet at Montague’s BBQ (301 Schiller Street, 573-486-2035) at 6 p.m. for dinner and the usual raucus fun.  The rest of the night is yours alone or together, with the usual beer, cigars, and formulation of cures for all the ills of the world.
We will gather in the morning and walk to the Hardee’s at 1st and Market for breakfast about 8:00.  We will then meet at the BP gas station at the south end of the main drag and leave from there at about 9:00.

11. Here’s the route for Sunday (160 miles, 4 hours):

Leg 1:  Take Rte 19 north across the river to Rte 94 and turn right.  Go east on 94 for about 18 miles to the town of Treloar.  Turn left on Rte N for about 5 miles, then turn right on Rte 47 and go about 7 miles to Marthasville.  Turn left back onto Rte 94.
Leg 2:  Follow Rte 94 east for about 12 miles to the town of Augusta and turn right between the Vineyards.  Take this road into town and turn right at High Street (Augusta Winery) and go another quarter mile to the Mount Pleasant Winery, where we will stop for a break.
Leg 3:  After leaving Augusta, we will turn left onto Rte 94 and go back to Rte T and turn right.  Take Rte T north to Rte M, turn left.  Follow Rte M to Rte F and turn right.  Follow Rte F through Wright City, cross the interstate, and turn right onto the outer road.  Shortly afterwards, turn left onto Rte J and go north to Rte 47, where we will turn right and head into Troy.  Lunch here will be at the fast food place of your discretion.  After lunch we will meet in the parking lot of the Conoco station at the east end of the town, just before the US61 overpass.
Leg 4:  About 2 miles down Rte 47, turn left onto Rte 147 and head into Cuivre River State Park.  When we reach the north end of the park, turn left onto Rte KK and go east to Rte W.  Turn left on Rte W and head north to Clarksville.  At Clarksville, turn left onto Rte 79, “The Great River Road,” and take this road north through Louisiana.  At Louisiana, we will take a short break.  At this point, we will have to follow US54 west for a short distance before catching Rte79 north again.  From here, it’s about 31 miles into Hannibal.  We will end the ride at the Ole Planters restaurant at 316 N. Main Street (573-221-4410).

After lunch, the organized riding part of this weekend will be over.  Feel free to see the Tom Sawyer sites for as long as you can stay.  At the earliest, this puts the Illinois/Wisconsin contingent on the road by 3:30 for their return rides.  Just a suggestion, if you plan on taking I-72 through Illinois, gas up first.  There are no, repeat, no gas stations for the first 42 miles on that road.
I am grateful that you chose to ride today.  Whatever cares and burdens we are carrying, let us lose them in the wind and the trees and set our spirits free to soar on the wings of adventure.
Lodging for Friday Night:
Super 8 in Kingdom City (573-642-2888).
Lodging for Saturday Night:
 The Vinchester Inn in Hermann (573-486-4440).
OTHER NOTES:  Friday night Feed will be at the Post Office Bar & Grill at 100 W. 5th Street in Fulton (573-642-2927).
Below are some interesting notes on some of the towns we will pass through or close to on this ride.
Kingdom City:  Founded in 1970 as a fuel and food stop for truckers and others plying I-70.  This is part of the so-called Kingdom of Callaway.  This county withdrew from both the Union and Confederacy during the Civil War.  The story goes that all the young men in the county had left to fight with the South when the word came in October 1861 that Union troops were very close.  This news terrified the people left at home, mostly women, children, and old men.  The entire county’s remaining male populace gathered, armed with hunting rifles and logs painted black to look like cannons.  Seeing the display, the Union commander quickly promised not to bother the county.  The home guard, in turn, promised not to side with the Confederacy.  Word was sent to Jefferson City and Washington, DC that the county had become a Kingdom and would not join either side.
Fulton  Founded in 1825,  the town was originally named Volney after Count Constatin Volney a French scientist.  Two months later, a resident named Bob went door-to-door, lobbying residents to change the name of the town to honor inventor Robert Fulton.  For years, Fulton residents referred to their town by the nickname, “Bob.”  Fulton is home to Westminster College, where Winston Churchill presented his famous "Iron Curtain" speech.  The chapel where he spoke is open for tours and just outside is a section of the Berlin Wall.
Reform:  Founded in 1853, this small farming community was probably named by a short-lived religious group.  The town was largely demolished during the construction of the nuclear power plant. 
Mokane  Founded in 1893, this Missouri River town was originally named Smith’s Landing after a local pioneer woman.  The town was washed away during a flood and re-built and re-named St. Aubert Landing.  Yet another flood forced the relocation of the community further inland, where it was located along the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, from whence the name, a combination of Mo and Kan, was coined.
Dixie:  This name, always associated with the South, actually comes from the French word “Dix,” meaning ten which was printed on banknotes from New Orleans.  These bills were commonly referred to as “Dixies.”  Part of our ride today takes us through the part of Missouri known as “Little Dixie,” for the area’s strong southern sympathies during the Civil War.  
Holt’s Summit:  Founded about 1841, this town was probably named for a highly regarded State Representative, Dr. David Rice Holt, who died while in office.
New Bloomfield  Founded in 1841, this town was originally named Bloomfield, but that name was extremely popular among settlers throughout the Midwest, so the townspeople added “New” to the name to distinguish it from the rest.
Ashland  Founded in 1850 as Farmer’s Corner, the name was changed to Ashland to honor Henry Clay.  Ashland was the name of Clay’s estate in Kentucky.
Pierpont  Founded around 1815, before Missouri became a state.  An 1834 fire destroyed Boone County’s only distillery and grist mill.  The building, now the Pierpont General Store, was then built and used to house Missouri’s first paper mill.  The distillery proved to be much more profitable, however, and the mill soon reverted to its original pursuit.  The building was originally located where Rock Bridge State Park now sits.  In 1889, the venerable old building, now a store and blacksmith shop, was jacked up and moved to its current location.  The new site was named Pierpont, French for “Rock Bridge.”  The whole area is noted for its limestone caves.  In fact, the store sits 85 feet above the Pierpont Dome of the Devil’s Icebox cave, located in Rock Bridge State Park, about 1.5 miles north.
Columbia  Founded in 1821, the year Missouri became a state.  There are two versions of how the town received its name.  The obvious one, after the patriotic “Columbia, the gem of the ocean,” or “for the queen of the world and the child of the skies.”  More likely, early settlers brought with them the name from Columbia, Kentucky.  Legend has it that it was here that a young Abe Lincoln first courted Mary Todd.  Home to a University, three colleges, and no less than four major hospitals, all within 2 miles of each other.
McBaine  Founded in 1894, this town was named for Turner McBaine, who owned the town’s site land.  In September 1899, the first locomotive reached Columbia on the MK&T rail line that connected to the Katy in McBaine.  Turner McBaine realized the economic potential of this junction point, plotted the town of McBaine and auctioned off lots.  However, the railroad saw the location only as a convenient switching station.  The town was largely washed away during floods in 1993 and 1995.  The only major business, Betty’s Bar & Grill, burned to the ground in 2000 after it had been rebuilt after the floods.  Now the town is home to only two permanent residents, one of whom lives in an RV, after having two single-wide homes destroyed by floods.
Huntsdale  Founded in 1892 and named for an early settler, William Bunch Hunt, the town survives after barely winning it’s battle against the Great Flood of 1993.
Harrisburg  Probably named after the state capitol of Pennsylvania, this small town is the birthplace and family home of list member Steve Ewens.  The family mansion and estate can almost be seen from the highway. ;-)
Rocheport  Founded in 1827, citizens originally wanted to name this town Rock Port, but a French missionary prevailed upon them to keep the traditional French.  Despite its rocky landing, the town was an important shipping point for flatboats, keelboats, and steamboats.  Located on the Missouri River at the mouth of Moniteau Creek, Rocheport grew rapidly as steamboat traffic increased.  In 1849, 57 steamboats made 500 landings at Rocheport.  This river town was called “our capital” by Bloody Bill Anderson and his bushwhackers.  
Boonville.  After nearly 10,000 years of Native American occupation, settlement in the Boonville area began unusually early in Missouri. Around 1805 the sons of Daniel Boone (Nathan and Daniel Morgan) began to commercially operate a salt lick in what is now Howard County. Salt being an important pioneer commodity, the operation and its surrounding land attracted the numerous pioneers, including many slave-holding planters from Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia--hence, the "Boonslick" or "Boone's Lick" region consisting of several central Missouri counties.  Tradition places Boonville's beginnings with Hannah Cole, a Kentucky widow with nine children, who homesteaded in the Boonville area in 1810. Formally platted in 1817, Boonville prospered during the late 1820's with the flooding out of the first boom town in the area, Franklin. Settlers from the South dominated the first several decades, with many German immigrants arriving beginning in the 1830's. River trade and Santa Fe Trail activity were the economic forces early on. The advent of railroads and the confusion resulting from the Civil War (several engagements were fought in and around Boonville) slowed the city's growth and relative economic strength. However, Boonville to this day remains an important local center for transportation, agri-business, retailing, and tourism.  Boonville's wealth of historic architecture is a testament to a unique and fascinating heritage.
Marion  Founded in 1823 and named after General Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox of South Carolina, a military genius during the Revolutionary War.  George Washington is the only Revolutionary War hero with more places named after him.
Jefferson City  Originally called Missouriopolis in 1818, it was the first town in the U.S. to be named after Thomas Jefferson.  The current capitol building was built in 1913 after the previous one was destroyed by fire caused by a lightning strike.  Jefferson City became the state capitol after the designation was moved from St. Charles.  It is the only U.S. state capitol not served by an Interstate highway.
Loose Creek  Founded in 1849, the town is named for the creek, called L’Ours Creek by the French, meaning “Bear Creek.”  Americans corrupted the name to Loose, a fitting name for a stream that regularly leaves its banks every spring.
Bonnots Mill  This town was originally laid out by Frenchman Felix Bonnot around 1857.  Being on the Osage River and near that stream’s confluence with the Missouri, it became an important outpost in the fur trade for a number of years.
Frankenstein  Certainly one of the most intriguing-sounding town names, it was formed in 1893 and named, not for Shelly’s monster, but for Gottfried Franken, an early settler.  There is also a town named Frankenstein in Germany.
Chamois  Settled in 1856, the bluffs overlooking the river reminded settler Morgan Harper of his native Switzerland.  He named the town after the small, goat-like antelope native to the Swiss Alpine region.
Morrison  Founded in 1860, it was named for the owner of a large plantation before the Civil War, Alfred W. Morrison.
Gasconade  Settled in 1823, this town was named for the river, which was named for a region of France famed for its local pride and boastfulness.  It therefore reflects the river’s swaggering, capricious nature, moving from quiet, deep eddies to rocky rapids.  One early state official said, “A Gasconader is one who is a braggart, given to blustering and boastful talk.”
Hermann  Founded in 1836 by the German Settlement Society of Philadelphia, whose members were appalled at the loss of customs and language among their countrymen in America.  This “Second Fatherland” was intended to be a self-supporting refuge.  It was set up as a joint-stock company and advertised throughout the U.S. and Germany.  On behalf of the society, one member acquired over eleven thousand acres, bounded by hills and bluffs on three sides and the Missouri River on the north.  The area was teeming with wild grapevines and that, along with the geography, reminded the buyer of the Rhine River region of Germany.  The name Hermann comes from Germany’s national hero, Hermann (Arminius in Latin) who defeated the Roman Legion in 9 A.D.  The town, both then and now, anchors the whole Missouri Valley wine country.
Treloar  One of the “newer” towns in the area, it was founded in 1897 and named after William Treloar, a former teacher at Hardin College in Mexico, Missouri.  He was also the first Republican elected to the 9th Congressional District.  
Marthasville  Founded in 1818, it was named after the wife of one of the town’s founders, Dr. John Young.
Dutzow  Another early German settlement, it was founded by the Berlin Emigration Society in 1832 and named by a wealthy landowner after his estate near the Baltic Sea.  The streets are named for German poets. 
Augusta  First named Mount Pleasant, the name was changed to honor the German founder’s wife.  It was founded in 1836 by Leonard Harold, one of Daniel Boone’s followers to St. Charles County and became predominantly settled by German homesteaders.  Until 1872, Augusta was a popular riverboat landing, known as Augusta Bend.  However, in that year, flooding caused the Missouri to fill its main channel, which changed its course, cutting Augusta off from the River.  
Defiance  Founded in 1893, the name was inspired by some inter-city rivalry.  Harvey Matson began to promote the nearby town of Matson to the detriment of this settlement.  This made the local people very angry.  One of the citizens named this town as a comment on the local mood.  Early settlers in the Defiance area were of English extraction, from either Virginia or Kentucky.  James Craig, aware of the significance of the railroad to small towns, led a crusade of volunteers to build a depot and a farm-to-market road.  The town was then named Defiance because it had lured the railroad away from Matson.
New Melle  Founded in 1850, it was named by settlers for a town, Melle, in Germany.
Wright City  Founded in 1858 and named after a state representative and senator, it is called “The Gateway to Country Living.”
Troy  Originally the site of a fort built during the War of 1812, it was renamed by a settler from either Troy, VT or Troy, NY.
Clarksville  Founded in 1819, it was originally named Appletown, due to the large apple orchards nearby.  The area was also known as a haven of rattlesnakes.  One party boasted of killing 9,000 rattlers.  The snakes are (mostly) gone now and the town was renamed after Governor William Clark, who is said to have camped here one winter.
Louisiana  Founded in 1820, it was named for the daughter of a family who had named her after the Louisiana Purchase.
Hannibal  Founded in 1820, it was named after the African general who fought in a Roman War on Carthage.  How the name got here is a bit of a mystery.  Supposedly, about 1800 a Spaniard, Don Antonio Soulard, gave the names of Hannibal, Scipio, and Fabius to three creeks in the area.  Hannibal creek was later renamed Bear Creek, but the town’s name remained.  Known as the birthplace and early home of Samuel Clemons, aka Mark Twain, the town gained international acclaim as the fictional home of two of the most beloved characters in literature, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

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