I started out the day by loading the bike in the car, grabbing a coffee and scone at Dancing Mule and driving north to Bolivar and the northernmost trailhead of the Frisco Highline Trail. I got a slightly late start, but was on the trail about 9-9:30am.
I had about a two mile hiccup in Bolivar, but after winding through a neighborhood or two, I was back on the route to the trail just south of town. The trail picked up by an oldish blue-painted mill of some sort, just off of a side road paralleling Hwy. 13.
It wasn't long until I hit La Petite Gemme Prairie, 37 acres of unmolested rolling prairie land. There were a lot of songbirds through here. Not long after passing through LPGP, I had a fox run down the trail in front of me for a hundred yards or more. It also wasn't long until I came across a five foot black snake in the path.
I nearly ran over a lot of small critters on the trail - a toad, a garter snake, dozens of small lizards, butterflies, wooly worms, grasshoppers and dragonflies. I managed to dodge all I saw, only consciously killing a tick on my leg in Willard.
The second trailhead I came to was in Wishart.
After crossing the Little Sac River, just north of Walnut Grove, I detoured to 7C's Winery and picked up a couple of half bottle blister packs for The Mrs. This gave me about a six mile side trip on farm roads. Dwight, I believe that was his name, the owner, is a really nice guy. He told me they allow camping on the grounds and that he has a grill available for camp use. I might have to take advantage of that this fall.
Willard was the next trailhead after Walnut Grove. I was getting a little low on water and feeling hungry, so hit a convenience store for a bottle and some chips. Things really picked up between Walnut Grove and Willard. I saw a lot more people through here. The paved section of trail in this section probably draws more people, as well as its nearness to Springfield.
I found the southern half of the trail to be an easier ride, but the northern half to be prettier and quieter. I found myself riding solo for much of the first half. I maybe saw three dozen people all day, four or five of them were above Walnut Grove. the bikes ranged from cruisers and road bikes on the paved sections to mountain bikes and recumbents on the middle chat sections.
When I hit the trailhead in Springfield, at Kearney and W. Bypass, I wasn't done yet. I still had to ride 8.5 miles to my in-laws' house, where my wife and kiddo were playing in the pool. Riding down Kearney sucked, so did the questionable neighborhoods my GPS took me into to get through downtown. I stopped at The Coffee Ethic for a water and iced coffee. I loaded it with simple syrup to counter the shaking of my hands. After I caught my breath, I rode the remaining few miles to my waiting family and a cool dip in the pool.
It was a great trip. I hadn't planned to through-ride it. I originally meant to do an out-and-back to the winery, but called my wife to get permission to keep peddling. I needed her blessing to drive me back to get my car in the evening. The wine I picked up at 7C's helped there.
I covered 51.5 miles from Bolivar to my in-laws' in Springfield, counting my detours. The longest day I've ridden so far. Coupled with Thursday's ride to Rogersville and back (28.25 miles), I rode a quarter mile shy of 80 miles last week. Also, I was riding a little beat up on Saturday, having gone arse-over-head five miles from home on the Rogersville trip.