Nancy and Will on the Katy Trail
Combo With Saw (above)
Katy Depot Sculpture
Well, I arrived in Sedalia on June 2, and camped out at the Missouri State Fairgrounds... again. I was a little apprehensive as the forecast called for rain and thunderstorms so I only paid for one night anticipating that I would be needing to move to higher ground. I really didn't want to contribute to the tow truck fund again. Anyway, we had a few showers and then it cleared up beautifully. When the security guard came around to collect fees I paid for several days in advance based on the weather forecast, mind you. Also, the $18.00 per night is the most I have paid for camping, except for the occasional KOA campground in route.
A little about Sedalia. It's a very old rail road town.. really old. It dates back to the early 1800s. Several major railroads went through the town which allowed the town to prosper. There are lots of old interesting buildings still standing. There is also the KATY trail which is an old rail road bed which has been converted to a wonderful flat, fairly straight, compact gravel bicycle path. Its one of the longest rails to trails in the US. The trail totals over 250 miles and wonders through towns, scenic farm lands and along rivers. I rode approximately 10 miles out of town on it and it was a piece of cake. I'd love to come back and ride the whole thing. Each community has a kiosk before entering the community outlining hotels, restaurants, and camping spots available for the bicycler or hiker who is riding the trail.
One other point of interest was the KATY depot. It's a heritage museum and has lots of pictures and exhibits. What peaked my interest was the exhibit on the Ozark Music Festival which took place in 1974. Apparently this small town of 20,000 folks were not ready for an invasion of over 40,000 concert goers and druggies and flower children. It was similar to Woodstock but smaller but with the same traumatic effects....drugs, overdose, filth, etc. It all took place on the very Fairgrounds where I am staying. Sedalia, being in the middle of the bible belt, persevered and helped the stranded, drug overdosed, human population, and order was restored eventually.
The Bothell mansion sits on a high bluff just north of Sedalia. It contains 31 rooms and took over 30 years to complete. The owner, Mr. Bothell was a prominent banker and loved to entertain. The mansion was sort of club with repeat guests and after Mr. Bothell's death the guests continued to use the mansions. His will provided that they could use the mansions until the clubs members declined to a certain number and then the property was offered to the state. Missouri accepted the offer and turned the property into a state park. Tours are given daily and participants pay...are you ready for this..a woping $2.50. A great tour for a great price.
The reason the WINs are here is for the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival. I wasn't real familiar with the music genre. I assumed is similar to Honky Tonk and the original Jazz. I was wrong. The "rags" were originally based on John Philip Souza's marching band music. The pianist left hand performs the base and the right hand the melodies. The rags have a beginning and ending and there is a common theme through out the rag. Sometimes there might be other instruments performing the rhythm sections such as a wash board or saw. I have yet to learn why the pieces are called rags even with much research on the internet. In any event, I found the music fun to listen to and even more fun to watch the young performers play.
The two most interesting groups were the Roaring 20's and Morgan and the Boys. The festival is set up so that each participant performs a set lasting about 20-30 minutes. The Roaring 20's were all performers aging around 20. Morgan and the Boys were all under 18 with Morgan being the only girl and the rest boys. In my book the young performers out performed the older ones by a long shot except for Jeff Bernhardt and his wife Ann.
Today (June 6) I'm off to Iowa via a slight detour to Pennsylvania for a few days to see my friend John, the Happy Kayaker.