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Missouri

Finally we have crossed the Mississippi into Missouri - Twain, St Louis and Kansas City.

Crossing the bridge across the Mississippi and into Missouri, our 8th state.We stayed at the Huck Finn Youth Hostel in the Soulard district of St. Louis. It looked ramshackle but it was clean and comfrtable. I really liked the neighbourhood. The houses were old and set in rows like English town houses, there were lots of pubs and restaurants (no fast food) and a very relaxed atmosphere.The city was baseball mad for the weekend that we were in St Louis. The Cardinals made it through to the National League Championship Series (no idea) and the fountains were flowing red in celebration.While Stuart retreated back to the hotel to burst the Mother of all blisters I wandered round downtwn taking some pictures. It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky. 

The St Louis skyline reflected in the Deloitte building.While Stuart retreated back to the hotel to burst the Mother of all blisters I wandered round downtwn taking some pictures. It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky. 

Go. Abstract of skyline reflected in rotating doors of a hotel entrance.While Stuart retreated back to the hotel to burst the Mother of all blisters I wandered round downtwn taking some pictures. It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky. 

The arch on a perfect day. The thing is huge.While Stuart retreated back to the hotel to burst the Mother of all blisters I wandered round downtwn taking some pictures. It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky. 

Detail of Arch.While Stuart retreated back to the hotel to burst the Mother of all blisters I wandered round downtwn taking some pictures. It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky. 

Detail of Arch.

While Stuart retreated back to the hotel to burst the Mother of all blisters I wandered round downtwn taking some pictures. It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky. 

Arch and skyline in silhouette.Our companion for our time at the Huck Finn hostel was David, interesting man and bringer of hats.

David was returning to Wisconcin from a 3-month-long driving tour of the US.
Making good use of one of Davids hats.Stu remained unimpressed by the fact that he was sleeping in interesting light.Back on the road, back with the Roadkill. 

Full roadkill gallery premiering during the walkingthestates winter break. Stay tuned.Back on the road, back with the Roadkill. 

Full roadkill gallery premiering during the walkingthestates winter break. Stay tuned.Iraq. Utter and predictable shambles or Historys finest hour II. Get your votes in.

We never know quite how to react when we are congratulated on our (Britains) support of the war. We gently remind people that support is by no means popular.Our second terrifying bridge crossing. This time hiker vs. automobile. On another short-cut from the ADT the road system meant it was impossible to hitch over this bridge. There was no pavement (sidewalk.) 

We put our heads down and power-walked across. Sorry Mum, no I wont do it again.Once we were across the Missouri River we were on to the Katy trail. The Katy is converted railroad that ran from Kansas to Texas (hence KT - Katy) With the colours starting to change and the skies clear, its good walking.The leaves are starting to turn colour and drop.On the Katy, the mile markers are back. They seem to be coming quicker and easier than ever before - we are coming into a rich vein of walking form essential for our race to Kansas City for Stus birthday.This thing was out in the middle of nowhere. I have no idea what it is/was. Sorry.
In Marthasville we had our coldest night yet as the clear skies meant big overnight temperature drops.

It made for a stunning morning though.In Marthasville we had our coldest night yet as the clear skies meant big overnight temperature drops. 

There was a heavy frost, the water in my water pouch froze as did the condensation on the inside of my tent.I prefer the trails when they open up for views of the Missouri or of the surrounding farmland. We were racing to Hermann to try and get there before it got dark so we could hitch over the River. I kept having to stop though as the light was so stunning.Looking towards the Missouri River.

In the days now the sun is always slanted low to our left in the South.A typical landscape in this part of the country - rich, flat farmland walled with the ridges of the hills and bluffs that border the riversDefiance, Mo. Robbie, Hoggy and Jake. A great little bar where we sheltered on the coldest night of the trip yet. OK we may have ended up there anyway but it was very cold.These squirrels were playing cards on the ceiling of the bar. Apparently this is legal in 3 states, Missouri is one of them.The corn and the soy have mostly been harvested by now so the landscape is looking pretty barren. I take this to mean good job, fellas. time to go home for a bit now, put your feet up.Lisa, Fritz, Leslie and Allie enjoying the sun at Oktoberfest.Chris deep frying a turkey. I was slightly sceptical but it was about the best turkey I ever tasted.
While our trousers were being washed we had to keep warm on a chilly day. I adopted the ever glamorous shorts and thermal leggings approach (fashion is transitory, style is permanent) while Stu got comfortable under a blanket, queen mother style.Leslie and Fritz.Hermann Oktoberfest. Dancing on the bar at the Barrel with unknown lady. Beer had possibly got the better of us at this point.Hermann crew. The morning after the night before.We left the ADT for our usual side step to college town cultural input. Here is our hero Stu walking the holiness highway wearing the desperate look of a man with wet trousers.On our arrival in Columbia we went our seperate ways. Stu went to the library and I went to a local coffee shop with wireless. Only our little computer seemed to be the only one in the place that failed to recieve it. The lovely Sara stepped into rescue me and together we failed abjectly to get the thing to work. 

Thanks to Saras computer, though, I did learn that my football team had lost again and that Hammel on Trial (top tip of my Dads mate Trev) was playing in a local bar. So I resolved to commiserate myself there.At Mojos we chatted to Brice and Nancy who were in Columbia seeking refuge from the apparent cultural black hole of Jefferson City (sorry Jeff City, not our words, weve never been.)Later Sara and her friend Lisa turned up at the show and very kindly offered to put us up for the night.

A fine evening.

Two marvellous ladies with excellent musical tastes. Officially.We took the MKT trail to join back up with the Katy trail and Stu displayed his amazing feats of balance on the way ...while I took on the fitness course on the trail. This shortly before I suffered unexplained injury to both biseps.
We headed back to the Katy trail and the Missouri River on a very grey day with very grey hangovers.Despite the weather, the colours were fantastic and framed by high imposing bluffs to our North.Heart-shaped cobweb on the trail.Amazing silo tower made of clay tiles. Huge.Enticing path into the woods but we had miles to make.The watery winter sun.This picture looks as cold as it has been over the last few days. Frost again this morning.Finally blue skies as we head into Booneville. Unfortunately Casondras despite her advertised claim was not open for us to purchase much-needed keepsakes.Where I want to work when I grow up.Lone tree clinging to the last of its leaves. Shortly before leaving the Katy Trail.
October has been a beautiful month and the soft golden light of the low sun in the evenings imbues the trees with an amazing golden light.Evening on the Santa Fe Trail.Stuart inflating one of the many blow up accessories that get him through the lonely nights.Because of the cold we are sharing a tent to sit, cook, chat and catch up on journals before going to bed. Its not very comfortable but its warmer than sitting outside.Back on roads again as we follow the Santa Fe Trail West. We are enjoying the agrarian landscape of this part of Missouri.Neil, an exp-pat, and his wife Anita took us in iin Marshall Mo. We had a luxurious rest-up before our final push to Kansas City.Being an ex-pat, Neil cooked up a storm and we ate expansively. We had a full-on roast on Saturday night, including our first roast potatoes for months - bliss.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what Sunday breakfast looks like. Note grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and brown sauce and proper cup of tea.Leaving Marshall for the home straight.Back on the road we spent our coldest night yet on the Conners farm. When we went in for breakfast, the thermometer read 27F. You can see the condensation frozen on the insides of our tents. 

Nights like this are spent buried in your sleeping bag. Its still freezing.The Conners (Diane, Shea, Seth and Bailey) were fantastic hosts and cooked up a great breakfast at 6.45 in the morning. The family was rodeo mad and we learnt a lot about the various competitions - the girls were champion goat-tiers.
Connie Dilley was the star of Higginsville Missouri. She ran into us on Main Street and immediately took us under her wing. She was one of the sweetest people we met the whole trip through.Our last night camping. Great sky and not too cold. Roll on Kansas City. Goodbye tents.Halloween is much bigger in the US than at home. Apparently the nation spends 5 billion dollars on Halloween fare, most of it pumkin-shaped and made of plastic.Halloween is however a lot of fun. While Stu took an evening off partying, alarmed at how yellow we were turning, I went along to a costume party with our hosts Colin and Carly.Our Kansas City hosts, Carly left and Colin right, comforting some zombie hikers.Coln Sanders, Mick Jagger, Dead Marilyn, Frida Kahlo.Kansas City Halloween.At the party I was introduced to something called a kegstand. An enticingly novel way to drink beer, the kegstand involved being inverted over the keg while its contents were pumped into you. The cape is optional.In the spirit of experimentation and with the honour of the nation at stake, I bravely inverted myself and sucked the hose. 

American beer is very fizzy, my attempt was very brief compared to the more seasoned Enabler (behind.)After a kegstand the world briefly looks like this.
Halloween, Kansas City.Halloween, Kansas City.        

E-mail: stu@walkingthestates.com and dave@walkingthestates.com | Phone: (00 1) 301 538 0308