Sunday, July 19, 2015

Talking Heads – "Road to Nowhere" (1985)

Takin' that ride to nowhere
We'll take that ride

My destination on day three of the 2 or 3 lines "Tour de Missouri" was Hartsburg, Missouri (population 103).  

Hartsburg is not exactly nowhere, but it's close enough for government work. 

The end of the second day of my Katy Trail adventure found me sound asleep in a Hampton Inn in Jefferson City, the capital of Missouri.

The next morning, I was enjoying the comprehensive free breakfast that Hampton Inns are justly renowned for when I overheard the following conversation between an older guest and the well-upholstered bottle blonde who was restocking the breakfast buffet:

Guest: What are you doing for the 4th of July?

Blonde: My fiancé and I are going to Truman Lake and watch the fireworks.

Guest: When are you and your fiancé getting married?

Blonde: I don't know – we're not in no hurry.  We've both been married before, so we want to make sure it's right before we do it.  But he can't seem to get rid of me, and I can't seem to get rid of him, so I guess we'll do it someday.

After breakfast, I rented a nice, almost-brand-new Specialized hybrid at the Red Wheel Bike Shop, which is just a block from the Missouri State Capitol.

My day-three bike and the Missouri River
From the store, it was only a few blocks to the US Route 54/63 bridge over the Missouri River.  The bridge features a cantilevered bicycle and pedestrian lane that takes you to a spur trail that connects to the Katy Trail a few miles north.

To get from the bridge down to ground level, bikers must negotiate this rather forbidding ramp, which requires eleven right-angle turns:

Here's another view of that ramp:

Needless to say, the ride down the ramp to the spur trail was a lot more fun than the ride back up to the bridge.

The North Jefferson station is very near the exact midpoint of the Katy Trail, and there's a marker there commemorating the joining of the eastern and western segments of the trail in 1996.

(No golden spike was needed to join the two halves of the Katy Trail.)

From North Jefferson it was ten miles west to Hartsburg, where I planned to grab a sandwich before turning around and riding back to Jefferson City.

Dotty's Cafe (Hartsburg, MO)
But when I got to Hartsburg, it turned out that the village's one eatery – the 1950s-themed Dotty's Cafe – was closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

Hartsburg has a bar that serves pizza if you feel like eating lunch at 4 PM (which is when the bar opens).  But according to the John Deere tractor clock at Dotty's, 4 PM was a long time away:

Unfortunately for me, Hartsburg doesn't have a grocery store, a 7-11, a gas station, or even a vending machine.

I knew from my westbound ride that there was nothing in the way of food or drink along the ten miles of trail between North Jefferson and Hartsburg.  So it looked like I was going to have to settle for the tepid, grassy-tasting H2O that came from the Katy Trail's water fountain. 

I was about to saddle up and ride back hungry when I saw someone working in the garden of Hartsburg's Globe Hotel, a bed and breakfast that caters to Katy Trail cyclists.  

Mark, one of the owners of the Globe, admitted that there was no place to buy food or drink in Hartsburg on a Wednesday at one in the afternoon, but offered to spot me a couple of bottles of blue Gatorade, which I gratefully accepted.

The Globe B&B (Hartsburg, MO)
Despite having fully replenished my precious bodily fluids with Gatorade – which is the official sports drink of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA, and MLS as well as 2 or 3 lines – my ride back to Jefferson City was a bit of a struggle.

You see a lot of corn from the Katy Trail
It had rained the night before, which made the unpaved trail a little mushy – so it took more effort to propel the bike down the trail that it ordinarily would have.

Also, my bike was a tad small for me.  I was forced to lean forward more than I was used to, which fatigued my back, shoulders, and arms.

Finally, although I had filled up on scrambled eggs, sausages, waffles, and orange juice that morning, I had ridden far enough by this time to burn up almost all of those calories.  I was simply running out of fuel by the time I got back to the bike store at 4 PM or so.  (When you weigh 195 like I do, riding a bike at 12 MPH uses about 65 calories per mile.  So I had burned around 2000 calories by the time I finished my ride that day.)

I paid a quick visit to the Missouri State Capitol – more about that visit tomorrow – then headed off in search of sustenance.

I found it at the Prison Brews brewpub in downtown Jefferson City, which is only a few blocks from the old Missouri State Penitentiary, which operated from 1836 until 2004, and which is now open to the public.

Prison Brews features pseudo-prison decor – for example, the bar area is delineated with faux prison bars:

The names of the beers made and sold at Prison Brews are also prison-themed: Go to Jail Ale, Prison Town Brown Ale, Misdemeanor Maibock, and so on.

I thought about having one for the road at this intriguing bar, which was just down the block from Prison Brews:

The Shrunken Head Tropic Lounge (Jefferson City, MO)
But I didn't want to get pulled over on a DWI beef and end up in jail for real, so I hopped in my rental car and headed north to Columbia, Missouri, where I was spending the night.

"Road to Nowhere" is the last song on Little Creatures, the delightful album released in 1985 by the Talking Heads.

My oldest son was not quite two years old when I bought Little Creatures, so I took an immediate liking to another song on that album, "Stay Up Late":

Mommy had a little baby
There he is fast asleep
He's just a little plaything
Why not wake him up?
Cute, cute, little baby
Little pee-pee, little toes
Now he's comin' to me
Crawl across the kitchen floor
Here's "Road to Nowhere":

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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