South Dakota Trip – Day 1 (Atlanta to St. Charles, MO)

It’s finally spring and time to resume my goal to ride all of the Hall of Fame Rails-to-Trails in the country. On this trip, I plan to ride on the Wabash Trace in Iowa and the Mickelson Trail in South Dakota. I really appreciate my sister-in-law, Liz, for flying out from Tulsa to keep an eye on my 93 yr. old mother while we’re out of town. Regrettably, my biking buddy, Joyce, was not able to join me on this trip; however, she is already planning our Great Lakes trip in July!

Loaded for South Dakota

Loaded for South Dakota

Since my sister, Mary, and her husband, Jim, decided to join my husband, Ed, and me on this trip, we decided to drive and enjoy the scenery between Atlanta and South Dakota. Packing Ed’s F-150 with four bikes and gear for four people was a challenge! Prior to the trip, we purchased a waterproof cargo bag, which came in handy today as we drove through a hailstorm in North Georgia.

Waterwheel @ Patti's

Waterwheel @ Patti’s

We left Atlanta around 11AM (Ed had to squeeze in a few hours at work), picked up my sister (during the hailstorm) at her cabin near Jasper, and then picked up her husband after work in Calhoun. Along our route for the day, we passed The Barn Nursery in Chattanooga, and I lamented not having enough time to stop … maybe on the return trip :-). As we considered a place to eat dinner, we tried to make reservations at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville; however, they were booked for a private party :-(.

Because we “gained an hour” on Central Time, we decided to drive a few hours further to Patti’s 1880’s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. According to our research, Patti’s was voted the Best Small Town Restaurant in the Southeast – a tribute to which we can now attest.

Dinner at Patti's 1880's Settlement

Dinner at Patti’s 1880’s Settlement

The quaint little tourist village included two restaurants, gift shops, and gardens (stream and working waterwheel). Ed and I split their house speciality (2″ grilled pork chops), and we all enjoyed the yeast rolls baked in flower pots. Unfortunately, we were too full to try one of their famous mile-high meringue pies.

Mary & Jim @ Patti's

Mary & Jim Eating Flower Pot Bread

After dinner, we climbed back in the truck and drove 3 1/2 more hours through Kentucky and Illinois to St. Charles, Missouri. We passed the St. Louis Arch (Gateway to the West) and Mississippi River about 11PM our time. The casino lights lit up the river, as we marveled at the new suspension bridge. We arrived at our hotel at 11:30PM; although I was anxious to ride the Wabash Trail the next day, I fell asleep quickly.

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