Katy Trail, Cycling & My Grandpa`s Farm.

Lovely auburn flowers in winter???
Lovely auburn flowers in winter???

Exploring Katy Trail in Missouri was something that we always looked forward to,  as many travelogues and  magazine, waxed eloquence on the beauty of this place. When we sought out  information, on the internet, we could not find any site, that gave us consolidated information on the facilities, views, points of interests etc. This blog, is an effort towards just that – A write up on the beauty of the Katy Trail, as seen through my eyes….

Katy Trail State Park is built on the former corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad (better known as the Katy). When the railroad decided to cease operation on its route, it presented the chance to create an extraordinary recreational opportunity — a long-distance hiking and bicycling trail that would run almost 200 miles across the state. This was a completely ingenious idea as it presented itself as a milestone in hiking and bicycling for many nature enthusiasts. As this corridor, runs all along the banks of the River Missouri, its very scenic during all the seasons of the year. In summer, the trail bursts with wildflowers and the trees are filled with ripe fruits and leaves and its really a pleasure to walk or cycle along the trail.  The visitors to this area, have many options to explore the beauty along the trail. One can drive up to Defiance, Missouri and rent bicycles at Katy Bike Rental. The cycles are well maintained and parents have options of child-carts and tag-a-longs for the kids. Thee are also kids bicycles which enables a full outing for the entire family. The tag-a-longs are closed so the child is protected from the sun and wind.

Tag-along for kids.
Tag-along for kids-Pic courtesy Katy Bike Rental.

The trail allows users to travel through some of the most scenic areas of the state. The majority of the trail closely follows the route of the Missouri River so hikers and bicyclists often find themselves with the river on one side and towering bluffs on the other. The trail travels through many types of landscapes including dense forests, wetlands, deep valleys, remnant prairies, open pastureland and gently rolling farm fields. In the spring, the trail is brightened with flowering dogwood and redbud, while the fall is colored with the rich reds and oranges of sugar maple, sumac and bittersweet. The summers are of course very beautiful where one can see all the forest areas in full bloom.  You could also see scurrying bunnies and little baby turtles, walking along the trail, at their own pace. The Klondike State Park spread across 250 acres, between the cities of Defiance and Augusta, on the historic highway 94, is a place to be visited on its  own. Once a site for silica sand quarry, now offers trail enthusiasts many options for family get-togethers, with a scenic lake, picnics, parks, tent camping, trekking, trails and play areas.

Ice frozen on the Klondike Park Lake.
Ice frozen on the Klondike Park Lake.

Another of my favourite spots along the Katy Trail is “My Grandpa`s Farm”. Its a small quaint farm, originally owned by the Daniel Boone run by a couple, who live there. The farm runs all through spring from the 15`th of March up until  Thanksgiving.  In spring and summer, the farm supplies refreshments like” Sno-cones” – crushed ice flavoured with berry, lemon syrup to the parched bicyclists. They also serve quaint lunches and dinners. They grow organic tomatoes, pears, apples, raspberries, peaches and lemons. They also raise ponies, horses, chickens and hens and get fresh eggs from them.

My Grandpa`s Farm
My Grandpa`s Farm

They make Apple Butter, peach Butter and strawberry and raspberry preserves,  which are bottled and sold at their lovely little store. The salas, made from the organic home grown tomatoes, are extremely tasty and also available to buy. A drive to Augusta, is never complete without a visit to “My grandpa`s Farm”, and we never miss the home made delicious hash browns served with Meduim Salsa.

Augusta also comes under the Missouri Wine Country, so the Highway 94 is filled with so many quaint lovely wine tasting outlets. A fall drive along this lovely highway, is a feast for the eyes, as one ambles across miles and miles of plains and hills dotted with trees, all coloured with fall foliage. On a drive along this wine country, during fall, you  can see many grape vineyards, laden with bunches of juicy heavy grapes, ready to be picked, sorted and made in to wines. One wonders at the many lovely hues of orange, yelllow, amber and red, in a fall drive on this scenic road.

Grapes ready to be picked in a vineyard in Augusta, MO
Grapes ready to be picked in a vineyard in Augusta, MO

Fall, again is the month of apple picking, so farms along this trail, get busy with this season. The Centennial farms, where we visitd for instance, claimed to grow 24 varieties of apples which ripen through August to September and get ready to be picked in fall. The farm also grows summer vegetables like squash, acorn, sweet potatoes and make them available for sale. Its also a place for family fun, during October, as they offer pumpkin mazes, hay ride, tractors etc for children and adults. There are a variety of nurseries along this region, which grow a multitude of flowers and plants like roses, hibiscus, jasmines, sunflowers, chrysanthemums etc. The Wine Country Gardens offer wine tasting, a lovely nursery and outdoor dining overlooking the lovely stretch of plains, filled with vineyards, trees and offering an uninterrupted view of the spectacular highway and beyond.

The Katy trail is a hitherto unexplored territory for me, in my one and a half year stint in Missouri, but every trip to Defiance and Augusta, bring with it, new experiences and newer insights to this scenic part of the state. We have made it a point to visit this place, as much as we can, as it brings so many opportunities of experiencing nature and being one with it. This region is almost beautiful. no matter what the season….Little did Lewis and Clark realise that their expedition opened the doors for so many more….today and everyday …

Highway 94...
Highway 94...

Eggless Cakes

Banana Walnut Eggless Cake.

Bananas are one of the most commonly availabe fruit. It comes in a variety of colours  green, yellow, red and in India ,a myriad of hybrids are now available. It also the most versatile fruit as its used in many different forms – fried, frittered, frozen, mashed, pureed, boiled to be made in to puddings, preserves, or in its original form. Bananas are rich in Vitamin C and also a good source of dietary fiber and potassium. Many times, when I buy even half a dozen, I always find I would have to throw at least one if I am not extremely careful. This time, I decided to make an egless  cake with the over ripe bananas. I also threw in a little flax seed powder as it increases the fibre intake. It is also better to skim down the sugar a little bit, as bananas are  high in sugar content on their own.

Banana Walnut Eggless Cake.
Banana Walnut Eggless Cake.


All Purpose flour          – 1 cup

Sugar                                  – Brown/White 1 cup.

Bananas                            – 2 ripe.

Oil                                        – 1/2 cup (Only Canola/Mazola/ Vegetable Oil and not Olive Oil)

Baking Soda                     – 1 tsp

Walnuts                             – 1 /3 cup

Vanilla Extract              – 1 tsp (Always use pure vanilla extract with  no alcohol). For better flavor you can use Banana Extract too.

Flax seed                           – 2 tsp.


  • Preheat the oven to 350F and pour out the walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toast for 5 mins or so.
  • Cool the nuts and chop them up roughly.
  • Measure out the flour, add the baking soda abd set aside. The dry ingredients are now ready.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the ripe bananas and mash it well with a masher or ladle. Add oil, sugar, extract and whisk briskly.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients little by little and mix it in,. Do not overmix as this may rob the batter of air and the end result would not be a spongy cake.
  • Add the toasted chopped nuts and the flax seed and mix it in too. The toasting of the nuts is completely optional as it brings out the flavour of the nuts and makes it crunchy. You can also add them as they are.
  • Grease a 9 nch round cake pan or loaf pan  with oil spray and slowly pour in the cake batter and lightly flatten with a spatula.
Banana Cake batter in the cake pan.
Banana Cake batter in the cake pan.
  • Bake at 350F for 30 mins or until a fork inserted comes out clean.