Paul K. served us breakfast and we got to visit a little while longer. He took us for a tour of the church and I discovered even more just how beautiful these old churches are (and how full of history). In a chapel, we had a brief Bible study and took communion. We finished packing and saw some people coming in the church (a secretary, a woman with the quilting club) as the sunshine started to fill the church with light. It was a beautiful sunny morning.
We were already back on the road. We did not get enough time there. I would have loved to talk with Paul K. and Joe some more, but we were heading to St. Louis with about 40 miles of trail remaining.
We got back on the trail and the weather was perfect. It would be hot later, but for then, it was nice and cool (with no wind) and the path was just right. I knew there would be three vineyards on the way with wineries and I was determined to stop at one... even at 9am in the morning. We missed the first couple of wineries and just enjoyed the ride. A winery was not the priority, but I certainly would have loved to go to my first one ever (and we did find one later).
The trail was as the day before wonderful. As opposed to later trails we would take, this one had an amber glow to it and I felt safe and comfortable as we cruised along. I saw more wildlife and several bikers and hikers. On one occasion, two hikers were walking opposite of us and a squirrel decided to slowly cross the path between them and us. He just didn't move fast enough and although time seemed to momentarily freeze as I watched the squirrel crossing in front of me everything happened so fast I had no time to react. I simply rode forward and the squirrel was done for. My first road kill. Probably. Not that you need gory details, but I turned around after running him over and saw him try to sidle of the path, but he couldn't pick up his head. I saw him manage to get off the path, but I hope some predator put him out of his misery or he somehow was healed. Ah well.
We did finally run into a winery as we continued down the path. We had to climb a steep, paved hill to get there, but I'm very glad we did. It was the Sugar Creek Winery and the place was unbelievable. The view of the expanse of land from the hilltop was breathtaking and it was hard to believe a cute little place like this existed out in Missouri... I would picture this kind of thing in California or maybe Italy, I don't know, I've never been out there, but Missouri? I went inside the winery and tasted everything they had to offer. I settled on getting the Cynthiana, which is a dry red wine from a native American grape. Pretty good stuff. I'm no connoisseur or I'd tell you more. We stayed at the winery for a little more than an hour (for lunch).
Nothing much else to speak of as far as the ride goes. It was serene. So much scenery to take in. Deer in the meadows with a creek flowing by was picture perfect, but I think my camera was dead. We finished our ride at the St. Charles Family Arena (I think this is right). Our host, Paul N. was to pick us up with his black Yukon so we could avoid city traffic. He picked us up between 4 and 5 pm and we got a ride to his home in Kirkwood.
On the ride over, I learned that Paul comes from a family with a tradition in the ministry. His parents were missionaries in Asia (China, Philippines, Thailand?) and during WWII when the Japanese had control of the Philippines, his parents and his siblings were locked in a prison, which is where Paul was born! In prison. All of his family survived, while many died of malnutrition. His parents were able to minister to the fellow prisoners. His parents never stopped, even after the end of the war. That legacy of ministry was passed to Paul and now, all of Paul's boys (four of them) are ministers. It is interesting how strong faith can be passed on intergenerationally (I guess that's probably not real a word).
Shortly after arriving, we found out when the church potluck/picnic to celebrate their 36th anniversary would be on Sunday (it would be in the evening). I wanted to be there, so Jane graciously offered her home to us one more night! Thus, we made plans for two days of rest. We had a wonderful meal, which Paul's wife, Jane, prepared for us. After supper, we relaxed (this was Friday night and on Saturday we would have a day of rest and sightseeing!) and watched the Rockies-Cardinals baseball game. What an interesting coincidence that our two teams would be facing each other while we were in town! The Rockies creamed the Cards (sorry, Paul and Jane and St. Louis ;) ). I guess we brought good luck to the Rockies those four days we were there because they swept the four game series.
Before bed, I got to meet the summer intern for their church that they were hosting. Josh is studying in Florida and is working with the youth program all summer. It was great to make one more friend before bed.
To be continued...
-The next day we went to downtown St. Louis to visit the Gateway Arch, the museum under the arch, the Old Courthouse, and Union Station. We also crashed a graduation party Saturday.
-Sunday, we went to church (the 36th anniversary of the church and of Paul being pastor there! What impeccable timing... I have a knack for finding celebrations) and the picnic/potluck
-Monday we were supposed to leave, but I was very uneasy about leaving that day. For one, the rain and hail scared me. So, we delayed the trip one more day. The rain and hail stopped within one hour of starting, but it turned out there were tornados right on our path that day. I'm glad we stayed the extra day.
We rode to St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, June 5, 2009. We stayed for several days of rest.