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Your best options for a stop will be in Garnett. There are several places right off the trail in the “downtown” area or more standard fare (Sonic, Casey’s, etc.) about four blocks over where the highway goes through town.
Hope you enjoy your trek. I’ve done that one a couple of times.
If you are talking about the Ottawa Depot, there is a nice parking lot there that you are allowed to use overnight.
At the actual trailhead on the south side of town, I believe it is the same. Somebody please contradict me if you know differently.
Sounds great, Randy. Katy Bike rental is out of Defiance but covers the whole trail (for a price.) They were very friendly and professional when we used them last. Gets pretty cheap when you are splitting the ride several ways.
They balked at driving to Machens and, having driven there myself, I understand why. No problems with Black Walnut however.
I rode Ottawa to Richmond and back this morning. In general, the trail condition was great. There were only 2 things that you need to look out for.
1) Between MM 63 and MM 64 the are two cracks in the middle of the trail about 6 inches long and 2 or 3 inches wide. There are not going to swallow you up but might make yo lose control if you are not paying attention.
2) 1/2 a mile north of Richmond there is a downed tree. It’s an easy portage and you can see it from a long way off.
Hope these help.
This will be a judgement call on your part. Overall, the trail is pretty firm. It is also smoother than a gravel roads because the chat is much smaller than they tend to use on roads these days. (Seriously Kansas, is the budget so bad that you have to throw medium sized rocks onto your roads?) I have talked to many people who have made the trek with a road bike and had no problems.
However, often after rains you will find soft spots where a road bike would sink in a bit. I’m not talking quicksand here but you will definately get a tug on your wheel. If you are alert this is no problem, but a surprise can lead to a comedy routine of overcompensation followed by tragedy. YMMV.
I guess that it depends on what type or riding I am planning on doing. For a nice leisurely ride, a hybrid that lets me sit up is good. Also easier on the neck and shoulders. For a longer or harder ride, I prefer my Trek Crossrip. It’s a sub-cyclocross bike that really handles the trail and gravel roads very well.