dining in the shadow of lewis and clark – cycling, travel

The book “Undaunted Courage” chronicles the 38 man Lewis and Clark expedition to new and marvelous places. Some 200 years later on my bicycle I chanced to follow their steps for nearly 200 miles along the mighty Missouri river.

Expecting to live off the land, Clark and his crew were all expert hunters and brought with them 400 pounds of lead to make bullets and the following food supplies:

150 pounds portable soup ( bouillon )
3 bushels rock salt/spices
30 kegs of spirits

The expedition also traded with the native Indians for squash, venison and fish along the Missouri, but after thirty miles on the trail we found “Trail Smokehouse” – and learned Missouri is barbecue.

Missouri knows BBQ - and this pulled pork was perfect

Missouri knows BBQ – and this pulled pork was perfect

Funny how a great sandwich and a glass of dark beer can energize a fellow. The river was very high, and one section of the trail was flooded taking us about five miles around through mud and water before we finally rejoined the trail. At the end of the day nothing says sixty miles through 90 degree heat like a frozen Margarita.

makes the heat an ancient memory

makes the heat an ancient memory

In the morning it was waffle house and grits… ( I was born in the South after all ) It reminded me of Lewis writing in his journal about using the last of the butter, or his first taste of buffalo. Near Rocheport where the eagles and hawks soar over the river near the cliffs you can ride up, park your bike and get a fresh pizza made in his outside wood oven.


The expedition found the bugs so thick that they often smeared their skin with grease or sat in the smoke of their fires. We had deep-woods Off, but this little gem of a restaurant had tents for shade, and giant outdoor fans to create a gentle breeze to keep the heat and bugs away.


Clark’s team went through lean times, where they were forced to trade for horses and dogs from the Indians to eat, or the river was so dangerous that they had to wait until it subsided before continuing on. We had missed the rain, but the river was racing by full of trees and other obstacles. It wasn’t all hard times, when fruit and berries were in season, Clark and his men enjoyed berry tarts, or Morel mushrooms. Near Jefferson City after the hottest day we found a little place “Prison Brews” with a motif like an old prison. In it they brew some fine beers, but most importantly – make their own root-beer. I had that first.. what a way to start a meal.

A "Prison Brews" root-beer float - root-beer and vanilla ice-cream

A “Prison Brews” root-beer float – root-beer and vanilla ice-cream

They had a fine Stout that Jan enjoyed and my Blue Cheese Burger proved, life in Missouri can be pretty fine.

Blue-cheese burger and delicious slaw - life is good

Blue-cheese burger and delicious slaw – life is good

41 Comments on “dining in the shadow of lewis and clark – cycling, travel”

  1. reocochran says:

    Hey, I checked back and was hoping my bad fingers had not ruined my comment on your last post. Sorry will try to be more careful with fingers on cell phone, Bill. Some typos ensue, even when I try hard not to ๐Ÿ™‚

    • billgncs says:

      Cleveland friends have extra latitude ๐Ÿ™‚

      • reocochran says:

        Thanks, Bill. Glad I learned who is your travel savior riding on her steed to rescue the day. No, I did read Janet drives and helps you when you need to quit. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • reocochran says:

        I liked the prison root beer and ice cream combination, the blue cheese burger and the pulled pork sandwich. I noticed once again, the notation of “30 kegs of spirits” and wonder whether the Lewis and Clark traveling crew would have liked this Margarita. I somehow think they would have loved the iced edges of this sweet and sour beverage, Bill. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • billgncs says:

          You may want to read the book “Undaunted Courage” which recounts their tale – at one point on the river, birds blocked the sun. But back then, spirits were medicinal too.

          And yes, that Margarita was very good – and very cold ๐Ÿ™‚

          One of the things I enjoy of traveling is finding the little places. We stopped once and a nursery near the trail where the owners made home-made pie – so you could get a tree and a piece of pie, though the tree would be hard to fit on the bicycle.

  2. reocochran says:

    My mouth was watering from your descriptions and great photos. Must go raid the fridge at friends’ house where I am cat-sitting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Resa says:

    WoW! You and Jan sure know how to have a great time!

  4. kanzensakura says:

    I adore eating al fresco but the pizza under the tents sounds divine. I do not like root beer but the one person I know who does, makes his own. I did grilled pizzas last summer but my husband did not like them. Amazing to me. I can just imagine the smell of those cooking and mingling with the fanned outside air. BBQ is so different in parts of the US. I grew up with NC style bbq and so am picky. The sticky red sauces that are a little sweet I only like on ribs or beef. If you want to start something, get X and I going about NC bbq, lol. I like smoked meat, period – the smell and taste of it just on its own. I used to travel a lot, for business and pleasure and always enjoyed discovering local places and foods. There is a small restaurant in SW VA that makes the best crab cakes I have ever had…unique and no filler. That sort of thing. Since marrying, we rarely travel as he does not enjoy.

    • billgncs says:

      my wife has a love of travel – and it’s fun to make her happy ๐Ÿ™‚

      • kanzensakura says:

        Well, my sweetie finds other ways – but travel isn’t it. His dad was the same way. He does give me a Christmas gift every year of a week at my favorite hotel at the beach during January. So that says a lot. I love the beach in the hard winter. Never go from April to October.

        • billgncs says:

          Thanksgiving is also nice for the beach. When I was a kid, I recall only one time when we went on a vacation… it’s nice to travel now, that makes it special to me.

          • kanzensakura says:

            I’m sure it does. I don’t know how we did it but somehow, during the summer, we somewhere. usually papa had stay home and work and look after things while we “girs” – grandmother, mom, two aunts – went someplace. It was fun then but now, summer is not my time to travel. Am not a heat person. Love the beach when it snows, walking on the dull sand, watching the snow coming down and the waves just roaring away. I need to post my poem about that on OLN some time.

      • reocochran says:

        You both are so lucky to have each other, Bill! โ™กโ™ก to you both, cycling through all kinds of weather like that old song, “Traveling along singing a song side by side!” I even like how it starts “We ain’t got a barrel of money. . . .” ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. YUM, that last plate looks great Bill! Hey does Jan cycle too? โค
    Diana xo

  6. globalunison says:

    The pizza looks delicious! (:


  7. Chyrel says:

    Wow. I didn’t expect to see all these food in this post. It’s like 3:00 am as of this writing. Now I’m hungry.

  8. cperrington says:

    Great story. That wood oven pizza looks fantastic.

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