I guess the gods of sunshine took pity on us mortals who’ve endured the last year of nonstop political ads and dire covid 19 statistics and blessed us with an absolutely gorgeous day on Saturday. Earl and I didn’t wait for Monday to take advantage of the sunshine and we headed out down south, down South Highway 94 through Defiance, Augusta, and then on to Washington, Missouri.
The first town you come to along Highway 94 South once you pass through the Busch Wildlife area is Defiance. You have to know the story behind the name to appreciate it.
The Parsons House Bed and Breakfast gives the colorful history of Defiance:
Once upon a time, there was a defiant town. It was born before the turn of the century with the arrival of the Katy Railroad in the Femme Osage Valley, St. Charles County, Missouri.The town was as yet unnamed when the Katy Railroad announced plans to lay track through the valley. Matson, two miles south, sought to have a depot and 1000 feet of side track constructed in their village. In order to attract the railroad into stopping, Matson residents cut a road through the ridge above town and the Matson Brothers donated land for a reservoir to provide water for the railroad. Meanwhile settlers back up the road at what was to become Defiance, were also seeking to have a depot and sidetrack with the hope of getting a Post Office with the arrival of the railroad. Despite opposition from the Matson and village residents, the Katy Railroad constructed sidetracks and depots in Defiance and Matson. With the arrival of the railroad, the town needed a name. The town was nearly named Parsons, after the man who owned the land laid out for the town and who was instrumental, along with others in getting the railroad and Post Office. However, because there was already a town called Parsons on the Katy line in Kansas, the name was passed. Several other names including the Missouriton and Bluff City were also passed. Parsons and the other men involved in the settlement decided on the name Defiance because they had succeeded in defying the Matsons by getting the railroad, depot, sidetracts and eventually a Post Office and mail delivery. Now the town of Matson has dwindled to a handful of houses and the mail is delivered to them by a Rural Carrier headquartered at the Post Office in Defiance. Defiance, still far short of a metropolitan area, has grown. The people are far from defiant anymore. Most have forgotten the incident and few recall the cause of the disagreement. Both depots are gone, cattle no longer shipped and trains no longer stop.
Our first stop was Klondike Park. It’s 250 acres of scenic property, featuring more than 4 miles of natural and paved trails for hiking and biking. It was once the site of an old silica sand quarry and because of that, the area surrounding the lake has beautiful white silica beaches. The park contains several trails, one of which leads to the top of the bluff that overlooks the Missouri River and surrounding countryside. You know when you’ve spent so much time with someone, it’s hard to go there and not remember the times you enjoyed with them.
The area along Highway 94 between Defiance and Augusta is dotted with wineries. It seemed like everyone else had the same idea as Earl and I were out enjoying the beautiful November day. The parking lots of the wineries were jammed and cars were parked along the highway when the parking lots at the hiking trails were full.
As we passed a particular winery, we both looked at each other and we knew that we were both thinking the same thing…the last time we were here we were with Kim. Such a good time. Earl was our designated driver so Kim and I got to drink as much wine as we wanted. He didn’t mind because the more wine we enjoyed, the more we made him laugh. He loved seeing Kim and I enjoy spending time together. He said it was because he loved us both and loved seeing us love each other. So there is a lot of bittersweet memories here.
We drove through the little town of Augusta and on to Augusta Bottom Road which runs between the city of Augusta and Highway 47 in the neighboring Franklin County before it crosses the Missouri River. The Katy Trail runs parallel to this road and it feels like you are in another time as there is nothing but bottoms farmland. Portions of the road are not even paved. Our last stop was for lunch in Washington, Missouri. We ate in a bar and grill on Main Street which fronts the Missouri River. We took a short stroll after lunch, and I wasn’t even sure that we should as by now Earl’s hip was beginning to tell him it was time to call it a day. I don’t think I would have noticed this little guy sitting on the tree branch if Earl hadn’t pointed him out to me, so I had to share it with you. So, one more entry, and I will have completed one entire year of posting about our adventures or non-adventures as the case may be. It’s been so fun documenting our excursions and I plan to print the blog posts and put them in book form.
So until next week (or the week after), thanks for reading!