Wineries along the Katy Trail

Alan Scher Zagier of the Associated Press recently wrote

The 19th century German settlers who saw visions of the Rhineland in the rolling Missouri hills likely didn't anticipate the more modern voyagers who flock to these parts: Spandex-wearing, energy-bar-chowing cyclists lured by a 236-mile rails-to-trails path - the nation's longest.

What they instead discovered was fertile farmland ideal for growing grapes while hardy enough to endure the extremes of Missouri weather.

For Katy Trail riders, the abundance of wineries in what before Prohibition was the nation's second-largest wine-producing region makes for a memorable two-wheeled vacation.

An added bonus for bicycling history buffs: much of the trail parallels the Missouri River and covers ground first explored more than 200 years ago by frontier pioneers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.