Day 25 June 1, 2018 Red Wing, MN to Minneapolis, MN

Today would be our last day of riding with all the new friends we have made.  It is bitter sweet to have the journey end, but the friends and memories made will last a lifetime.  For the first time we began riding with the temperature 66, finally we have found some cool weather.  Day was partly cloudy and at times looked like rain, but again we were dry when we got to Minneapolis.  We left the motel as a group all wearing our ABB jerseys and retraced our ride back over the Mississippi into WI and back to WI-35.  The leadriders rode quickly from the motel and I found my legs were not quite ready to maintain that speed.  It was nice when Keith came up along side and put his hand on my back and pushed me along for about 50 feet.  It gave me the energy I needed.  Our ride was 61.5 miles with 2,652 feet of climbing, several long steady climbs of 6-8%.  Total miles riden on this journey 1,780.

Once on Wi-35 we were riding with the ever changing Mississippi River on our left and the dense green bluffs on the right.  Sometimes we would see a limestone table high on the bluff formed years ago by the river.  After passing through Prescott we crossed the Mississippi River and were in Minnesota.  We had our SAG stop just after crossing the river along its shore.  Here we regrouped and had our final group picture.  We continued our ride on St Croix Trail, a beautiful residential area with farmlands scattered throughout.  Since several areas of our original route were washed out due to the heavy spring snowfall and recent rains we had to find an alternate way.  Jeff, our leader on the 2014 cross country trip and the prior leader on the Mississippi ride, volunteered to mark a new route for us.  He lives in Minneapolis and was able to gain access to previously  closed roads due to a rock slide and concrete on pavement due to work on a bridge.  His markings safely guided us into Minneapolis and safely to our motel.  It was an emotional ride for me.  After arthroscopic surgery in late January I worked extremely hard (physical therapy, exercises and short bike rides) to be able to do this ride.  What helped me through the difficult climbs and the long days were all the people, my angels, that I was doing this ride for.  I hope they received my energy as I received theirs.  Thank you for sharing in my journey.  It was nice to sleep in my bed last night.

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Leaving Red Wing. Our last ride together.

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The group quickly spread out.

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Barn in foreground; Bluff behind it

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For sale – Christmas trees

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Freshly plowed field

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Grade of the road

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Beautiful long descent that went on for a mile.

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Dairy farm

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Cows being put into separate fenced areas. Interesting to watch as I rode by.

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Another ribbon candy road.

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Crossing Mississippi just after passing through Prescott

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Bike path crossing the river and bringing us into Minnesota

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ONe final photo of our group

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Beginning our 7 mile ride on St Croix Trail, another beautiful country road

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Freshly planted corn fields; it has been interesting to see the different heights of the corn crop as we pedaled north.

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Not sure what is planted here but found the farm interesting.

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Another field of corn; sky is beginning to clear up.

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I never got tired of riding by the farms and barns, but still loved the red barns best.

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Another cemetery 

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The irises that lined the road were just gorgeous 

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This is the  largest silo (partially hidden behind tree on right) I have ever seen.

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Looks like toilet paper on the road but it is a “plastic” sheet covering fresh tar.  Grateful to not have tar splattering up on our bikes.  This went on for a mile.

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Getting close – my first look at roads leading into Minneapolis

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Loopy foot bridge for pedestrians and bikers.  

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Fun to ride on

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Bridge crossing freeway; would connnect to another spiral down ramp just like the one we had climbed.

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Crossing the Mississippi to continue on bike path

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Bike path that ran parallel to the river

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Debris washed up on shore

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Barges waiting to be loaded for trip down the Mississippi

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A welcome sight

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View of St. Paul and the Mississippi 

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How close we were to the river.  Taking it all in. 

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Not an uncommon sight – train next to the river.  Goods traveled by rails and barges

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Noticed that there would always be at least five barges long and three barges wide that were pushed down or up the river.

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Bike pathway 

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Continuing on the bike path that would leads us to motel.

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Bike path bridge across the train tracks 

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Bike bridge

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End of bike path for a while

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Rock slide has closed this road.  We were given permission to ride through.  To ride around the detoure would have been a difficult climb up the bluffs.  We were grateful that we could ride through.  

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You can see the rock slide on left which has been partially cleaned up

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This is the bridge that concrete had been removed from.  The concrete was blocking the road.  They had just cleaned road the day before to make it passable.  We were lucky once again.

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View of bridge

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Orange containers all along the road marking washed out areas

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Ferry on the Mississippi.  Interesting to follow as we rode by.

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Bike path

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Crossing the Mississippi for the last time

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Bike path next to freeway across the Mississippi.

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Cynthia and I safely at the motel.  Even though our journey together has come to an end our friendship will continue.

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Day 24 May 31, 2018 La Crosse, WI to Red Wing, MN

We had 102 miles to do today so we had breakfast at 6:15 and loaded luggage at 7.  We were on the road by 7:05.  Temperature was a comfortable 68 with partly sunny skies.  It would climb to 95 as the day went on.  We all hoped it would be a rain free day, but several times the clouds looked like storm clouds.  We were lucky once again and escaped the rain.  We rode on HWY 35 for 90 miles – on the right were bluffs and on the left the Mississippi ( sometimes hidden from view) and railroad tracks.  The views were spectacular.  Since you did not have to worry about turns you could get lost in the beauty around you.  When riding next to a train, you definitely get into a rhythm with the clickity-clack of the wheels on the rails.  We passed through several small towns.  Stockton had only a population of 66, but they served the best pie. Several riders stopped but because I was the last rider (taking picture slows me down) I did not stop.  I had already been riding for 7 plus hours and I wanted to get to the motel. I choose my pie time to stop at a science overlook of the Mississippi where channels and the river were merging.  Gabe had been the sweep today so he rode behind me giving me my own space, but as I told him it was nice to know someone was there.  After the third SAG he was free to ride the rest of the ride.  Melissa who did the SAG said she would follow me in the van till I got to the motel.  I told her to wait a little bit becaus we had a steep hill (8% for the beginning of the two mile climb and then it gradually tampered off to 6%).  Being mile 90 made it challenging since we would be climbing on tired legs.  To not focus on the climb as I pedalled I counted to 248, one number for each pedal stroke.  I repeated this until I reached the top.  It was an emotional release when I reached the top for at that point  I knew I would be able to finish every mile.  Tomorrow would be our final day of riding. I sang “Climb every mountain … as I made the descent.  Since the descent was so steep it was the first time today that you did not have to pedal the descent due to the strong head wind that we had all day.  The bridge that crossed the Mississippi to bring us into Minnesota was under construction.  The worker stopped the traffic after I had passed on the right side and let the left side go through.  I had a full lane to myself for most of the crossing.  I was able to take several pictures as I crossed the river and then I was in Minnesota, our final state.  I missed a turn onto Main St. but found our motel.  Instead of riding my bike into the motel, I walked my bike down a steep grassy hill.  It was so good to get there.  We had a celebratory dinner where we received our certificates for completing the Great Mississippi River Ride. When I received my certificate Pam not only commented that we had ridden together in 2014, but that I was not only the oldest woman on the tour, but the oldest person.  I am  proud of my accomplishment, but at the same time I was embarrassed. Thanks for all your comments.  See you soon.  Thanks for sharing my journey with me.

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Riding on the bike path when we left La Crosse

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Henderson bike and pedestrian bridge

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First look at channel that would flow into Mississippi

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Leaving as a group from La Crosse

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Wheat field

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Barn that captured my attention

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Grain silos

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Storm clouds

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Golf any one? Only second course I saw.

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Bluffs in the distance

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Ernie a.friend from San Diego

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Mississippi River

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Love the patterns on the barns

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First lock and dam we saw

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Power plant

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Train went by while viewing lock and damm. First time I saw crossing guards

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Second lock and dam; lock is in foreground

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Channel

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Bluff

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How muddy the rivers become after rains

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Channel beginning to merge into Mississippi

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This area was flooded with overflow from MIssissippi

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Bridge over Mississippi

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Construction by the bridge

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Looking down from bridge

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Minnesota begins at the end of the bridge

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Safely at the motel – 102.5 miles

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Storm clouds at the end of the ride.

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Day 23 May 30, 2018 Prairie du Chien, WI to LaCrosse, WI

Other than the extreme heat we have been very lucky weather wise.  Our luck ran out today.  Twelve miles into our ride the skies opened up.  At first it was a gentle rain, but than it poured.  I stopped and put my camera and phone in plastic bags and put my rain resistant jacket on.  I decided not to bring my waterproof jacket because I would be too warm.  A mistake because I was quickly soaked.  Air temperature was warm enough that I did not get cold.  When rain came temperature dropped from 73 to 63 and then climbed to 69.  Some riders pulled off but Cynthia and I kept riding.  Once you are wet you can’t get any wetter, only colder.  There was no lightning or thunder.  We actually were able to ride ahead of the storm, but it took twenty miles and a SAG stop to do it. The last thirty miles of the ride were done with the threat of rain the entire way, but we made it to the motel before the next deluge came.  Thirty minutes ago we had another heavy down pour.  Received notification that there could be flooding due to the rain.

It was only 66 miles today; short ride and had looked forward to catching up on blog and post card writing, but with the rain that all changed.  On coming into motel I cleaned my bike; it is amazing how dirty it gets.  Than I had to stuff newspapers in my shoes to pull moisture out and help the shoes dry.   Then my bike bag had to be emptied and everything laid out to dry even though I had most things in plastic bags.    Shower and hanging up wet clothes came next.  After shower I put my legs up the wall and fell asleep.  Finally I am writing my blog.

Temperature was 68 in the morning.  It promised to be a much cooler day than the past several ones.  We all looked forward to that.   We left the motel in a group and quickly spread out.  For a while I rode with Mike, Barbara, Susan, and Cynthia.  When the rains came Cynthia and I rode on.  My clothing as well as my biking gloves were soaked.  I chanced getting camera wet to take photos of the first Lock and Dam, and then of the Mississippi.  After I took these photos I put my camera away because I did not want to get it wet and not be able to take any more pictures.  Finally in La Crosse I took a photo of the La Crosse train station. 48 years ago I had been in La Crosse visiting my sister Nancy while she was at the university there.

Even though I only rode 66 miles I was really tired when I finally got off my bike.  Without the rain it would have been a beautiful ride.  It still was a good ride, but with few photos to show it.  We rode next to the river for 55 miles.  The color of the river filters over into everything around it.  Tomorrow we ride  102 miles. I hope it is a sunny day.  Tomorrow night we have our celebration dinner (last dinner all of us will be together) and then on Friday we ride to Minneapolis, our tenth straight day of riding.  It will be hard saying good bye to new friends that I have made.  Thanks for sharing in my journey.  Total miles riden to date: 1616 miles.  Miss you.

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Leaving Prairie du Chien

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Our first view of the Mississippi.

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Notice threatening clouds in sky.

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Farm – corn in the foreground and calves where corn ends. Beautiful farm

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Lock and Dam – First of two that I would see today. Lock is behind bush on left.

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View of the Mississippi in between rain showers.     

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View of the Mississippi in between rain showers

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View of the Mississippi in between rain showers

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La Crosse train station

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Safely at motel. What a day! Cleaned my bike before photo was taken.

Day 22 May 29, 2018 Galena, IL to Prairie du Chien, WS

Beautiful ride today.  73 miles with 4,012 feet of climbing.  Temperature was 70 when I began at 7:00 but by 10 it was 87 and noon it was 95.  Glad we started early in the morning to beat the heat.  It makes a big difference in how I feel.  Yesterday the heat took so much out of me I could not wait to get to the motel.  It is amazing what a difference a day makes on how you ride.  Today I could have kept riding – loved the scenery and the rollers.  At mile 10 we crossed into our 8th state, Wisconsin.  Today was a day of climbing – rollers where one ended another began from mile 1 to 73. Two had a 15% grade and the others were 6%.  The descents made up for all the effort you put into climbing the roller.  The farms in Wisconsin are awesome which made my riding so pleasant.  Because it was so clear you could see for miles.  I could not get enough of the beauty.  When we were not surrounded by farms, we were in a lush tree area.  Roads were good.  We took a lot of county roads – made our way through the alphabet. County Road P was the worst – no shade, and a steady climb of 4%  that went on for about 4 miles.  Looking for the descent but when we reached the top we turned left.  It would be a few more miles before we had a steep descent.  Descents were wonderful because they provided a cool breeze that blew the sweat off your arms and face.  But most importantly it keep the gnats off of you.  The gnats have been very annoying- they are in your face as you are climbing and if your mouth is open they fly in (guess a little extra protein never hurts), they are all over you when you slow down to get a drink and they love it when you stop.  They attack everyone.   Insect repellent does not stop them.
We passed several fields where cows were grazing, if there was water nearby they would be standing in it.  I even saw a bull hump a cow.  Speedy.  Purple flowers grew along the roadside.  For people that know about my connection to the violet flame they understand how I was able to draw energy from them.
I felt strong today and the miles went by quickly.  It is hard to believe that we only have three more rides.  Time has gone by quickly, but seems like a long time since I have seen family and friends.

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How our day began – rollers.

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10 miles down the road Michael is ringing the cow bell letting us know we were now in Wisconsin.

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One of the many red barns I saw today

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Patchwork

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The rollers continue

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Cows are feeding 

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Group of farms. In the background are veal crates.

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Dickeyville – home of the grotto

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Grotto at Holy Ghost Church made out of shells.

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Statue of Jefferson

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Honoring Columbus discovering America in 1492

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We rode on this beautiful treee lined road.

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A stream – only saw a few until we crossed the Wisconsin River at the end of the day.

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Bluff along road

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A mile long descent

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Dairy Cows that Wisconsin is noted for.

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Another example of the roads we rode on today.

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For Leslie – a party silo

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Sign indicates a steep descent – most were a half mile to a mile long. Sweat and gnats were history. Nice cool breeze

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People were fishing in this creek. Can’t see but cows were coming down a steep path to the left of river. Figured if the cows could make it down I could make it up.

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Cows cooling off in the creek

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Another red barn

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Threatening clouds – we escaped the rains again.

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Beautiful trees that were on the ridge

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Trees like this made the view spectacular.

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Overflow from the Wisconsin River

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Wisconsin River 

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Wisconsin River on the other side of road flowing into the Mississippi River

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Safely at motel after a great ride.  Now for a chocolate milk.

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Day 19 May 26, 2018 Keokuk, MO to Galesburg, IL

It would be a long ride today and it promised to be another hot day.  I heard that Chicago area would be having similar weather.  Happy to hear summer has arrived.   I did not sleep well last night – was awake every hour – bathroom trips, thunder and lightening and anxiety about sleeping through my alarm.  Breakfast was at 6:30 and load would be at 7.  I got up at 5:15 to make sure I did my exercises and stretches before the ride.  I had to pack up a few last minute things and then would take my luggage down early  and then my bike.  Being on the 4th floor and the elevator being slow I knew it would take some time.  After breakfast I pumped up my tires and was ready to go with 10 minutes to spare.

The ride was 98 miles with 2,130 feet of climbing. During the night thunder and lightening storms passed through Keokuk which cleared out the humidity – at least for the morning.  Temperature was 70 in am but rose quickly through the morning to 95 by noon and 103 by three.  By 9:00 my arms glistened with sweat.  We had little shade again.

We left Keokuk at 7:05 as a group. Our day began by retracing our ride over the bridge connecting Keokuk to Illinois. The river looked beautiful in the early sunlight.  For !2 miles we rode next to the river.

At mile 4 a male and female cardinal flew in front of me.  I knew it would be a good day. Then we turned away from the lake and headed toward Nauvoo.  Here we saw the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.  After we left Nauvoo we were once again surrounded by agricultural fields.  We saw fields of soybeans, corn and wheat. The difference from yesterday was that the farms were smaller and we saw more farmhouses and barns because of this.  We also saw cows and several baby calves.  The miles passed quickly even as the temperature rose.  Was riding with Cynthia and MIchael.  Our ride ended in Galesburg where at mile 94 we went off route and rode to Kastle Kreme  where I had a chocolate milk shake.  It tasted so good and just what I needed.  Afterwards rode the last four miles to Country Inn motel.  Had to clean my bike since the roads were wet when we left Keokuk and mud had splattered up.
It was a great ride.  The heat is taking a lot out of all of us.  I keep drinking water to replenish all the fluids I lost today.  Miss you.  Will finish putting in the photos tomorrow.  I am tired and sleep is what I need.
It is nice to be riding a bike through all these communities seeing how they celebrate Memorial Day.  Flags are sometimes along the road, some have special displays in their front yards, yard sales in Roseville, all the cemeteries have flags honoring the veterans and my favorite is a lemonade stand in Roseville.  It is a beautiful display of patriotism.
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Lock and Dam 19 in Keokuk, Iowa

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Dam is in the back ground

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Just missed seeing the barge come through the lock as we were leaving Keokuk.

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Looking back at Keokuk as we rode across the bridge

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Once in Illinois we rode next to the River for several miles. Notice tree branches washed up near shore.  Saw many branches floating in the river.

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Construction – at least no detour;  right lane was being redone

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View of Mississippi

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Road we rode on; unfortunately shade did not reach us.

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Train moving behind plant; barges waiting to be filled in front.

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Rain puddles left from previous night’s rain.

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View of river

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Turtle I spotted in middle of road; we rescued it.

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Cynthia returning the turtle close to the river

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Nauvoo Illinois Temple – The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints

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Prophets last ride

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Field of corn

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Piggy back train cars in back corn and soybean fields in the front.

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Beautiful contrast of the greens against the cloudless blue sky

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Rounds of hay along the roadside,

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Barn for farm machinery

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Just liked this photo

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Cows with their baby calves.

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Lemonade stand – bought strawberry – orange lemonade – it was delicious.

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In Roseville yard sales were part of the Memorial Day Weekend tradition.   Photo op!

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Water tower in Roseville

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Remembering the veterans in Roseville

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Corn field – loved the clouds

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Road we were on

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All barns should be red.

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Liked this barn even though it was not red.

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Gabe marking the end of the 4 mile detour. We were getting closer…

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Left the route for ice cream at Kastle Kreme

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Safely at the motel in Galesburg

Day 18, 2018 May 25, 2018 Hannibal, MO to Keokuk, IA

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend.  Glad summer has arrived in Chicago.              Had another great day of riding.  62 miles in 4 hours 35 minutes. 1,650 feet of climbing which is nothing compared to what has been and what is still to come.  Temperature went from 70 to 93 (probably the pavement temperature radiating up). Humidity was comfortable.  Little shade but once again beautiful and lush scenery with plenty of corn fields.  Total miles ridden: 1228 – getting closer each day to Minneapolis.

When I reflect on the day the morning seems so long ago that it is hard to remember but… Looking at my photos brings it all back.  The ride out of Hannibal was up a hill – surprise surprise.  We began as a group but quickly spread out.  We immediately crossed over the Mississippi and then got onto Interstate 72 for 1.7 miles.  Once there is a frontage road we had to leave the interstate.  Rode on IL 57 for 9 miles on our way to Quincy.  Just outside Quincy we rode through a very cold area for two blocks – a strange phenomenon – the temperature just dropped. Cannot explain it but it sure felt good.  Saw the sign for Lock 21 and Dam so Cynthia and I went off route to see it.    Traffic was heavy on IL 57 and so was glad when we got onto Bonansinga which was right next to the Mississippi.  We were next to the river for the next 10 miles and returned to the river just outside Warsaw where we saw Canadian geese in the river.  While away from the river we rode through beautiful vistas of corn fields.  Because it was so clear you could see for miles. It was amazing.  After Warsaw we would be crossing the Mississippi for the last time today and ride into Iowa.  When the roads are open and very little rollers you get to think a lot.  It is nice to have that special quiet time.  Tomorrow is another long day 93 miles so will say good night.  Miss you.

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We began and ended our day by crossing the Mississippi River..

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Bridge across Mississippi

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View from the bridge

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Looking back at Hannibal, MO

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Welcome to Illinois

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Limestone caves

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Brr it is cold – this section of the road temperature dropped 20 degrees (85 to 65).  Strange phenomenon.  

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Cynthia and I went off route to see the Lock and Dam.

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Riding by Mississippi River on way to Dam and Lock

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The dam; Lock is on the upper left.

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Barge in foreground is getting ready to go through the Lock

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Looking away from Dam and seeing the Quincy Memorial Bridge

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Rectangular “pipe” in background connects to the Mississippi where soybeans, corn and wheat can be loaded on barges.

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Beginning at the plant the rectangular pipe line carries soybeans, corn and wheat to Mississippi to be loaded onto barges.

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Welcome to Quincy

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Going to our SAG stop we ran into a road closure. In turning around these three engines past us by blowing their horns.

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Quincy Memorial Bridge

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Train cars waiting to be loaded. Across from SAG stop

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Miles and miles of corn fields. The vistas were breathtaking. Never got tired of seeing them.  

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When I stopped to take a picture a snake was slithering across the creek. It quickly disappeared into brush on the right. It was cool. I had never seen a snake moving in water.

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Road we were on was straight as an arrow for many miles.

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Another field of corn.

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First time I have ever seen a brick silo. About five miles down the road I saw another one.

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First fenced in farm

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Welcome to Warsaw

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Canadian geese in the Mississippi River

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At Ursa Farmers Cole-Op we had a sharp right turn and then a 12% grade hill to climb before reaching the town of Warsaw.

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Cynthia coming up the hill

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Leaving Warsaw we got caught behind a truck spreading gravel on the road. A police car followed closed behind truck. Unfortunately when we approached them we had to climb a steep hill. So just pedaled up slowly after getting to the top I had an opportunity to pass and I put my head down and pedaled hard. Cynthia was still caught behind the truck.

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Limestone Quarry

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Crossing the Mississippi one last time today.

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Protected bike and pedestrian walk way

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Keoluk, Iowa

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Welcome to Iowa

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Safely at the motel in Keokuk, IA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 17. May 24, 2018 Louisiana, MO to Hannibal, MO

Today would be a short day – 38.8 miles with only 1,121 feet of climbing, mostly rollers.  We had to be shuttled to breakfast so we went in shifts.  I was in the first shift with breakfast at 7.  When we returned to motel we loaded our luggage and then were on our way.  We had a steep climb immediately  followed by rollers the rest of the way.  Scenery was green and lush.  My knee bothered me at the end of yesterday so I really focused on my up stroke while pedaling today.  It helped a lot. Cynthia and I made it to the motel in little less than three hours.  It was nice to check in early.  Cynthia and I had lunch and then went on a Mark Twain tour – very interesting.  I came back early and rested and then had to take my bike to mechanics since I was having trouble with the shifting again.  Michael did an amazing job.  Shifting is so smooth now.  Days are going quickly – we have only 8 more days of riding and then we will be in Minneapolis.  MIss you.  Sending you warmer temperatures.

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Leaving our motel we were welcomed back into Missouri.

44718481-7E6E-4A7A-AA75-E5945E36463E

Passed a log processing plant. Fragrance of burning logs lingered in the air for about 1/2 mile.

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Here we go again – rollers – ribbon candy

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Creek

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Straight road

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Turning onto the interstate – Avenue of the Saints

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Missed this turn off the interstate – Beaver Rd. was an unmarked exit.  Cynthia called to me so only went. .1 mile too far.  Thank heaven for friends.

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New London where we had our SAG stop

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Ralls County Courthouse built in 1858

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Nice reflections – creek

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Another creek

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Final descent into Hannibal

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Blue lake

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Welcome to Hannibal

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The end of a short ride.

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Tom Sawyer’s Fence

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Becky Thatcher’s Homes 

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Tom and Huck

Day 16 May23, 2018 St. Louis, MO to Louisiana, MO

110.5 miles in 8 hours 43 minutes under sunny skies.  Climbed 1,83 feet with two climbs being 15%.  We would be crossing the Mississippi River twice and taking a short ferry ride to cross the Illinois River.  Scenery was beautiful and varied.  Leaving St. Louis we rode on the Gateway Arch Trail.  We continued on this trail as its name changed to Riverfront Trail.  It was the closest we have ridden next to the Mississippi.  Riding as a group we left the beautiful city of St. Louis taking one last look at the Arch and headed north through industrial areas.  After riding 50 plus miles next to the MIssissippi we were out into the country surrounded by fields of corn, soybean, and occasionally wheat.  The variety of the scenery helped the miles go by faster.  It was a long day and I was really tired.  Got in and immediately had to go to dinner.  Bedtime came quickly why I finished the blog today.  Enjoy the photos. Miss you.

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Riding next to Jefferson National Park as we rode out of St. Louis.

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One final look at the Arch

 

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Riding under a rail bridge

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Continuing on Riverfront Trail. Several murals would appear as we rode along this wall, but no graffiti.

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Huge scrap metal facility. Saw several while approaching and leaving St. Louis.

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Barge filled with coal.

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Trains being another mode of transportation to carry goods to and from St. Louis

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Storage containers

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View of Mississippi River from bike path – river is high.

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Overflow from Mississippi River.

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Bike path

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Route 66

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Route 66 Bike stand

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Riding across the bridge

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Riding across the bridge

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Route 66 – Chain of Rocks Bridge- no cars allowed.

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Light house

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Open to your thoughts on the function of this building.

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Channel for barges during the area where Mississippi was shallow.

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This barge passed under Route 66 bridge while we were riding across. We passed it on the bike path. Barge was moving at 3-4 mph where as we were pedaling at 14-15 mph

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Gravel bike path – not my favorite

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Channel joining with the Mississippi River

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For every intersection on this section of the bike path we had to get off and walk our bikes through the gates on each side of the road.

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On left flood waters has washed out area beneath the bike path.

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Did not stop us.

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1 0f 27 locks we will see on way to Minneapolis – Melvin Price Lock and Dam

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Bridge over MIssissippi from Missouri to Alton, Il

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Piaso – wings in red, head can be faintly seen on the right

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Legend of the Piaso

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Caves that are now off limits to visitors

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Steam boat

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Piaso River

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Bluffs along the bike path.

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Loading of the ferry that would take us across the Illinois River.

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I thought tracker was big, but it was really big.S

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St. Mary’s Cemetery

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Detour we had to take because Batchtown road was impassable.

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Flood waters from the Mississippi on Water St in Humble, IL

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Quilt pattern on barn. Second one I saw today

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1 0f 27 locks we will see on way to Minneapolis. Melvin Price Lock

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Crossing the Mississippi one final time today.

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Safely arrived in Louisiana, MO

 

 

 

 

Day 14 May 21, 2018 Ste. Genevieve, MO to St. Louis, MO

Day began with temperature of 67 and  storm threatening clouds.  Plastic bags were passed out to protect phones and cameras.  Load was at 7:00. Most of us were on the road by 7:10.  We had 80 miles with 5000 feet of climbing.  The rollers (hills) began immediately and would not end until we got to St. Louis.  I have tried to capture what the ride was like through my photos.  We ran into a drizzle for about 15 minutes so I put my camera away.  Finally I got my camera out and starting taking pictures again.  Rain threatened all day but once again we were lucky and missed all the rain that was around us.  The ride was beautiful and challenging.  When one hill ended another began.  Rode with Cynthia most of the day.  Tremendous sense of accomplishment when we pulled into the Drury hotel in St. Louis.  The hotel was two blocks from Busch Stadium, a block from the Arch, and across the street from the Court House where the Dred Scott Decision was made and years later overturned by the Supreme Court of Missouri.   Great location.  Tomorrow, May 22 would be a rest day and so would see and do as much as I could.  The Cardinals played the Royals last night so after dinner I walked down to the stadium and watched a little of the game from the outside.  I was in the right place when a home run was hit;  fireworks followed.  I was so tired I then went back to the hotel and went to sleep. Finishing blog was postponed till today.  It was another great day.  Days are passing quickly.  Tomorrow we begin the final stretch to Minneapolis.  Miss you.  Thanks for all your comments – they mean so much.

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Load at 7:00. Notice clouds.

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The hills began immediately.

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First photo after the light drizzle – loved this vista.

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Sky is still threatening.

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Another flat – how many people does it take to change a flat?  Just your friends!

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Drop off is ahead

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Trying to capture the rollers.

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We rode over I-55.

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Behind the next curve was another roller.

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Size of horse caught my attention.

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Donkeys

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Loved the bird houses

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A burned out field of corn. Discovered this helped nutrients return quicker to the soil.

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Yellow flowers lined the road.

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Smiley Face House

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Fishing off the bridge with a bow instead of a rod.

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Muddy creek

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Top of a 1.8 mile 7% grade climb.  At the bottom of a six mile descent from this climb a cardinal was sitting in the middle of a wire crossing the road.  I waved and said “Hi Dad”.

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Sweat drenched me after the 1.8 mile climb. My heart was beating fast.

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The treat of storms is still with us.

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River on the county line just outside St. Louis

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Puzzle caught my attentions.

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Gargoyle on the corners of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery

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Anheuser-Busch provided the money for the bike lane. It was nice to be away from the traffic.

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Church passed coming into St. Louis

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First good view of the Arch as I rode my bike into St. Louis

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The Court House is in the back ground.

 

Day 13 May 20, 2018 Cape Giradeau, MO to St. Genevieve, MO

We got to sleep in an extra hour this morning since breakfast did not open till 7:00.  Bill and Daun came down at breakfast to say good bye.  They will be driving back to New Orleans on Monday to pick up their van and then head back to Tucson, AZ.  They plan on staying an extra day at Cape Griadeau for Bill’s pain to settle down.  It will take them 9 hours to get back to New Orleans where as it took us 12 days to get to Cape Giradeau.  Bags were loaded at 8:00 and then we were off.  We had blue skies and temperature of 72.  High would be 87.  It would be another day of trying to out bike the rain.  There was a 40% chance of rain in the afternoon.  Today at mile 51.3 we would reach the half way point in our journey from New Orleans to Minneapolis.  Photo opp.  Our ride today would be 71 miles with 2,990 feet of climbing.  Climbing would be rolling hills, where one hill ended another would begin.  Three were very challenging – climbing 600 ft with 8-10% grade.  The climbs took us to the top of a ridge where we rode shorter but more frequent rollers.  The vistas were beautiful, mostly consisting of fields and farm houses.  These vistas would be perfect for jigsaw puzzles.

Shortly after we left our motel we began to ride on a bike path.  I am sure all of us were thinking about Bill and his accident yesterday on the bike path.  We were all very careful.  We crossed over three wooden bridges.  Trees formed a canopy over us.  The only scary part was when we exited the bike path at 3.7 miles and the exit ramp was covered in mud.  I carefully rode my bike through it ( had to clean it after ride today) while others walked and got their shoes muddy.  All made it safely through it.  Shortly after that the rollers began and would go on until mile 44.  If you know what ribbon candy looks like that is how the road appeared today.  We had great descents.  My climbing legs are coming back.  Was able to climb standing up for 75% of the rollers.  Iced my knee when I got in my room.  Knee is holding up.  Tomorrow will be the big test – 80 miles with 5000 feet of climbing – must remember to just focus on one roller at a time.  After the 44 miles of rollers we had 15 miles of flat roads surrounded by crop fields on both sides of the road.  You see how a farmer has little control over what the weather gives him.  Freshly planted fields were flooded.  As I rode by I hoped that the crops would survive.  Yellow flowers lined the road in several areas.  The last 10 miles were rollers.  Once again we climbed to the top of a ridge and rode up there and then down again.  For a short distance the road ran parallel to a train track.  There were three tough climbs but soon we were pulling into the motel’s parking lot.   Three of us then rode down to the historic section of St. Genevieve and while there had a chocolate shake.  It was a hard ride today but I felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished.  Once again I called on my angels to help me through the steep climbs.  Sometimes I counted to 248 and other times I just said a litany of names.   Enjoy your comments.  Miss you.

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Wooden bridge on bike path. There would be two more.

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Bridge we rode under.

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Found the sharp of barn interesting.  All the barns I saw had a similar shap.

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Road we rode on. Still damp from previous night’s rain.

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Turned around to go back and take photo of two cows in creek, but van came along and scared them.

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Interesting…

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Bend in the road brought field of yellow flowers into sight.

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One of the descents.

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Creek is muddy from over night rains.

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Town where we had our first SAG stop – Brazeau

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Blacksmith shop in Brazeau

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Green vista on the left of road …

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Brown vista on the right side of the road.

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Muddy river from previous night rains. Water level is high.

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Yellow flowers in the overflow from the river.

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Another river – only a few rivers are named with signs

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Last steep descent from the ridge. Caution was taken as we crossed the railroad tracks.

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Welcome flat road.

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Church with cemetery on side and in back.

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The front that we were trying to out bike – We succeeded

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Halfway point

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A church in the middle of no where.

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Train bridge over river

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Starting to climb again

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Another train bridge

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For Leslie – a party silo.

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We rode parallel to the train track – notice single track.

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Flooded field

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Safely at motel

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Oldest Brick House west of the Mississippi located in historic St. Genevieve

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Southern Hotel in St. Genevieve.