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Category: The Road

Day 1: Sabula to Prophetstown

Day 1: Sabula to Prophetstown

We left midmorning from Esme’s parents’ home and headed out in Iowa bound to cross the Mississippi River into Illinois.  Out over the hills of gravel roads in upper Eastern Iowa.  Across the Mississippi… And hopping on the trail system in Savannah Illinois.  And ended up at Prophetstown after some fifty odd miles.  Cost of a campsite was $10 with shower, picnic table, fire ring, bathrooms, and water.  The temperatures dropped into the lower forties, but we stayed warm in…

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Day 2: Prophetstown to somewhere on the Hennipin Canal

Day 2: Prophetstown to somewhere on the Hennipin Canal

We packed up in the cold during our first morning on the road.  We made some plain oatmeal mixed with ten year old instant packets, Esmé and I choked it down, filled our water bottles, and hit the road to intersect with the Hennipin Canal. Lots of gravel today… Some paved roads… We passed through the birth place of Ronald Reagan and ate some Casey’s gas station pizza (Esme’s favorite) and a left over beer (my favorite) for lunch while…

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Day 3: Canal and on to Wyoming, Illinois

Day 3: Canal and on to Wyoming, Illinois

Surviving the vault toilets and onslaught of mosquitos at dusk we woke at dawn and prepared some breakfast in the dew laden grass. Many more miles of trailway was ahead of us and after about ten miles the gravel path had been paved.   Lots of walnuts on the path… Which required a dismount or precision navigation.  We left the trail for expediencies sake and headed straight South in an attempt to make up the miles lost to gravel trails…

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Day 4: Wyoming to Jubilee College State Park

Day 4: Wyoming to Jubilee College State Park

We decided to spend part of the morning going through our bags and deciding if there were things to be sent back. For one, because we brought too much stuff, and for reason two, we were moving slow.  We stopped on Wyoming around noon with a large bag of things to mail home… Boots, sweater, extra bike parts, and a few other odds and ends.  After unloading a few pounds for a few bucks at the post office we connected…

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Day 5: Jubalee College State Park to Havana, Illinois

Day 5: Jubalee College State Park to Havana, Illinois

We woke in there night to thunder claps and bright flashes of lightning.  The rain had started about the time we’d gone to bed but having looked at the forecast we’d covered everything we wanted to keep dry with the 6′ x 8′ tarpaulin sheet we’d been carrying. In hind sight, we really needed an 8 x 10 or 10x 12 sheet.  When there was a break in the storm we jumped out of the tent and hurried to make…

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Day 6: A day off in Havana, Illinois

Day 6: A day off in Havana, Illinois

Today was Esme’s birthday. We went out for breakfast / lunch at the local diner which has some really poor quality from-a-can food.  I ordered the ruben sandwich as a treat to myself and it came out looking like this. I took a bite and didn’t even get any meat. For $7, I felt I should get some meat in every bite.  I felt like a jerk, but seven dollars is worth refusing the sandwich.  She returned a bit later…

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Day 8: Into the wind to Greenfield, Illinois

Day 8: Into the wind to Greenfield, Illinois

We woke early to strong South headwinds and cold temperatures in the mid-fifties.  We packed up quickly and headed to the office expecting a breakfast buffet only to learn that last weekend was the end of the buffets for the season…  So we pedaled on into the wind for over an hour until we reached the town of Jacksonville, Illinois where the city was holding a parade in the town’s honor.  The town had a town square surrounded by a…

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Day 9: Greenfield to the Route 66 KOA near St. Louis

Day 9: Greenfield to the Route 66 KOA near St. Louis

Well, the fee guy never showed up, so we got a freebie last night and headed out around eight thirty in the morning.  The winds were still on our faces as we headed South but I held out hope we could pull off a seventy mile day to end up at our friends’ house in St Louis.  We stopped in the town of Kemper, Illinois around 10am and took a break on the porch of their town hall. One of…

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Day 10: The KOA to St. Louis

Day 10: The KOA to St. Louis

We got up late and bummed around. We only had about twenty miles to Rick and Dena’s place where we were staying.  So we packed up our things and hit the road I drank the last beer left over from the night before while we pedaled again a twenty plus mile an hour wind.  We came to a bridge crossing the river and in the middle the crosswinds were so bad they broke my hat off and nearly knocked me…

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Day 11: Touring St. Louis

Day 11: Touring St. Louis

During the final stages of preparation when we were preparing to leave from Iowa I noticed my front wheel was not spinning freely. A good pull on the wheel would produce two to three revolutions.  I was expecting more in the neighborhood of a dozen turns. The drag of the dynamo hub was excessive and something was clearly wrong. I didn’t want to delay our departure so I emailed the manufacturer, Shutter Precision, in Taiwan regarding a warranty replacement. We…

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