Iowa 2010 – Day 11

Nauvoo, IL to Farmington, IA: A friendly Iowan welcome

Sunday May 16, 2010, 39 miles (62 km) – Total so far: 427 miles (687 km)

The light rain overnight turns to continuous rain as I pack up. I head out around 7:30 and ride in now-driving rain all the way to Niota. I’ve got to pedal east and uphill out of Nauvoo, then turn north to get to a bridge over the Mississippi to Fort Madision, IA. There’s little traffic going my direction, but a decent amount heading into Nauvoo (for church?). Read more

Iowa 2010 – Day 12

Indian Lake Park to Lacey-Keosaqua State Park: Some real ‘trail magic’

Monday May 17, 2010, 21 miles (33 km) – Total so far: 448 miles (721 km)

It rained and rained – all night long from 8:30 pm. It is still raining at 7:30am, but seems to have eased off a bit. I’m not ready to face the rain yet again, and I’m not planning on going far today, so I lie there until about 8:30am. I slowly begin to pack up and once everything is in the panniers, I take them over to a covered picnic table area and then drag my tent over there, too. I slowly pack up and eventually leave around 10am. Read more

Iowa 2010 – Day 13

Lacey-Keosaqua State Park to Lake Wapello State Park: Sun, oh glorious sun!

Tuesday May 18, 2010, 43 miles (69 km) – Total so far: 490 miles (789 km)

Oh, this is a glorious day. Sunny, high of 71 degrees, and a light north wind at about 5 mph. I get an early start – up at 6 and on the road by 7:20am. It’s a beautiful, shady, but COLD downhill through trees to the river and the site where the Mormons crossed on their way west. Read more

Iowa 2010 – Day 14

Lake Wapello State Park to Lamoni: Still following the Mormons

Wednesday May 19, 2010, 98 miles (157 km) – Total so far: 588 miles (947 km)

Whoo hoo! As a reward for the uphill slog on the way in at the end of the day yesterday, I fly down the hills out of the park in the morning. It’s curvy, pretty fast (26 mph) and I use both lanes to corner. The final bit of the hill has a great run-out so I get some early morning thrills. Then it’s up that huge hill – but I just gear down and spin and it’s fine. I hook back up with J3T and I’m heading west once again. I will cross the Mormon Trail or ride along the Mormon trace many times today. The official auto tourist route is down on Hwy 2, but it seems much of the actual trail and trace are along my route today. Read more

Iowa 2010 – Day 15

Lamoni to Clarinda: Ode to the spray of an oncoming cattle truck on a wet day

Thursday May 20, 2010, 70 miles (113 km) – Total so far: 658 miles (1,059 km)

Cold. Wet. Pruned. That’s how I end the day. When my alarm goes off at 5am to start the day though, I’m warm, comfy and dry after a good night’s sleep. I get through to my husband (it’s 9 pm there) and we talk for 10 or so minutes before I go back to sleep until 7. The Weather Channel forecast indicates a 90 percent chance of rain. High of 54. I’m getting used to this now, though. I get a good day of quartering tailwind, then the following day is rainy. Read more

Iowa 2010 – Day 16

Clarinda to Waubonsie State Park: Into the loess hills

Friday May 21, 2010, 41 miles (65 km) – Total so far: 699 miles (1,125 km)

Dead. Absolutely dead. The legs did not want to come out and play today. The normal first 20 minutes of hurt lasted all day today, even though it was a short day. The wind wasn’t really a factor but climbing the hills still took a while. Traffic was pretty light to Shenandoah. It lies a couple miles off of Hwy 2, so I didn’t go into town. There were periods of light and heavier traffic between Shenandoah and Sidney, and I continued to experience Murphy’s Law of Hills. You can ride a flat section for 10 minutes and not have a single car pass you, but as soon as you start up a hill with no shoulder and a ‘No Passing Zone’, you’ll get several cars that will pass you. In addition, cars will come in bunches, usually in multiples of three. I have no scientific way to prove these things, but the anecdotal evidence is strong. I’ve noticed this on other days, but it occurred quite a few times today. Read more

Iowa 2010 – Day 17

Waubonsie State Park: A natural history day

Saturday May 22, 2010

I’m awake at eight and take off on the trails soon after. It’s supposed to be quite hot and windy today, so I’d like to get in some hiking before the heat and humidity become unpleasant. I hike through valleys with big trees and along the ridges, down through the Girl Scout camp the park has recently annexed and through pleasant picnic areas. Even though the campground is crowded I have the trails all to myself. Read more