Illinois 2010 – Day 7

Lincoln to Macomb: Sailing, or so it feels

Wednesday May 12, 2010, 93 miles (149 km) – Total so far: 319 miles (514 km)

I set my alarm for 5 am so I can call my husband in Australia. I tell him it’s been stormy but I’ve had some good tailwinds, one day of bad headwind and that I’m having the time of my life. We talk for 15 minutes, then I doze for another hour before turning on the Weather Channel. It’s raining and it doesn’t look like it will clear for some time. So I put on all my rain gear and front pannier covers and then head out. Read more

Illinois 2010 – Day 8

Macomb rest day: Where used books go to die

Thursday May 13, 2010

It storms through the night and into the morning. The weather report sounds dire. There are strong storms predicted for today and roads that I was on yesterday have been closed due to flooding. Roads I plan to use in the next few days are closed. The area near Ft Madison (where I’m heading in a couple days) has had 8-12 inches of rain in the past week. So, with the dire forecast, 92 miles yesterday and the hard-fought 33 miles the day before, I’m ready for a rest day. I check at the front desk and it is fine to stay. Read more

Illinois 2010 – Day 9

Macomb to Nauvoo: Drinking like the locals

Friday May 14, 2010, 59 miles (95 km) – Total so far: 378 miles (609 km)

I’ve planned a way out of town that avoids Hwy 136 (even though it has huge shoulders here). I pass over a river that is flowing right up to the bottom of the bridge (which will flood and close this road a couple days after I pass by). I then have a couple hills to climb. One of these climbs from a river bottom is so steep and long that I have to walk (the bike store owner in town warned me of this). After this, it is fairly flat for awhile, but then there are quite a few gentle descents and climbs in and out of creeks. Read more

Illinois 2010 – Day 10

Nauvoo: A religious and cultural history day

Saturday May 15, 2010, 10 miles (16 km) – Total so far: 388 miles (625 km)

Part of this ride, and consequently the route I’ve chosen, is to reflect on why people emigrate and the hardships people may have encountered in past journeys. What compels a person to leave the security and love of home (refugees excepted!) to take up residence somewhere foreign and unknown? I happily emigrated west for college and immediately felt like Fort Collins, CO was home. My next immigration was considerably more involved and more expensive, and I struggled for more than 6 years to get a life started in Australia. It was a long time before I found a place where I fit in and felt accepted. Read more

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