2007 Bike Trip Diary


June 27, Wednesday


Mileage  47 miles

Started:  10: AM Finished: 5:30 PM

Average MPH: 9.4

Biking Time:  4Hr 51Min

Weather:  Sunny wind 10-20 [out of the North east, temp as high as 93 on my thermometer in the sun.


Started out from home on the way to St Croix Bluffs Regional park. Took 2nd St. to the river, crossed Stone Arch Bridge and got onto the Energy Parkway and got onto Como Ave and into St. Paul.  There was some construction here and there, not causing us too much trouble although we got a little out of our way in St Paul, but eventually got to Warner St., on the Mississippi.  When we got off that and onto Afton Rd., we ran into hills. Lots of hills.  When e got onto Military Road, there was a fair amount of slight, long downhills which was very nice.  We stopped at that one park for a snack and a rest and a bathroom break and when we were ready to leave, John had a flat front tire.  He couldn't find any reason for it, except that one of the old patches may have come loose; except that it was in place when he first saw it.  At any rate he put air back in the tire and on we went.  Since I am riding this one day later, I can state that we got through the whole next day with no problem.


We took a bunch of back roads and turned onto St Croix Trail.  At that point was where we hit the mother of all hills.  Plus it was late in the day.  It was a killer.  We took many 1 minute rests before we got to the top.  Not far from there we go to the St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.  It was a very nice park, we had a very nice site, with water very near by and our own port a potty since there were hardly any people and none wanted to use it anyway.  It was immaculately clean.


We saw a wild turkey on the way into the park.


Money spent today:

     $14.00         campsite.



June 28, Thursday


Mileage:  44.

Started:  8: AM Finished: 3:30 PM

Average MPH: 9.1.  (John) 9.2

Biking Time:  4Hr 46Min

Weather:  Mostly cloudy with the wind in our face most of the time, maybe 5-10 mph., temp 71, but when the sun was shining, it hit 86.


Started out from St. Croix Bluffs and saw that turkey again. We biked the St. Croix Trail, not so hilly anymore and went into Prescott and took 35 going south.  It had a very nice shoulder the entire time we were on it.  That's the only good thing I can say about it.  Terrible hills.  Long, long relatively steep in places, where we were stopping for our 1 minute rests.  It felt like it took an hour to get up and 3 minute to go down.  On one of the hills John hit 41 mph; I hit 32.5, with tears streaming down my face.


We took county k and then 830th Street and that took us across some bridge and onto 63.  The shoulder on 63 was only about 12-24 inches, but we were not on it very long and it took us across the Mississippi and into Red Wing.  We ate lunch there in the shade and got back onto 61/63 which now (on the MN side) had a fabulous shoulder.  The Adventure Cycling map has us frequently off of 63, since it is quite busy, and taking us up into the hills on quiet roads.  We opted to stay on busy 61 with the beautiful wide shoulder and that was either flat or tending downhill.  It was wonderful.


I saw a deer, we saw some gold finches, some soaring birds.


We stopped at Frontenac Station and got some groceries and then biked 4 more miles to our park here at Lake City; Hok-si-la city park on the Mississippi.  It's nice although we do not have a view of the river.  Those sites were taken and there is none here where we are.  We remember what the mosquitoes were like when we went down the Miss., so our tent is up because we are expecting an onslaught of mosquitoes when the sun goes down.


It was just kind of a tiring day today; the second day out (read 2nd day of training) our butts are sore and it was nice to stop early.  We are just planning to take 61 south for a day or two as opposed to following the Adventure Cycling Route.


Money spent today:


     $15.00          campsite

     $11.63          groceries



June 29, Friday


Mileage:  52.

Started:  8:15 AM Finished: 4:15 PM

Average MPH: 9.4

 Biking Time:  5 Hr 23Min

Weather:  Sunny, wind 5-15 out of all directions, sometimes in our face, sometimes pushing us, sometime no wind.  temp 61 starting, noticed a temp of 81 in some city.


Started out from Hok-si-la.  Last night John went out and checked out Hok si la and found out it is a huge park.  There is a mess hall there and many other buildings and we decided that it was perhaps a Church or YMCA type camp at one point in time.   Also John finally figured out that there were no cars there.  They had some carts you could use to transport your stuff, but there were no cars anywhere in all of the many camping areas. We just rode our bikes in as usual and I at least completely missed the fact that there were no cars.  It was quite nice.


I met a guy an his wife from Schaumburg IL who has biked the Chicago to Milwaukee trail.  He gave me his card with cell phone number, so we can call him if we need anything.


As we left the campground (and we did have the entire "A" section to ourselves) and were about to enter onto hwy 61, 2 bikers came by.  They were from Virginia and each had a bob trailer.  They were on their way to Seattle.  I think their names were Dan and Steve.  They had gone 100 miles the night before and were planning to bike all the way to Stillwater to pick up a package.  We biked on and passed another biker, on the other side of the road, name of Steve who was from Boston and was going to Seattle.  We passed probably 2 more and just waved.


John saw 2 woodchucks this morning on his way to the bathroom.  We saw a bald eagle. I got sunburn on my face today.  Not good.  Don't have any aloe, so am slopping lavender + chamomile on it.


The road was a little more hilly today, but basically quite flat.  We stayed on 61 the entire time.  Near the end (at 20 miles) I was getting pretty tired but we just slowed the pace and it worked out well. 


When we got to Winona, the road we were supposed to turn onto to get to the campground was closed for construction, but we found the way there with the help of some very nice people.


And here we are at Prairie Island City Campground.  It is big also and we found out that the non-electric part never fills up.  Tonight we have a pretty close view of the Mississippi.


I should slop some more oil on my face and go to bed.


Money spent today:


     $17.04          camping

     $ 5.00          cash beer

     $ 5.62           snacks

     $ 7.25           dinner


June 30, Saturday


Mileage:  42.4

Started:  8:30 AM Finished: 5:15 PM

Average MPH: 9.5

 Biking Time:  4Hr 20Min

Weather:  Sunny wind 5-15 from all directions; sometimes pushing us, sometimes in our face, sometimes no wind.  temp starting 61, ending temp of 84 on my bike computer in the shade.


Started out going into the city of Winona to see if the library was open and we got there at 9:05; it opened at 9, so we both got a computer.  Before we even got there we saw a cross country biker who had left Bar Harbor Maine and he was headed for Oregon.  His name was Briton. Then we went to the library, then to Super Wal-Mart and then to biking.  It was about 10:30.


We saw a fawn on the side of the road, running into the woods. We saw a couple of beautiful red tail hawks.


Our concern today was that hwy 61, according to all the maps, was to turn into I-90.  We figured that there was no way that they would just do that; that there must be an alternative route; other than the one Adventure Cycling showed us that put on an extra 5 miles going up into the bluffs.  We looked at google maps and it showed that we should be able to get onto Riverside Dr and go away and then it showed that we could turn onto hwy 1, go out of our way a little way and wind up in LaCrescent like we were supposed to.  So we bike and bike and see the sign "next exit I-90 west, in 1 mile".  We keep biking instead of taking the alternate route up into the hills and as we are coming up to I-90 there is this old bike sign showing us a different route, but we take the I-90 route because we're sure there's going to be a road around the corner.  But no.  It says 'entering freeway, no pedestrians, bikers, etc. We're forced off the road, get cut across the grass and are on that strange route that has a bicycle sign on it.  No info, no nothing, just an old bike sign.  The road is good, the shoulder fine, it's flat - what have we got to loose?  It takes us to Riverside Dr! Where we wanted to go. It turns here and there and we just follow the signs and it takes us to a bike trail.  And OLD bike trail and we follow it.  It's flat, the train tracks and the Mississippi are on our left, the freeway we can hear, is on our right, over a burm.  We bike about 4 miles and come to the freeway intersection.  After checking carefully, we see the bike sign, pointing us in an odd place, but by now we're sure they know what they're doing and they take us up onto a busy highway, cross another highway and we're right back on the shoulder of 61 headed to La Crescent!!  Absolutely perfect!  Better than we could ever have imagined.


There was a bad part.  John ran over a huge nail and punctured his tire and his tube in 2 places.  Got that fixed, got back on the highway, found highway 16 that took us to hwy 26 and John got another flat tire.  He  fixed that and now we are in Brownsville.  Actually right outside at the wildcat Landing and campground, right on the Mississippi.  Watching the boaters and the barges.


We did stop at a bar today for hamburgers.  Since we started so late anyway, we decided what the heck?. It was uncommonly good.


Money spent today:


     $12.82          Wal-Mart -fruit aloe

     $13   cash     lunch

     $ 2    cash     Gatorade

     $ 8.90           dinner

     $18.11          camping


July 1, Sunday


Mileage:  56.64

Started:  8: AM Finished: 6: PM

Average MPH: 8.8.

Biking Time:  6Hr 19Min

Weather:  Sunny wind 10-15 out of the southeast, temp 64 in the morning, starting to get muggy. At 7pm my thermometer reads 72.  However that sun is really hot during the day and we're so happy when we are in the shade.


We went up and down some real hills today and my max speed was 34.1; John's 37.6.  I forgot to write previously about the fact that we saw some strange llamas a couple of days ago.(I recalled that because today John pointed out a llama at the top of a big hill that we climbed.)  The unusual ones of which there were 3, were sheared in odd places.  One had his long neck sheared. Then one had his head and neck with fur but parts of his body were sheared.  We thought they were supposed to look like poodles.


We got to watch about 3 towboats pushing barges yesterday.  They are just so cool to watch. So we had a tough day today.....actually Minnie me(PDA) died and now I am back on the 4th of July, finishing the typing.  I can't remember in particular why we had a tough day.  However it probably had to do with the fact that we are constantly fighting a headwind; Iowa does not believe in paved shoulders; or a lot of times in any shoulders at all and there are so many hills and practically mountains around here; it gets very tiring.  It was nice to camp by the Mississippi though.


Money spent today:


     $13.00  cash         lunch

     $10.34                  dinner

     $ 5.00   cash         camp          


July 2, Monday


Mileage:  48.miles

Started:  8: AM Finished: 6: PM

Average MPH: 7.5

Biking Time:  6Hr 31Min

Weather:  Sunny, windy, 15 mph in our face although cloudy today at times.  temp lo 80's, but that sun is so bloomin hot, it feels like 100.  When you have a chance to get in the shade, with the breeze it is quite comfortable.


Today we biked from this weird campground, that had barking dogs in it, and per the advice of the ranger who came by to see that we paid our fee, we took the MRT - the Miss. River Trail, and it's a designated bike way.  He gave us good directions and warned us there would be 2 big hills.  Indeed.  The one was another minimum of 2 miles long and looking back when we were at the top, the grade was 6%.  There was no shoulder when we started out, but once we got to the top there was a nice shoulder that stayed with us all the way to Guttenberg.


We stopped at Guttenberg for lunch and remembered it when we had canoed.  A beautiful city on a beautiful river.


Then we biked on hwy 52, definitely not a bike route; with a paved shoulder here and there.  Otherwise we did bike on the gravel because there was a lot of traffic and quite a few big trucks. 


At Luxemburg we took hwy 136. Road the same difference - no shoulder, but not quite as many cars so we rode on the white line.


With the wind and the hills, I found it to be an extremely tough and long day, so we stayed in a motel at our destination of the day - Dyersville.  John called the bike guy and said we needed 2 tubes and he was kind enough to bring them over to us while we were eating dinner at a local restaurant.


The other day the ranger had told us that on part of our route, they had made our little 2nd class highway and detour for some major road and the ranger strongly recommended that we not bike there.  However the bike guy who brought us the tubes was not impressed with our choice of roads and he gave us some directions for the next day, to shave off some miles.


Money spent today:


     $14.65           grocery

     $47.86           dinner

     $10.   Cash     bike tubes

     $66.08           motel



July 3, Tuesday


Mileage:  48.

Started:  8:15 AM Finished: ?: PM

Average MPH: 8.5

Biking Time:  5 Hr 33 Min

Weather:  Sunny, cloudy, windy, temp 80's but hot.


We followed the biker guy's directions and they turned out to be very nice and helpful.  We went into Farley, then Cascade expecting to find a grocery store since there were quite a few people there; but no grocery store.  So we stopped at some little gas station stores.


Still hilly, but more rolling hills.  We biked through Onslow and then Wyoming and there right in front of our eyes was the library and it was open!  We stopped, it was cool inside.


We biked to Oxford Junction.  They were to have the 4th of July on the 4th of July so we were able to spend the night (FREE!) camped in their city park.  We were the only campers.


As it turned out, there was lightning almost constantly for a while.  I woke up around midnight and had to pee, so I went right outside the tent as opposed to walking a long distance to the port a potty.  I noticed this car that drove by and then stopped, right up on the highway.  And then he shines this huge light on our tent, so I sneak back behind the tent so he can't see me.  He drives by (I thought) and I sneak into the tent.  One minute later a car drives in our campground and it's the sheriff or whomever, wondering if we're ok.  Yes.


Then it started raining, pouring like crazy, and much thunder and lightning.  We got up about 6:15 because the fire fighter guy, who was setting up the fireworks warned us that at 7 AM he was going to shoot off a 4 inch mortar.  We were up and about at 7, saw him come and he was just standing out there.  I wondered why and then at EXACTLY 7 the town siren went off and that was the point where he shot off the mortar  It was loud; so was the siren.  We left shortly after that.


Money spent today:


     $ 3.83           breakfast

     $10.65          lunch

     $ 8.25           grocery

     $ 3.49           grocery

     $ 6.54   cash  grocery



July 4, Wednesday


Mileage:  48.

Started:  8: AM Finished: 3:30 PM

Average MPH: 8.9

Biking Time:  5Hr 19Min

Weather:  Sunny, getting hotter, windy, but today the wind wasn't in our face, sometimes pushing us or quartering us. temp lo 80,s, really muggy, we're talking hot.


We left Oxford Junction and were on a flat stretch!  It was great.  We biked to Lauden (spelling) and about a mile out we could see the flags flying at the cemetery.  It was so awesome.  There must have been at least 50 big American flags.  It was very beautiful.


We biked onward and since it had rained a lot last night, there a water in the fields, and it was slushy once you got off the road.  We passed by these cute little pigs and everyone of them was happy and muddy.  The big sow was laying right in the middle of the biggest mud puddle and you knew she was so contented. They probably were just waiting for this rain.


We ran into 2 bikers going from Boston to Seattle- Mary and Larry.  We stopped and talked for a while.  They told us about this motel in Muscatine where they stayed for $35.


Also today as we were biking, we saw up ahead in the road, something - it turned out to be a mama raccoon and about 5 little raccoons, crossing the road.  So cute.


This was a relatively good day today.  The wind at your back makes life so much easier.  We ran into some hills, but the further we got toward Muscatine, the flatter it got. Except... Those Adventure Cycling people... They routed us for 2 miles on this super hilly road, which wouldn't have been that bad, except they must have just put tar down and our tires just got coated with the stuff.  It's like ground in the tire and will probably be there forever.  It is a real mess.


We are staying at the $35 motel - it's quite nice and as I type this, John is doing the laundry.  We'll have clean clothes tomorrow for probably 15 minutes.  They are saying hot and humid.  Oh well.  John went out to watch fireworks.  He  could see them from the road that the motel was on.


Money spent today:


     $20.00            dinner

     $35.               Motel

     $ 2.29             grocery



July 5, Thursday


Mileage:  52.

Started:  8: AM Finished: 4: PM

Average MPH: 9.7

Biking Time:  5Hr 17Min

Weather:  Sunny, not much wind, and it should be at our back, temp 77 starting.


Started out from the Muskie motel, went a couple blocks down to Aldi to look for food - they opened at 9 so we did not wait and went on. We stopped at some gas stations and they told us there were no grocery stores in our direction. They were right. We crossed the bridge into Illinois and were on our way.  It was pretty flat and it stayed pretty flat.  A few hills, but nothing like Iowa.  The roads are quite nice; some even had a shoulder.


As we were biking along in this huge farmland country; corn as far as the eye can see, we saw what we thought was a car heading our way.  But we saw it for such a long time.  It wasn't moving very fast.  Then a car passed it.  Finally the slow moving vehicle got to us.  It was this little old farmer with gray hair, in his overalls, driving a vehicle that had a John Deere lettering on it; sort of a cross between a little John Deere tractor and a golf cart and it probably went about 10mph.  It was just neat; he waved as we passed by.


Met a biker from Maryland; don't recall his name.  We had lunch at Reynolds, stopped at Sherrard and used the library computer and then biked to our destination of Orion, at the Hillcrest campground.


Illinois reminds me of Nebraska in that quite a few cars wave to us as we pass.


Money spent today:


     $15.70           lunch grocery

     $29.53           dinner grocery

     $10.00  cash   camp



July 6, Friday


Mileage:  41.41

Started:  8:30 AM Finished: 2:30 PM

Average MPH: 9.2

Biking Time:  4Hr 23Min

Weather:  Sunny, no wind, hot and humid.

Started out from that really stupid campground -- Hillcrest Resort.  There was a golf course associated with it, but the campground was so rundown.  There was a pool that couldn't be used.  The place in general was in total disrepair.


I forgot to write about the fireflies.  It's quite neat. When it just starts to get dark, the fireflies come out from the grass and there are beautiful white lights dotting the ground and after a while they fly higher into the air.  It's gorgeous to see.


So we left the campground and went to Cambridge.  We are encountering a few more hills although nothing drastic.  There was a light wind and it seemed to be in our face most of the time.


At Cambridge, we stopped at a city park for a break and this postman stopped by to talk to us because some years ago he and his wife went on a 500 bike trip.  He said it was the best time they ever had and I guess he just wanted to stop by to reminisce.  Actually he said he was jealous.  Next we biked across the street to a library, went back to the park for lunch and then was on our way.


We biked another 18 miles to Kewanee and were lucky enough to wind up exactly where the motel 8 was located.  Since at that first library we were unable to send out any AOL mail, we hopped on our bikes, without BOB (the trailer) and biked to Kewanee's very nice library.  The librarian dude asked us if we knew the guy from Holland and Mary and Larry, since they had all stopped there not too long ago.  Then we stopped at a grocery store, Walgreen’s and a steakhouse restaurant.  Now we're in for the night.  Tomorrow should be a short day (40 miles).


Money spent today:


     $ 4.86            grocery

     $41.50            restaurant

     $29.51            Walgreen’s

     $ 2.51             ice cream

     $60.50             Motel



July 7, Saturday


Mileage:  41.

Started:  7:30 AM Finished: 1: PM

Average MPH: 9.6

Biking Time:  4 Hr 10Min

Weather:  Cloudy, hazy, windy 10-15 out of the south east, temp - hot, predicted high  of 92.


Started out from our motel and it was not as hot as I expected, however very humid.  Shortly after we started, John spotted a fox running across the road.  He was kind enough to sit and watch us as we approached, so I got to see him.


We hit a few little ups and downs, the wind was sometimes with us and sometimes against us; for the most part it was OK.  We did pass a bunch of wind generators that were turning, but we did not get very close to them.


We biked through Osceola, and then Bradford.  We took the wrong turn our of town and we wound up on this excellent road that they had just finished paving and maybe 2 cars passed us in 4 miles. As we got closer to Henry, our destination, I noticed a few less crops and a few more trees.  We were entering the Illinois river valley.  We went down one fairly steep down and shortly thereafter biked into Henry.


We have not set up our tent yet, but we are in the city park, right on the Illinois River. There are bow fishermen here today.  They shoot a special kind of carp.  The one guy we talked to came up from the bayous of LA.  The thing is they go out from 6 pm tonight until noon tomorrow.  They have these megawatt lights on their boat and shine them into the shallow (18-24 inch) water to see the fish.  It's a contest. To see who can get the most fish and/or to see who can get the biggest fish.


Tomorrow we cross the Illinois River  and will obviously have somewhat of a climb; I hope to flat land again.  Tomorrow is supposed to be the hottest day before it starts to cool off.  Perhaps 94.


Money spent today


     $ 5.53           groceries

     $  5.28          groceries

     $16.38           dinner



July 8, Sunday


Mileage:  57.

Started:  7:20 AM Finished: 3:30 PM

Average MPH:  10.4   GOOD DAY!

Biking Time:  5Hr 22Min

Weather:  Sunny, wind 10-20 out of the southeast, temp hot, humid, should reach the low 90's.


Last night we had the bow fishermen going out at 6PM, coming back at noon. HAH! We never found out who won, or how they did, but there were people back and forth all night, with their diesel trucks idling, and talking and just being kind of noisy.


Then in the morning as we were eating breakfast and getting organized I noticed these white geese.  John said that they had been down by the river yesterday.  Well there must have been close to 20 of them, with babies and they started walking our way. Slowly, slowly, they got closer and closer - their objective was to eat the nice looking grass and bugs.  We were closest to the street, so they got within 10 feet of us and then John made some quick movement and scared them all off.


We started off by leaving the river, which means going uphill, we crossed the Illinois River, which was a fairly long bridge and then biked a couple miles before we had to climb out of the river valley.  It wasn't as tough as I thought it would be.  In fact the wind was at our back most of the day and we really moved along.  Most of the roads were quite flat.


By noon we had gone about 40 miles, and stopped at the city park in Cornell and had lunch in the shade and waited until 2 PM to leave, hoping to avoid some of the direct sun.  It was hot, but the wind pushed us, we were on an incredibly nice road for 6 of the 12 miles and got to Odell before 3:30.  We are now camped out at their beautiful city park (for free) and we are the only people here. They left the bathrooms open over at the swimming pool so we are set.


It is still supposed to be in the low 90's tomorrow but we should only have 40 miles to go.


Money spent today:

     $ 6.93           grocery

     $ 4.65           grocery

     $ 5.93           grocery

     $ 2.oo   cash  grocery



July 9, Monday


Mileage: 41.

Started:  7:50 AM Finished: 1: PM

Average MPH: 10.8

Biking Time:  3Hr 47Min

Weather:  Sunny, windy 5- 15 out of the southwest, temp still hot humid, although they said cloudy today.


Started out from the Odell City campground and when taking down the tent found the neatest bug attached to the rope of the tent. It was a cicada and it had molted so the big bug itself was there and the shell that it had come out of.  Went to the grocery store and got a few things as they didn't have a whole lot.


The wind was primarily at our back and the roads were flat and we moved right along.  We stopped at Kempton for lunch in their park and on the way out, there was a store with a neat sculpture so John took a picture of it and a couple of the sides of the buildings where someone had drawn some neat pictures.


Then upon leaving the city we met this young kid (16 maybe) who biked with us for 6 miles until he had to turn  to go to his farm.


We got into Askum early in the day, luckily because I was feeling poorly - the sun, heat, humidity and no bananas today.  We talked to the mayor, the highway patrol, the park and rec guy and a policeman throughout the course of the day.  Also a nice neighbor who said that if there was any problem, we could come over to his house, just across the street.  Later in the day, around 5 or later 2 other bikers showed up.  Dave and Mary.  They were from Delaware but started in Cleveland and are planning to bike to Bellingham, WA.  They are using some of Adventure Cycling routes and made up some of their own.  They want to go through the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone...We had a nice time talking to them.


Just after dark, or maybe around 10 we had quite an electrical storm.  And a ton of rain.


Money spent today:


     $  .               Grocery. From Odell

     $ 3.82           Grocery

     $11.58          lunch

     $ 9.54           dinner




July 10, Tuesday


Mileage:  56

Started:  7:30 AM Finished: 3: PM

Average MPH: 10.8

Biking Time:  5Hr 10Min

Weather:  Sunny, not much wind, still hot and humid.  They are predicting storms this afternoon with strong winds and possible heavy rains, maybe quarter size hail.


Started out from Ashkum, it was a pretty straight shot today.  It got windier as the day went on, but again it was out of the southwest which was great for us.  Most of the roads were good.  We did have one time when we had to turn onto a gravel road! Not good, but to make up for it, there was a port a potty out in the middle of nowhere.  Actually it was probably there because a new house had been constructed and was probably for the workmen.  While we were using it, a train was going down the tracks we were supposed to cross and they were switching cars.  When we got to the tracks, the train stopped.  We were most fortunate that we only had to wait about 1 minute.


We biked into Indiana today and have biked about 16 miles on Hwy 16.  It's a relatively nice road with not a lot of cars.  As we were nearly to our destination, Bob got a flat tire.  John fixed that and we wound up at the Little Creek campground at about 3 PM.  As I type this, it still hasn't rained but it is getting pretty windy.  No threatening clouds or anything, but they are saying that it should be cooler tomorrow.


Money spent today:


     $ 2.00    cash        grocery

     $10.00   cash         camp


July 11, Wednesday to Jos and Michael's


Mileage:  32.

Started:  9: AM Finished: 2: PM

Average MPH: 10.1

Biking Time:  3Hr 19Min

Weather:  Sunny windy, 10-20 out of the northwest, temp 67, cool, not, humid, beautiful.


Started out from the Little Creek campground and took all the county roads that John determined would be good, and we checked on a few as we biked (by looking down the roads) to see if some might be better.  He had made good choices.


We stopped in Wolcott at the park for something to eat, determined that we definitely did not want to travel on hwy 231 and then proceeded out of the city.


Along the way, we saw a HUGE tractor like vehicle spraying something (poisons?) on the soybeans and we waited and waited to be sure that we didn't wind up where he was spraying and when he turned and got far away from us we biked as fast as we could to get past him.  Later on down the road, he passed us as we were resting on the side of the road and it struck me as being a vehicle out of Star Wars.


The wind was most kind and pushed us most of the way; when we were within a mile or 2, Bob got another flat tire.  It turns out that the patch had not held, where John had fixed it before.  It was in a bad spot.  But it held all the way to Jos.


Since they don't believe in marking any of their roads, we missed Northridge Lane, but luckily John noticed we were too far and we went back and tried it again.  Got the right road that time, but couldn't find the house.  It had been about 6 years since we were here last and the trees had grown so much, we had to do some guessing, but eventually found it.


Michael had made an appointment with an optometrist for me and shortly

After we arrived, we drove down there. (I have perhaps not mentioned this before, but either on Sunday or Monday John noticed a [seeming small] bright red mark in the left hand corner of my left eye). The doctor was extremely thorough and the long and the short of it is that I had a conjunctive hemorrhage.  She said I just sort of blew a gasket; this would be cardio-vascular in nature.  Since I don't seem to have any such problems, and although biking in Iowa was really tough, the timing and the duration of that biking didn't seem to fit.  She said a one-time happening of this may be ok, if it happens again be aware that a problem exists. Well John figured it out.  I was smart enough to remember when it happened and he went back and figured out that that was the day we moved that god-awful heavy picnic table and we moved it about 25 feet.  I thought my arms would drop off.  Actually looking back, I am glad I have been doing all of my back exercises because I could have screwed that up.  But instead it was my eye that took the brunt of it.  It never caused me any pain, it is now only quite bloodshot and is continuing to heal. 


Next bike travel day is Sunday.


Money spent today:


     $ 4.88          grocery

     $87.00          optometrist

     $48.73          bike odometer, Bob tire, degreaser and lubricant

     $93.26          Pat-shoes socks

     $27.18          grocery

     $ 8.15           grocery

     $56.69          Don Pablo's lunch

     $76.27          Bottle shop



July 15, Sunday


Mileage:  47.

Started:  8:10 AM Finished: 2:30 PM

Average MPH: 9.1

Biking Time:  5Hr 00Min

Weather:  Sunny, very little wind starting out, but it increased as the day went on, up to 10- 15 out of the north northeast, temp  about 65 starting out and it remained beautiful all day.


Started out from Jos and Michael's home with Sandy David and about the only thing we saw were a couple of red tail hawks and we saw very few cars.  We biked into Wolcott and stopped for lunch at one of their parks.


Shortly after we left there, John spotted 2 deer in a soybean field that we were all able to see before they ran off in the opposite direction.  Shortly after that John spotted 2 cute little fawns by the side of the road that he was able to take a couple pictures of before they ran off.  In that same spot we got to see a couple of goats.


From there we biked to Rensselear and just before we entered the city, we went by a quarry.  Now this was a quarry.  It was probably about 150 feet deep and it was also very wide.  It was a great spectacle, such that we biked across the road to see it better; to see the long twisting roads that went down to the bottom, the loud gurgling stream that was way over on the far side of it, and the great length of the conveyor belts that moved the stones, or gravel.  There was a semi down at the bottom and it looked like it was about 2 inches big.  There were also 2 turkey buzzards that were soaring around down there in the winds.


We entered Rensselear and biked around the city a little, nothing was going on.  As we left the city on hwy 114 we passed the county fairground, where they were having their county fair.  We stopped to watch the horse pull.  They had about 6 teams of (big) horses, 2 horses to a team and they had to pull this big box that they kept putting bricks in, to make it heavier.  The horses seemed pretty jumpy. Two men would take the horses up and quickly hitch them up to this sled thing and then have to get out of the way because they would start pulling immediately.  We could see how someone could easily get hurt, if not killed so we left after a little while.


After a couple of miles we came to our motel, the Knight's Inn.  It's very nice.  We walked next door to a Mexican restaurant and had a good dinner.


Also just as we pulled in, this guy asked us where we were going and he too was a biker.  He had biked the Chicago to Kenosha trail and also this area we biked today and will be biking tomorrow. He knocked on our door after we got settled in and was kind enough to bring us some beer and some maps about our biking route tomorrow.  John had been wondering about some of the roads, so he had a lot of his questions answered.  Now we're all set for tomorrow.


Money spent today:


     $57.30               Motel

     $33.36               Dinner  



July 16, Monday


Mileage:  45.

Started:  7:45 AM Finished: 1:30 PM

Average MPH: 10.5

Biking Time:  4 Hr 12Min

Weather:  Sunny, no wind to start, but it came up slowly and as the day went on, got up to maybe 10mph out of the west southwest.  Temp was 65 to start and it as supposed to get to about 87.  It did seem hotter today than yesterday, definitely more humid.  Sandy talked to Greg as he was driving from Lafayette to Watertown and he said it was raining in Rockford.  There is a 60% chance of rain tonight.


Started out from the Knight's Inn and traveled on a pretty busy road for a mile or 2 and then turned off to your run of the mill county road with very little traffic.  Saw some more red tail hawks.  We saw one hawk sitting on a wire, with 2 small birds right by him, they were all resting, like they all needed a time out for a minute.


We did see a big dead turkey vulture.  It was right near a dead raccoon.  We think it was probably eating on the dead raccoon when somebody hit it.  Other than that, we didn't see much wildlife. 


We had a few periods early on when we would run into civilizations - homes and more cars, but the majority of our trip was on quiet roads.  Then toward the end it started to get a little hilly and we started entering the city of Merrillville.  We were on some very busy roads, very little shoulder and near the end there was a sidewalk, that we began biking on.  From there John had a very nice route through the city that was mostly untraveled by cars, so we had a quiet, leisurely last mile to our motel.  The Red Roof Inn.  There seemed to be about a million people here, in our motel.


Tomorrow - Chicago.


Money spent today:


     $13.74            groceries

     $82.35            dinner

     $74.36            Red Roof Inn



July 17, Tuesday


Mileage :42 miles

Started: 8 AM   Finished:3:30  PM

Average: 9.4

Biking Time: 4 hr  25 min

Weather: Cloudy to start and we heard a chance of rain.  We did go through about 20 minutes of rain and sat under a shelter for about an hour while it rained.  The wind wasn't too bad, mostly pushing us.  Toward the end of the day it started getting sunny and humid.


Started out from the Red Roof Inn and biked about 3 miles to the start of the Erie Lackawanna Trail.  The biking was pretty stress free as John picked some really good streets and/or we were on sidewalks for a while.


When we got to the start of the trail, there was a guy there and John checked with him about the trail to confirm where we would get off and any construction or whatever, and everything was as it should be.  It was a very nice trail (but no port a potties - there were cornfields however).  As we were biking another guy came up to talk to us and he too confirmed all the stuff that John might have in question.


We had to leave the trail for a while (not yet completed) and the route through the city to return to the trail was unusually nice.  We biked into Hammond, Indiana.  This was the area where it just started to rain as we came upon a really nice park and we got under the picnic shelter just in time.  After a while we thought it wouldn't stop raining so we put on our rain jackets and off we went.


We probably went about 3-4 miles and got stopped at a light.  It had stopped raining and I was getting hot.  It just so happened that a funeral was going by so we couldn't cross the road and this was the longest funeral ever.  So we all took off our rain jackets and got organized because that funeral procession had to have been at least 10 minutes.


We essentially got back on the trail; it ended, we biked on a nice route in the city to find the next trail.  Found that trail, biked 7-10 miles till that trail ended (the Burnham Green Trail) and then wound up where we weren't sure to go.  John had an idea, but there was another biker who was coming up, so he gave us a slightly different route.  We started out on his route and then we picked up John's route and there right in front of us were bike signs showing us the way to the lakefront trail.  It was like 4 miles and we even had bike lanes to bike in!!  Once we got a little lost and stopped to look at the maps and this one guy yells at us from the car "just go 2 more blocks and turn right on 85th St).  Just amazing , everyone is so nice.


We did in fact find the Lakefront Trail and it was so nice. So beautiful.  You could sometimes take the trail or like take the scenic route. Both were wonderful.  This is just a whole other world with the cars zipping by, but we and the pedestrians are on this fantastic trail with signs telling us where to go and flowers and Lake Michigan.  We all loved it. With John leading the way we had very little trouble, still biking, finding the route to get near to the hostel.  As we got nearer to the Loop, there is this vast amount of land that is only for walkers and bikers with wonderful signage, so we got to the streets and only had to go 3-4 blocks and that wasn't even too bad.


Checked into the hostel.  They couldn't find our reservation and so we wound up in a room for 4 (as we were supposed to) but we're in a handicap room which means we have our own bathroom and shower!  Did we luck out or what?


We walked down from our room to find something to eat and then went to Millennium Park, a part of Grant Park.  This place is unbelievable.  The sculptures, that egg thing, everything hands-on.  I would explain it if I could, but we listened to the concierge try to explain it and couldn't figure out what he was talking about.  It is fantastic.  After viewing all this incredible stuff, we crossed the busy street on this amazing bridge, only for walkers and went to where there is this big movie screen and there was a free movie - "Young Frankenstein" the screen was out in a field of grass.


While we waited for the movie to start, I noticed some music in the next area, about a block or 2 away and there was this way cool fountain (Buckingham Fountain) and the music seemed to go with the water moving shooting up in the fountain.  By the time we got there, the music stopped, but the fountain was still lovely.  We sat down on a bench and waited and waited to see if the music would start but it didn't.  So we walked back to the movie.  While we were at the movie we looked back and saw that the music had started again at the fountain.   Well too bad, we were all so tired so we went back to our hostel room.


I must add that all this stuff is free (not our room for sleeping).  But the area for this stuff is huge and there are so many people of every race, color and creed you can think of and everyone is just walking around enjoying all the beauty that is everywhere around here.


Money spent today:


     $214.62         hostel for 2 nights

     $  Sandy paid for dinner


July 18, Wednesday



Started           Finished:


Biking Time:

Weather: Rainy to start, then cloudy, then sunny, some wind, cool at first but getting hot and humid as day went on.


Started out from the hostel at 8:25 so we could zip down to the camera shop at 8:30 so Sandy could get a camera; which she did.  Then we went back to the room to get rid of the camera box and the cords and all the paraphernalia, went almost out the door - it was raining.  We walked back up to our room, got our rain jackets on and then really left.  We were too early to take the free trolley so we walked down to the Aquarium.  Saw the aquarium, it was nice but by the time we left the noise level was so loud you couldn't hear yourself think.  We did eat lunch there and then walked a short distance to the planetarium.  Also very nice and we saw 2 different shows.


From the planetarium we walked outside and there was the free trolley so we sprinted about half a block and got on. This was about 3pm or so.  We had to go to the end on that trolley, walk 2 blocks, get on another trolley and took that to the end, got off and then walked 2 more blocks to the Hancock Building to go up to the observation tower.  Way cool.  It was still somewhat cloudy and we couldn't see very far off into Lake Michigan, but it was way neat.


From there we ran out of the Hancock Building so we could get the last trolley to take us home.  We were going to the Navy Pier, and then to the fireworks and the free concert tonight, but Sandy reminded us that we are leaving tomorrow and we had to do the wash and pack and eat and sleep.  So we went home (Ate first).


It is raining and thundering now, so unfortunately they won't have the fireworks.  But it was a really full day; it was great fun.  Chicago is great.  Tomorrow we bike out of Chicago.  Next time we stop here, we need more time as there is a plethora of stuff to do.


Money spent today:


     $ 150.                Admission tickets

     $ 15.00           for the extra show

     $ 25.54           lunch

     $58.33            Dinner



July 19, Thursday


Mileage: 60 miles

Started : 8 AM    Finished: 5 PM

Average: 9.3

Biking Time: 6 hr 26 min

Weather: Cloudy, humid, some wind starting out, 30 % chance of rain, but fog up at about the 28th floor of the higher buildings. Temp. - 65.


Started out from the Hostel and stayed on the sidewalks and biked slowly the couple of blocks to Michigan Ave and then across the pedestrian and bike friendly area to our bike path.  There were many people out biking and many walkers.  We went under a couple of bridges, and it seemed around and through and whatever it took to move onward.  The lake was always to our immediate right.  After maybe 9 miles the Lakefront trail ended.  At that point there were signs for a couple of different other trails.  John consulted our Blommer book that had the route that we would be taking from that point up to Milwaukee. This guy, Peter Blommer did an excellent job on mapping and the very specific write up on how to get through all of these cities. So between the book, the bike signs and arrows and the helpful people we made our way through.  It was so slow going because of the stoplights and all the traffic.


Our first big city was Evanston, a beautiful place, we were all impressed with how great it was.  Further on we came to Northwestern University and biked through their campus.  They were doing construction after we got a ways in so we really got to see the campus because we had to bike all over to try to find the correct street to get out of there.  Some of the other cities we went through were Winnetka, Wilmette, Glencoe and Waukegan.  We were on a railroad right of way, with the real railroad on our left so we stopped at the rail station at Glencoe and ate our lunch.  There were hardwood floors in there; it was beautiful.


We went by the Great Lakes Naval Station and then got onto a gravel trail.  It was getting quite windy say 10-20 from the northeast.  We were lucky however because there was foliage all around and sometimes over our trail and we were not affected by the wind.


However, about 10 miles down the road we were on a wide open trail and it was terrible.  The wind picked up, apparently there was a front going through.  John carried my panniers because I could barely move forward.


We were on and off trails; for a while.  We were on hwy 32 which had a nice shoulder and it was good biking there. Somewhat further on we crossed into Wisconsin.


When we got into Kenosha we had to bike through the city but there were some bike signs in the city and we had the Blommer book.  It's a nice city to bike in.  We were so excited to see our motel - the Best Western.  It was a long hard windy day.


Money spent today:


     $82.84             Dinner

     $121.56           Best Western



July 20, Friday


Mileage: 48 miles

Started: 7:25 AM    Finished: 2:30 PM

Average: 9.7

Biking Time: 4hr 54min

Weather: Sunny, windy, temp. 55 degrees starting out.  A beautiful morning.


Started out from the Best Western, going through the city to get to the trail.  It was a gravel trail and in places they had laid way too much gravel and like for areas of 100 feet it would be really tough going.


The day seemed to go quickly and in short time (lunch time) we were in the Milwaukee area having lunch on the Oak Leaf Trail, in one of the parks overlooking Lake Michigan.  We stayed on trails for a while and then started taking some roads through the city.  Again, they were pretty nice roads. The drivers were courteous and there weren't that many cars. 


We thought there might be a problem at the very end of the day when we had to bike on hwy 100.  However we followed our GPS which suggested we turn at a particular street; then we got a little lost, took out the Milwaukee Bike Map and it showed us exactly where to go for the last 5 blocks and got us to hwy. 100; which did have a sidewalk. But we did have to cross the hwy.  It wasn't totally impossible but it was darn hard.  There were so many cars. Luckily we were able to stop in the middle of the highway; then all these cars would come up by us and want to turn to.  At any rate it was pretty tricky but we got across. 


We checked into the Day's Inn and John got a car because we were going out to Terry and Kristie Kurtenbach's house, our friends from New Hope. But I wanted to say that by the time we left the motel there were even more cars on 100 and even more cars wanting to turn and we would have had a heck of a time crossing that road.


We drove out to Terry and Kristie's and had the greatest time.  We even got to visit and pet their llamas. We visited till shortly after dark (got served steak on the grill - yum) and then drove back to our motel.  It was a good day.


Money spent today:


     $98.84            Day's Inn

     $31.48            car rental

     $ 8.05             groceries     



July 21, Saturday


Mileage: 54 miles

Started: 8:45 AM   Finished: 4 PM

Average: 10.8 !

Biking Time: 4 hr  58 min

Weather: Sunny, windy, but the wind was at our back,  temp. Just nice out.


Started out from the Day's Inn, got on the sidewalk on hwy 100 and biked a couple of blocks, turned onto a good biking road and after 2 miles got on the Berlin Trail.  An extremely nice blacktop trail with many bikers and walkers.


After about 9 miles that ended and took us to Waukesha, where we biked through the city without any problem to find the Glacial Drumlin Trail.  The first 14+ Miles were paved and again it was really nice with many bikers and some bladers.  They did require that you purchase an annual ticket or daily for $4 each; which we did.


All this time Sandy had been calling Greg and the plan was that he would drive to county road N and then bike from there to meet us.  We just happened to meet at a resting area with a bathroom and picnic tables so we had lunch together and then all biked back to county N. This part of the trail was crushed gravel; the road part was ok but the weeds were growing onto the trail.  We did see some herons and a hawk and a turtle.


After we got to county trunk N Greg put his bike in the car and he took my panniers and Sandy's panniers so we made record time for the last 10 miles.  That evening Pat’s other brother Dick had a cookout for us - hamburgers and corn on the cob and potatoes and vegetables, all great.


Sunday we will still be in Watertown, organizing our stuff, buying some groceries and cutting tree limbs on the farm.


On Monday we start back for Mpls.


Money spent today:


     $20.00   cash          Grocery    

      $12.00   cash         biking fee

      $ 2.00    cash     can't remember

                what it was for.



July 22, Sunday




Money spent today:


     $55.46             groceries

     $36.32              groceries




July 23, Monday


Mileage:  53

Started:  8:30 AM   Finished:  4PM

Average: 10.4

Biking Time: 5 hr

Weather:  Sunny, nice, Sw winds 5-15, We should be going North and West, high should be 82.

We left Watertown and got to hwy 19, which was quite flat and had a nice shoulder.  After we left 19 the roads got somewhat hilly.  We stopped for lunch in Columbus.  We traveled on Hwy 16 for almost 20 miles.  There was a 2 foot shoulder on the highway and a lot of traffic in Columbus.  After Columbus the traffic died down.


There was a strange elevation on Hwy 16 a ways out of Columbus.  There was a slow rise in elevation, up to almost 1000 feet according to the GPS.  Then we started gradually going down to about 700 feet.


The sun was hot and we stopped at a shady wayside in the afternoon for a nap.  I was getting pretty tired as we neared the end of the biking day.  We camped just before Portage at the Pride of America Campground.  It sucked.  It cost $33.78 and you had to pay to use the showers.


We did see 2 adult and 2 baby sand hill cranes in a mowed grassy field.  They weren’t at all concerned that we were watching them.  And we also did get a ride in a golf cart today, to check out which campsite we might want.


Money spent today:

     $33.78             camping



July 24, Tuesday


Mileage:  61

Started : 8 AM   Finished : 4 PM

Average:  9.3

Biking Time:  6hr 26min

Weather:  Mostly cloudy upon leaving, no wind, temp 65 degrees.


We left Pride of America and went through Portage.  We had to cross the Wisconsin River and we were on the bridge, which had a nice shoulder for bikers so John stopped to take some pictures.  As I was standing there you could feel the bridge bounce every time a big truck would go over.  When 2 big trucks would go over it was even worse.  We got off the bridge and turned onto Levee Road which is an old, very little used road for cars.  It was also flat.  We went perhaps 10 miles on there and then turned to go through the Leopold Reserve.  Very beautiful, but very hilly.  We saw 2 bluebirds, and 3 mink.


From there we turned to go to Reedsburg on some major hills.  I was having a terrible time, couldn’t even keep up at all with John going down the hills. We stopped at the first park in Reedsburg for lunch.  The sun was very hot and there was quite a wind in our face, when we were on the open road.  Of course when we stopped to eat there was no wind to be seen.  When we started to leave, I checked my tires and I had a flat.  No wonder I couldn’t coast down those hills very well, not to mention going up.  Biking was much easier with air in the tires.


We got onto the 400 Trail, a nice flat trail and we passed a guy (he was going the opposite way we were) who was from Rochester and going to Chicago.  We didn’t get to Elroy till after 5.  We were going to stay at the free campground, which didn’t have any water.  However when we got to the base of the hill, leading to the campground, I biked up a short ways to see what it said.  The free campground cost $14, they did have water and it was at the top of this mega hill which I was totally unable to bike up. So we back tracked a mile and stayed at a city park.  There was only one other guy there; a very nice guy in a camper.  After the Pride of America campground, this place was fantastic; almost deserted.


In the evening we heard coyotes calling and those sand hill cranes making their funny noises.  It was awesome.


Money spent today:


     $ 5.90              suntan lotion

     $11.02              dinner

     $13.51              groceries


July 25, Wednesday


Mileage:  53

Started :  8 AM    Finished : 4 PM

Average:  9.6

Biking Time:  5hr 26min

Weather:  Sunny, hot, slight wind.


We got back onto the Elroy Sparta trail and noticed that it was mostly uphill from the cities until you got to the tunnels.  After leaving the tunnels there was a noticeable downhill.  When we were heading toward the third tunnel we lucked out and started going downhill even before we got to the tunnel and actually didn’t even have to pedal through the last and longest tunnel which was ¾ of a mile long.  We just sort of coasted and braked.  Then it was downhill all the way to Sparta.  Loved it.


From Sparta we picked up the Lacrosse Trail.  This was mostly in the sun.  A lot of the Elroy Sparta Trail was in the shade.  We camped at the Veteran Memorial Campground right on the LaCrosse River.  It was quite nice.


Money spent today:


     $30.00            trail pass

     $15.50              camping

     $ 3.70              tire patch kit


July 26, Thursday


Mileage : 62

Started : 8 AM  Finished : 4 PM

Average : 10.5

Biking time : 5hr 43min

Weather: Hot, humid, no wind


We left the Veteran’s Memorial Campground, got back onto the Lacrosse trail and luckily we had a fair amount of shade.  We also saw quite a few local bikers on this trail.  From there we got onto the Great River Trail.  It was neat because we went on this long bridge through a swampy area.  It was just a very nice trail.  We took it to the very end and it took us to hwy 35 which had a wonderful shoulder.  We saw many herons, egrets, and even a bald eagle. 


We biked into Alma, got some food and then biked a mile or 2 more to the city of Alma – park, where we camped.  There were not very many people and the sky was looking dark after we got there.  We got the tent up, John put the tarp up over the picnic table and it did rain.  Actually it poured.  The rain came so hard that it literally made a little lake where our feet were sitting.  The tent faired ok, no water got in it.  But the wind would be blowing, gusting out of the west, with the rain just pelting us and John would pull that side of the tarp down.  Then it would completely change directions and be blowing and gusting from the east.  Strangest thing I have ever seen.  It rained on and off all night but not so ferociously.


John stopped to talk to some of the other campers about finding a campsite on Friday and heard that there was not one reservation to be had in the state of Wisconsin.  That theory was confirmed when at 7 AM on Friday morning, a camper pulled into the campground we were at, to get a site.  None of these sites could be reserved and the lady from the Alma City Hall had told John that they filled up every weekend.  I guess she was right.


 July 27, Friday


Mileage: 46

Started: 8 Am      Finished: 3:45 PM

Average: 9.

Biking Time 4hr 40min 

Weather: Cloudy, wind out of the northwest, temp.- cool.


Tried to leave the campground but first I hadn’t attached my rack pack and that fell off; then I changed gears and my chain fell off.  John put that back on.  Then we were just about to go up this small but slightly hill and John’s derailleur cable broke.  Luckily he had the tools to fix and a spare cable!  It worked.  So now it’s 9 AM, we’re about ready to leave and the GPS batteries die; nothing too bad, it just takes a minute to change them, but you get the picture.  We do get out of there, bike about 1 mile and John’s walkie talkie flies off his camel back strap onto the highway.  I saw it hit the road so I stopped to pick it up and it was ok.  After that our day got better.


We were done riding on trails now, we were on the highway; but the shoulders were good with usually not too many cars.  Some areas were flat and some were super hilly.  For a lot of the time we went along the Mississippi and the scenery was gorgeous.  There was one area, going into Bay City that was a long stretch going uphill -  maybe a mile.  But we were rewarded with a 3 mile downhill right into Bay City.


The wind was out of the north, so there was less humidity.


John had called around in one of the cities we biked through for a motel to stay in for Friday night.  He found a place in Red Wing.  So we wound up going into Red Wing on the same highway and over the same bridge as when we first began the trip.  It didn’t seem as bad this time; the shoulder was quite narrow and there were a lot of cars, but I guess I was used to it.


We made it into Red Wing, found out motel, got settled in.  Then we biked a couple blocks back to town and had dinner at Appleby’s.


     Money spent toady:


     $64.61                 motel

     $43.13                 dinner


July 28, Saturday


Mileage: 48

Started  7:15 AM       Finished: 2 PM

Average: ?

Biking Time: ?

Weather: Sunny, windy, temp. – nice out


Started out from out motel and traveled on Hwy 61, with a very nice shoulder.  We were climbing out of the Cannon River Valley so we had some long gradual ups. John picked the route back and it was great because we turned from Hwy 61 onto Hwy 316 and this road had an even bigger shoulder than the one we were on, plus a lot of it was downhill.  Then we picked up Hwy 61 again and that took us into Hastings – we would have to cross the Mississippi again and we started going downhill through almost the whole city of Hastings before we even got to the bridge.  There was a lot of traffic and the bridge did have a sidewalk so we got on the sidewalk.  This was a long bridge and about ¾ of the way across it, another biker was coming toward us.  We just stopped and let him go by because there was not much room.


Once we got across, we had to climb out of the river valley again and then John started recognizing the names of the roads, because we had biked there a couple of times before (I barely remembered them).  We were doing good until we got to our main road – Military Road because it was closed for construction.  However, John checked the map and got us exactly where we had to be, plus we avoided the really big hills that we would have had to climb, had we taken the route we were supposed to.  It all turned out fine.  We made it back to Tracey’s house by 2PM, where our van was waiting for us, and we drove home.


This seemed to me to be a harder trip than any of our previous trips.  It was well worth the effort to wind up biking through Chicago.  That was so awesome; I had the best time there and then the trip all the way to Milwaukee. Biking along Lake Michigan in Milwaukee was also very beautiful. It was also great to visit Jos and Michael.  It was a good vacation and we were happy that Sandy could bike with us for part of it.