Hill after Hill after Hill……….. (in Wisconsin and Iowa)
September 25, 2015 – Day 22
Bagley, WI to Dubuque, IA – 70 miles Total Miles – 1,398
Weather – 75 degrees, sunny and light breeze, beautiful fall day
Wow – what can I say I think we started climbing hills as soon as we left the campground. We spent the day bicycling in southwest Wisconsin and if anyone is looking for a good place to train for hills I highly recommended this area.
The route put us a bit away from the river and on various county roads and highways, unfortunately Hwy 35 the Great River Road with the nice shoulder and less steep grades which we traveled from Prescott down to Prairie du Chen – ended in Prairie. The roads were in pretty good shape and low traffic volume which made the ride a bit easier, but still the hills were a bear!!
The route took us through some really pretty areas and the bluffs and valleys of the driftless area. Of course we had to come up the bluffs and then down into the valleys – many of the down hills were great but then we had to climb back out again. We actually had to push the bicycle up one section – we were climbing a big hill and came around the corner and it kicked up again we just did not have the legs to climb the second part – bummer!! It is actually lots of work to push the bike up a hill and we try to bicycle up as much as possible.
We finally made it to Dubuque, IA and had to cross the Hwy 61/151/35/11 bridge over the Mississippi – unfortunately you can not ride on the road and have top take the sidewalk across – which is too narrow and requires us to push the bike across the 2 miles. Although it felt good to walk a bit!! We came into Dubuque right at rush hour and the traffic on the bridge and going up to where our nephew lived was intense and added a tough end to our already long day.
We were spending the night at our nephew Daniel and his wife Christin’s house- of course they live at the top of a hill – so up we went only to get lost trying to find their apartment. We finally found it and Daniel told us he was following us on the Tracker and was like don’t go that way and wished he had our phone number to help us out!! We finally got there, cleaned up, went out to dinner and spent a nice evening chatting. They were gracious hosts and warmly welcomed us into their home.
September 26, 2015 – Day 23
Dubuque, IA to Clinton, IA. 63 miles – Total miles 1,461
Weather 76 degrees, sunny and slight head wind, another beautiful fall day
We got up and had breakfast with our hosts – Daniel and Christin. They fed us well, we packed up and off we went for another day on the bike. It was very nice to stay with family and great to see Daniel and Christin again – thanks for having us – much appreciated. We also got to sleep on this blow up queen size bed – it was very comfortable and a lot more space than in our little tent.
We stayed on the Iowa side of the Mississippi River for our route today. The route started off again with massive hills that we had to climb on Hwy 52. But at the top of one of the hills was a fall festival event going on at a Apple Orchard. We stopped to check it out. We bought some Apple Cider Donuts – yummy – Cashew Brittle, cookies and of course some apples. But this time the employee was very nice and when Tracy asked if she could purchased just a couple of apples – she said absolutely but I will just give them to you at no charge. It was especially nice after the experience at the other fruit stand where the woman would not sell us just a couple of apples and a half of pint of raspberries. We checked things out at the event ate a couple of donuts and hopped back on the bicycle to continue our ride. We had several more hills to climb and cities to travel thru before the end of the day.
We traveled thru St, Donatus, which is known for a “Little Bit of Luxembourg in America” This little town is striving to preserve the town as a historic Luxembourg city. The Town of Sabula was next which is the only island city in Iowa, we did not take the 1 mile detour to check it out maybe next time, We also went thru the town of Bellevue – which had a great coffee shop and a guy flying a drone around – really cool. He even flew the drone over Tracy so Peter could get a picture- he even directed us to the coffee shop. This was a first on our trip we have never been followed by a drone before!!
Further along the ride the hills became less severe and were just long steady climbs much easier on the legs. We have been told the monster hills in Iowa are behind us and we will have more like we experienced late in the ride today. Our final stop for the day was the City of Clinton and the River View Campground. The campground is operated by the city and is a really nice one. We are the only tent in the place among all the big RVs!!
I bet you didn’t know the City of Clinton was known as the nation’s sawmill capita during the 1880-1890. At that time logs were tied together forming rafts as large as 300 Ft by 1,600 Ft taking 30 men to move them down the river. During the peak of Clinton’s sawmill industry the town had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the United States – the Lumber Barron homes on 5th, 6th and 7th streets are amazing to view today.
As we were sitting at the picnic table working on the blog and Facebook posts for the day a gentleman stopped over and invited us over for a beverage and a chance to enjoy the campfire. We accepted and finished our work and headed his way. He and his sons were camping and had a nice blazing fire going and some cold beer. We had a nice visit and even got to meet his niece and her son and a friend of hers that was visiting the area. Very nice, interesting people and fun to get to know and spend some time with. It was a nice way to end the day.
I will put up some pictures tomorrow.