Back onto the Road Again and Two New States
September 29, 2015 – Day 26.
Burlington, IA – Burlington IA. 8 miles – Total miles 1,694
Weather 60 degrees, windy, rainy and overcast
Today was our day off the bicycle but unfortunately when we were getting ready to take a taxi downtown to check it out – Tracy suggested we check the bicycle because it sounded funny at the end of the trip yesterday- she was right the brazen for the rear rack broke and we had to get it to the local bicycle shop for repairs. So off we went on the bicycle to the shop 2 miles away. They were great at Bickel’s Bicycle Shop and Chris the mechanic had it fixed in no time and we were on our way. But unfortunately we were not able to check out downtown – I guess we will have to come back someday. We really wanted to check out the crooked street we saw the end of it on our way into town but wanted to see the whole thing – the street is the first crooked street in the US and actually Lombar street in California came after it. They actually hold a bicycle criterion on the street Memorial Day weekend evidently the riders go up the road!!
September 30, 2015 – Day 27
Burlington, IA to Quincy, IL 95 miles Total Miles 1,702
Weather 67 degrees, partly sunny and strong tailwind – another beautiful fall day
With the suggestion of the staff at Bickel’s Bicycle Shop and also Jeanne one of our Warm Showers hosts we decided to take the Hwy 34 bridge over to Illinois and head south on the east side of the river – good suggestion. The roads were much better and traffic was very light. The first town we hit was the Town of Lomax, then Dallas City and the very interesting Town of Nauvoo, IL. Nauvoo is Hebrew for “Peaceful Place” – which is what the residents are. Nauvoo was originally founded by Joseph Smith and fellow members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The church members were supposedly forced to leave the state by the governor many years ago – the story is very controversial even today. When they left the temple they built was burned down and many years later the Mormons raised money to rebuild the temple which is an amazing building which sits up on the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. There are many other attractions in Nauvoo besides the temple; the Monument to Women, the restored historic district, Joseph Smith Homestead, Brigham Young Home plus more. An interesting place but also a bit different.
We then stopped for lunch in Warsaw and then headed thru the massive floodplain of the Mississippi River, it was amazing to see nothing but corn and soy bean fields for as far as you could see with the Mississippi River far off in the distance. Of course it is harvest time and the farmers were hard at it and the trucks were being filled up and traveling down the roads we were on, although they were very gracious in passing us.
Unfortunately the bridge was out on our route and we had to detour 4 – 5 miles to get back on route, luckily the wind was behind us today because our day ended up being longer than planned. This occurred for two reasons; the first being Tracy forgot we were starting 5 miles from the start of our map and also the detour – so our 84 mile day quickly became 94 – it was a long day in the saddle.
But we had a great end to our day at the Driftwood Campground in Quincy, IL. The campground owner Denise was great and very welcoming. First she only charged us $10.00 to stay the night and was very accommodating and allowed us to set up where ever we wanted (close to the electrical outlets on the bath house- she had no electrical sites left) to and also bought us a couple of beers from the bar her and her husband own. We were taking showers and when we came out we had chairs at our site and also a ice bag with four nice cold beers in it – amazing!! (Four beers for $5.00) We had dinner and then met a couple of other bicyclists – from Florida. They had started at International Falls and were going as far as Hannibal, MO. It was nice talking with them and hearing their stories – the woman is a hard core cyclist and has done many long trips both in the United States and overseas – impressive. We went to the clubhouse to talk with Denise for a while and then hit the hay – we slept well after a long day.
October 1, 2015 – Day 28
Quincy, IL to Clarksville, MO 70 miles Total Miles 1,772
Weather 67 degrees, sunny, strong cross and tail wind – another beautiful fall day
We left camp by 9:00am after our usual breakfast. The day was cold when we started and we were pretty bundled up at the beginning of the ride. We headed down the road to Quincy where they have two beautiful bridges ( a truss bridge and a cable-stayed bridge) that cross the Mississippi River – although it is unlawful for bicyclists to cross them so we had to continue south for another 15 miles to cross over to Hannibal, MO.
Quincy is the site of the sixth debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas and a bronze relief sculpture is located in town to commemorate this.
The crossing from IL to MO was interesting because bicyclists are not allowed on the interstate in IL but they allow bicyclists on I – 72 for a short distance to crossing the bridge into MO. So on to the interstate we went – nice wide shoulder and crossed over to MO – no problem. We stopped in Hannibal to check out town and also eat lunch. Hannibal as you probably know is the boyhood home of Samuel Clemens better know as Mark Twain. Their are many attractions in town highlighting the adventures of Tom Sawyer and Hackberry Finn – including the white picket fence that Tom tricked his friends into painting. If you have not been to Hannibal, MO it is a fun place to visit and children especially enjoy it. But we needed to continue to move along and headed out on Hwy 79 for the next 44 miles of our trip.
We were told by a road cyclist at lunch that the route was hilly and boy was he right – we climbed many big hills until we reached our ending point for the day – we even had to push the bike up one of the really steep ones. We stopped for a break before our last 10 mile section to Clarksville in the town of Louisiana and Tracy walked over to the Chamber to get some information and also a state map. As she was talking with the employee – Chris – a very nice young man – he said you know the bridge is out before Clarksville? Of course we didn’t and it would result in a 5 plus mile detour and he said the detour route is not safe for bicyclists – way to curvy and narrow. Great now what.
After some thought he suggested we go down Hwy 79 as far as we can to the bridge out and then turn on Hwy N and there is a Resort/Campground on Hwy N. He even called ahead to insure us a space. There was no other tent campers and we had the place to our selves at no cost. It was a really nice place with condos, cabins and a nice RV and tent campground. We had electric, water and showers – everything we needed. Thanks to Chris. We settled in for a nice night at a great campground.