Good morning! Nate here. I got an early(ish) start at 6 a.m. here, and have gotten my morning prep & pack time to around an hour. We awoke this morning to a lot of little bug swarms enveloping us as soon as we exited our tents. Even my bug spray (100% deet) didn’t do much good. My camera couldn’t pick up the bugs either.
With that, we have a regularly scheduled ~60 mile day ahead. This morning we continue for 30 more miles along bike trails, where we’ll cross the Mississippi River (woohoo!) and enter into Davenport, Iowa. From there we’re biking west of the city another 30 miles or so to our campground.
We’d like to thank Illinois for having some of the best bike trails, and keeping us off the major secondary roads for nearly the entire state!
Check back later for an update.
Update (8:15 p.m.): A good ride today. The first third or so was off the road, and we re-routed in the middle of the ride to better align us with future campgrounds.
I left the campground at 8 a.m. with Michael in tail shortly thereafter. We both followed generally the same route, which continued to the end of the Hennepin Canalway Trail and then connected (by road) over to the Great River Trail, which ran parallel to the Mississippi River.
The Hennepin Canalway Trail was generally very good, sans a section that turned into a single track cyclocross course.
The Great River Trail was hosting a “ride the river” ride for Father’s Day (oh yeah, happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!). Because of the ride, a portion of the road was coned off, making it easy to ride without interference with traffic.
I met several nice people on the trail, many of whom offered me a place to stay for the night. Unfortunately, at this point, I was only 20 miles in and had to make more progress! A bike repair tech, who was hired to support the Father’s Day ride, stopped me and asked where I was going. After giving him the details, he gave my bike a quick once-over check-up, and then gave me a free spare inner tube just in case I get a flat in the next few states!
After crossing the Mississippi River, I was held up briefly by a barge that was crossing under a drawbridge. It was a good chance for a small break and to snap a photo!
I gave Michael a call to see where he was at, and turned out he was just up the street from me! I rode up to meet him, and sat with him while he ate some double-blueberry pancakes. We discussed our original plan for where we were going to be that night, and changed it to a more northern spot to align with Iowa City and campgrounds past it. We settled on a place just shy of Iowa City, extending the riding miles a bit more than previously planned.
From there, we left at slightly different times–Michael leaving ahead of me this time–en route to the campground. Our courses were pretty different after Davenport. Michael ended up riding 79 miles on all pavement, and I ended up with 71 miles (but I was on all loose-pack farm roads following Davenport). We’ll leave it up to you to decide who had the tougher ride! Here were some photos from mine.
I arrived at the campground about 4 minutes before Michael rolled in due to the mileage difference. We got our tents set up, each ate our dinner (Michael had Raw Meal, while I made seasoned rice with my Jetboil stove), and then went to the local gas station for a bottle of chocolate milk, among a few other treats.
We have another ~75 mile day ahead of us, where we’ll be at another campsite–east of Des Moines. For now, we’re comfy and watching the sunset over the farmland.