NOTE: At the bottom I have added some interesting views of my route so far. Check them out! (another Americanism!)
Another state line I’ve crossed: from Minnesota to Iowa.
Riding along the Mississippi is quite diverse; from Winona I had to take the Interstate 61 East, but instead of taking the direct and shortest route along the noisy road (not like a German Autobahn, more like a rural Bundesstraße, for the less initiated), I turned south onto Hwy 7 which turned out to be a golden choice, and here’s to the ACA: your maps have really surprised me again and again – often I do not see any reason for a detour at first glance but this is a wonderful example of your expertise in choosing cycling routes! It took me on a freshly paved road up and away from the river past an old wheat mill with the telling name of “Pickwick” which - and you will have guessed – got its name from a young lady who was so impressed by reading Charles Dickens’ novel “The Pickwick Papers” that she insisted this place had to be named “Pickwick” …
Not only was the road newly paved but quiet! Only two cars passed me during the next hour and a half!
Once up on the bluff (as the hills with their steep sides along the Mississippi river are called), I passed a large house with a formidable collection of bells! (see pictures!) and went on to see wonderful views of the entire Mississippi valley. I passed a lady weeding her garden and felt like talking so I stopped. It turned out to be one of the typical short but pleasant exchanges that I have had so many of. Charlotte is over seventy, I guess, but is slim with strong abdominal muscles which I noticed immediately by the way she was sitting on the ground. She and her husband Willy a retired painting contractor, bought this house, the barn and a lot of the former farm only 2 years ago and in order to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Willy turned the barn into a veritable meeting centre with freshly insulated and painted walls, a new bath and kitchen, six or more tables and so on. Charlotte asked me if I knew why so many “people with bags on their bikes” passed their house during the summer and I told her that her house was right on the ACA maps. “Oh”, she said, “we have lots of space, we could let some of those poor tired people sleep in our barn or give them tenting space!”
I gave them the web address of ACA, they gave me a tour of their wonderful house and a coke and off I went, feeling cheerful …
The ride along the river was on a very quiet road, I have been told that these 50 or so miles are the nicest of all along the big Mississippi river.
After 110 km I found a wonderful campground in Lansing, Iowa, pitched my tent near a gurgling creek and can only state once again: I am a happy man! (Well the mosquitoes still have to be dealt with, but otherwise …) 😉
At the bottom I have added some interesting views of my route so far. Check them out! (another Americanism!)
The effects literature can have ...
This house - definitely not a church - has an impressive collection of bells!
From up on the bluff I first only have glimpses of Ol' Man River ...
... they become more and more impressive
A barn - a wonderful place for a 50th wedding anniversary and a potential hostel for cyclists!
Everything there, including a kitchen and a bathroom!
... and enough space for tenting, although it might be very windy up on this hilltop!
You should see the view from the upstairs room!
Charlotte and Willy's modest living room.
Nice view from a living room.
Friendly people: Willy and Charlotte
Getting into Iowa.
"Driftless" refers to the fact that this land was not covered by ice like the northwest and therefore retains its original geological structure.
This one is for Niklas - it's not "my" campground but I liked the sign.