TRIP 2012

Update #16 - August 06th
Burlington, Iowa
795.68 miles (1,273.09 KM)

The fourth week of the trip have been pretty good. I started the week heading out of Arnold, Missouri and I ended the week in Fort Madison, Iowa. I'll be starting this week in Burlington, Iowa. Between July 30th and August 06th, I cycled 314.04 miles (502.46 KM). The key factors have been the heat which has been in the high 90s Fahrenheit with the heat indexes in the low 100s Fahrenheit. I also had to deal with brief rain showers and lots of hills. Some of the climbs were over 1 mile (1.6 KM) long. I've been getting on the road before 7 AM and trying to get off the road around 2 PM. I made stops for the night in Wentzville, Troy, Hannibal, and Canton, Missouri; Keokuk, and Ft. Madison, Iowa

Monday (July 30th) - Arnold, Missouri to Wentzville, Missouri - I took a winding route to MO 141. There were quite a few hills to climb over. MO 141 was a divided 4-lane highway and there was a good paved shoulder. I rode through Peerless Park, Twin Oaks, Manchester, Town and Country, and Chesterfield. By noon, I only made 23 miles (36.8 km) because of the hills, riding through the metropolitan area, and all of the traffic lights that I had to stop at. When I got into the Chesterfield area, I didn't feel like stopping. I stopped at a underpass that was pretty decent and I got out my netbook to check out Streets and Trips. I made another cheat sheet so that I could get over the MO 364 bridge across the Missouri River.

The ride to the Missouri River went pretty good. MO 364 was a divided 4-lane highway. The Missouri River bridge was really nice. It had a really nice wide paved concrete shoulder.

 Missouri River Bridge

There was actually a seperate bike lane but it was on a different bridge. This was part of the Katy Trail. I was going to stop for the day in St. Peter but I decided to keep on going because the temperature was okay. For a couple of hours, I rode along frontage roads along I-40 and around 6:30 PM, I pulled into the driveway of a motel a few miles east of Wentzville that I saw had reasonable rates.

Tuesday (July 31st) - Wentzville, Missouri to Troy, Missouri - I started on the road around 7:40 AM instead of before 7 AM. I had a really hard time getting on US 61 to go north. The frontage road in front of the motel went around a closed down mall. It led me onto US 61 but it was part of I-64. I-64 was supposed to end in a mile and US 61 was going to continue. I crossed the interstate and rode down another long frontage road that I hoped would have taken me to another interchange where I get into Wentzville but it ended at a city park. I rode back and got on the interstate and just risked it to get to US 61. Once I got on US 61, I took a slight detour into Wentzville but there wasn't much.

The ride north went okay. The shoulder was paved. While I was going up a slight hill, the front wheel was feeling kind of funny. When I stopped to check it out, I found the tire going soft. There was a piece of wire in the tire. I got off the road to find some shade to fix the tire. This was the first flat for the trip. Even though I patched up the pinhole leak, I put in a brand new tube. The tube was supposed to be thorn resistant but I didn't see it.

It was around 11:30 AM when I got into Troy. From where I got off of US 61, I would have had a couple of miles ride into downtown Troy. The temperature was pretty hot and I didn't really feel like checking out the churches in the downtown area to see if I could connect with a local minister. I was going to stop for lunch at a Burger King but I decided to go back a block to a motel that had a sign outside with reasonable rates. There was a Kroger's grocery store across the street so I spent the money that I would have spent on lunch to buy food for a couple of days. Either tuna or peanut butter-jelly sandwiches are pretty good. Besides, there would be a free hot breakfast in the morning.

Wednesday (August 01st) - Troy, Missouri to Hannibal, Missouri - I left the motel a little before 7 AM. I rode back to the US 61 interchange that I had gotten off. The morning ride went okay until I hit about a 14 mile stretch of road construction. There were several really long climbs. In the construction zome, the shoulder was really rough so the ride was slow. They were repaving the right lane. Once out of the construction zone, the shoulder was a lot better. In some areas it was concrete.

I stopped at a gas station for a break and there was a free air hose. Both tires needed air so I inflated them up to 90 psi. I took everything off the bike because I wanted to see what was making the chatter that seemed to be constant. One of the below seat panniers wasn't connected right to the rack.

I didn't get down the road very far until the front tire was acting soft. When I checked it out, there was a small piece of wire sticking out of the inside of the tire. Don't know whether it was a new piece or some piece of wire that I had missed yesterday. I patched up the inner tube and inflated it. I was back on the road in 25 minutes.

By noon, I had only made 27 miles. The ride the rest of the way into Bowling Green. The ride went really well. There was a tailwind to push me along. I got into Bowling Green area around 12:30 PM. Because of the tailwind, I decided to keep on going to Hannibal. The temperature wasn't as high as the past couple of days because the sky was overcast some.

The afternoon ride to Hannibal went okay. There were several long climbs but some good downhill coasts. I did stop at a gas station in Eola for a break and to refill the water bottles. The afternoon heat according to the radio was in the mid 90s. I took my time walking up some of the hills. I got into the Hannibal area around 5:30 PM. I stopped at a Motel 6 but they were filled up because there is supposed to be a lot of construction projects around town. The desk lady suggested that I should backtrack a mile to the Hannibal Inn and Convention Center. They were supposed to have rooms. The room rate was in the upper $40.

Thursday (August 02nd) - Hannibal, Missouri to Canton, Missouri - It was around 6:50 AM when I left the motel. I rode down the hill to the historic area and the River. The River looked a little low but I'm not sure how low. There was a towboat pushes some barges Northwards. I took a lot of pictures of the River, a small paddle boat for tours, and a tow boat. I walked over to the Mark Twain Historic Area and took a lot of pictures.

 Hannibal, Missouri Riverfront

 Hannibal, Missouri Riverfront

 Mark Twain Historic District; Hannibal, Missouri

 Mark Twain Historic District; Hannibal, Missouri

 Mark Twain Historic District; Hannibal, Missouri

 Mark Twain Historic District; Hannibal, Missouri

 Mark Twain Historic District; Hannibal, Missouri

 Mark Twain Historic District; Hannibal, Missouri

 Mark Twain Historic District; Hannibal, Missouri

It was around 7:45 AM when I got back on the road. The ride back up to US 61 went okay. I was very surprised that I was able to ride all of the way up. Back on US 61, the ride north went really well. There was a tailwind to push me along. There was some really good downhill coasts. Even with stopping a few times for breaks, I made 31 miles (49.6 km) by noon time. The rest of the ride into Canton went okay. The sky was a little overcast. It looked like it might rain. There was a projected 30% chance for rain.

I got into the Canton area around 1:30 PM. I made more than 40 miles before 2 PM. I stopped for a late lunch. There was a Comfort Inn across the street but according to Streets And Trips there was supposed to be a motel in the downtown area. There was a long winding hill into the downtown area. Rode around town and saw that the motel that I was looking for was closed. It looked like it had caught on fire.

I stopped to check out the churches. There was a blood drive going on at the Methodist Church. I checked out the office but it was closed. There was a phone number so I called it and the church secretary answere. She told me that the minister was on vacation. It was suggested that I check out the First Baptist Church. I didn't see anybody at the church. There was some activity at the Disciples of Chr-st Church. I met the lady pastor who has been in town for a few days. She called the pastor who was supposed to be in charge of the ministerial association. The guy was a pass-off because he suggested I backtrack to Quincy, IL. Of course the lady pastor didn't have any suggestions. She did tell me that they were having vacation Bible school at the First Baptist Church. I walked over there but I didn't see anybody around. I didn't want to do it but I went back to the Comfort Inn to get a room. It was way too late to go on to KeoKuk, Iowa.

Friday (August 03rd) - Canton, Missouri to Keokuk, Iowa - It was really foggy outside being that I was only a couple of miles away from the Mississippi River. I waited till a little after 7:30 AM. I put on my rear flasher. I took my time heading north. The ride was pretty good because I was in the River valley. I made 25 miles by noon time. Stopped at a gas station for some lunch. The rest of the ride to the state line went okay. I crossed the Des Moines River not too far away from it's mouth into the Mississippi. I stopped to take the traditional pictures. I had ridden 27.58 miles today in Missouri.

 Iowa State Sign

There was a long climb on BUS US 61 up out of the river valley. I got into downtown Keokuk around 1 PM. Rode around town to check out the churches. I stopped at the First Baptist Church and I talked with the secretary but she told me that the pastor was out till Monday. She suggested I check out the other churches down the street but nobody was around them. I stopped at the police station but the officer that I talked to didn't know anything. None of the local ministers served as a department chaplain. From the police station, I rode around in a different part of town that I hadn't checked out before. I stopped at St John's Episcopal Church . The secretary was getting things ready to leave for the day and she was surprised when Rev Schneider showed up. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, he offered to get me a room at the Baymont Inn and Suites a few blocks away. This was by far one of the most expensive motels that I've stayed at.

Saturday (August 04th) - Keokuk, Iowa to Ft Madison, Iowa - I had a pretty good night at the motel. I woke up really early again around 4 AM. There was an okay free hot breakfast. I left the motel around 6:40 AM. Before leaving the downtown area, I went a few blocks over to the Mississippi River to check out the old toll bridge. After the new bridge was built, they left half of the old bridge to be an observation deck overlooking the lock and dam. From the bridge, I saw the old riverboat to the south of me that had been put onto shore as a museum but it was down a steep hill. I did stop to check out the farmers market.

From the downtown area, I got on the MRT (Mississippi River Trail). This is a marked bike route along the Mississippi River. I had a pretty good ride along the River. Behind me the sky was getting kind of dark. According to the weather report on the radio, there were supposed to be storms in the afternoon but it was coming early. I got into Fort Madison around 10:45 AM. My first goal was to find a grocery store to buy some needed supplies. From the grocery store, I rode into the downtown area. I checked out a couple of churches but didn't see anybody. I couldn't find the police station. The sky got dark and it started to rain some with thunder and lightning. Being that I wasn't too sure how long the storm was going to last I rushed back to a motel that I had passed coming into town. I paid a little more than what I wanted to for the room.

Sunday (August 05th) - Ft. Madison, Iowa - I had a weird afternoon and night at the motel. It hadn't rained much. The rain didn't last long. We only got the upper tail end of it. The storm really caused havoc in the Chicago area. They were having a music festival called Lollipalooza in downtown Grant Park and they had to evacuate the area before strong thunderstorms came into the hour.

I went to bed early around 8 PM but I didn't stay asleep. Around 11 PM, I woke up like I was choking and going to through up. Some upchuck might have gotten into my mouth but the larynx closed up when some of it tried to go down into my windpipe. I had a really hard time stopping coughing. I must have coughed for about 15 minutes.

I woke up a little after 5 AM. There wasn't any breakfast offered other than stale looking cereal so I passed on it and had breakfast off my bike. I left the motel around 7:30 AM and rode back downtown. Since church was several hours away, I thought that I would check out the sites between the railroad and the River. I took pictures of the old train station and Sante Fe Railroad Freight buildings along with an old caboose.

There was a bike path in the park. I rode up to the double level ATSF swing bridge across the Mississippi River because it was opening up for a towboat and some barges that were heading northward. The bridge is interesting because on the lower level trains go across the River and cars go across on the upper level. This bridge is very important in cross-country train traffic and for several years after 9-11 Homeland Security protected the bridge. I rode across the bridge five years ago in 2007.

 Fort Madison Swing Bridge

The barges that the towboat was pushing were really riding high in the water since they were probably empty because of the low river level. After the bridge swung back, I rode back to the other end of the park so that I could take pictures of an old riverboat that was a casino and now a catfish restaurant. I also took a lot of pictures around the replica of the old fort. There were gaps in the stockade so that I could take pictures inside.

 Old Fort Madison (Fort Madison, Iowa)

 Old Fort Madison (Fort Madison, Iowa)

 Old Fort Madison (Fort Madison, Iowa)

Before I left the park, I took a lot of pictures of the old steam engine. It was behind a closed fence so that I couldn't get inside.

 Santa Fe Steam Locomotive (Fort Madison, Iowa)

 Santa Fe Steam Locomotive (Fort Madison, Iowa)

I rode around the downtown area to check out the churches. I did stop at the Presbyterian Church but by 9:30 AM the pastor hadm't shown up even though there were activity inside the church. I decided to stop at the United Methodist Church. I got there about a half hour before the service started. People welcomed me and I met the lady pastor before the service. I helped her and some of the girls move the communion table up to the altar area because it was Communion Sunday. During the announcement time, I got to speak for a couple of minutes. Afterwards, I got permission to stay the rest of the day in the church. I was invited out with some of the church members to a local Chinese restaurant.

Monday (August 06th) - Ft Madison, Iowa to Burlington, Iowa - I had an okay night at the church. It did get a little hot in the parlor so I had to turn on the air conditioning. I almost got to bed early but the janitor came in really late to empty the trashcans. I slept till around 6 AM but I woke up after an intense dream. I was surprised that I actually slept because there were really thin curtains and a street light shining right into the room.

I puttered around in the morning because I was supposed to get interviewed at the local paper but it didn't open till around 8 AM. I left the church around 7:30 AM and rode over to the Daily Democrat newspaper office to get interviewed. The article might be in the paper in the next couple of days. It was around 8:30 AM when I got back on the road. I ode back passed the riverfront park and the old fort. At the ATSF bridge, there was a train going across the bridge.

There was a really long climb up the bluff back to US. 61. Once on US 61, there was some road construction. There was a paved shoulder but it was kind of washboardy so the ride was a little slow. A couple of miles out of Burlington, I got on the old highway (Great River Road) into downtown Burlington. Near the River, I stopped to check out an old steam locomotive and coal car and take a few pictures.

It was around 11:15 AM when I started to check out the churches. It took a while finding the First Presbyterian Church. I talked with the secretary and she told me that the lady minister was in but she was going to be in meetings all day so she didn't have time for me. From the Presbyterian church, I went over to the UCC (United Church of Chr-st) church. The secretary was in but the pastor was out for the day. For about twenty minutes more, I checked out some of the other churches close by but they were either closed down or nobody around. I was totally amazed at how many churches were up for sale. I couldn't blame them because most of the churches didn't have any parking lots.

Around noon, I gave up. Being that it's Monday, I was pretty sure that there wouldn't be any afternoon hours at any churches. A few miles before I had left US 61, I had seen a sign for a motel that had rates in the high $40. It took a while getting back up to US 61. I rode passed the motel that I was going to stop at and found a better rate at the Arrowhead Motel.

I'm going to have to slow down some because I've got to stretch out my time in Iowa. I'm not expected to be in Decorah, Iowa until Tuesday August 14th. I'll be riding up the Mississippi River as far as Dubuque and then swinging Northeast to Decorah.

I'll try and add a new update every week or two weeks along the way so the next one will be posted sometime between August 13th or August 20th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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