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TRIP 2014

Update #14 - June 05th
Clarion, Iowa
4,927.87 miles (7,884.59 KM)





Currently, I'm passed the halfway mark across Iowa. I still plan to ride Westward across Iowa to Nebraska. Once in Nebraska, I'll be visiting some of towns that were torn up by the bad tornadoes back in April. After Nebraska, I'll be doing the same thing in Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri. Some of the towns that I plan to stop and try and lend a hand are Upland, Nebraska, Baxter Springs and Hammond, Kansas, Joplin, Missouri (return visit), and El Paso and Vilonia, Arkansas.

My plan after Arkansas is to head Northward to St. Louis, Missouri and then head Eastwards across Southern Illinois and Indiana to the Cincinnati, Ohio. From Cincinnati, I'll be riding into Kentucky where I hope to hook up with the
Christian Appalachian Project (C.A.P.) and maybe volunteer the rest of the year and possibly over the Winter. If C.A.P. doesn't work out, there is another ministry in Georgia that I might want to check out and maybe volunteer with. From Sabula, Iowa to Lexington, Kentucky (where C.A.P. is headquartered), my tentative route is about 3,000 miles (4,800 km) long.

May 27 : Sabula, IA to Dickeyville, WI : 59.98 miles (95.97 km)

The eight days off the road went okay. I got some things fixed on Alice that I had wanted to get accomplished in a couple of years. I was finally able to get the handlebar shortened. Also, the new rear rack was stabilized. I only ventured out of the island community of around three hundred people a couple of times.

Before it got dark, Paul, Michelle, and I went down the street to the Dairy Bar. I got treated to a strawberry sundae. I finished up packing up. It was a really hot night. I woke up around 5 am and after getting cleaned up and dressed, I got everything from the upstairs attic out to the garage to pack up Alice. The rear rack is very stabilized now and it is a little higher. After getting Alice moved out to the driveway, I went in to have breakfast.

It was around 7:15 when I headed out. I walked to the causeway and then I started riding. From the island, I got on US 52. There were quite a few hills to Belleville. I got into Belleville around 9:45 AM. After a short break at a gas station, I headed out to Dubuque. There were several long and steep hills to cross over with some downhills with grades around 7%.

I got to the outskirts of Dubuque around 12:30 PM. I stopped at a MDs for a break. I got a little lost getting down the hill to the downtown area. There wasn't very good routing on a secondary route because the main route to the downtown area was under construction. I got confused and I made sort of a loop. I got on US 20. This was a tricky ride because it was a downhill run with little or no shoulder with lots of traffic that included a lot of trucks. It was a tricky two mile (3 km) ride into the downtown area.

I went straight across the road to the walkway over the bridge over the Mississippi River to East Dubuque, IL. I walked most of the way across the bridge but I rode the lastmile to East Dubuque.

After a short break at a gas station, I got on IL 35 to the WI State Line. It was a 2 mile (3 km) climb to the WI State Line. WI 35 joined US 61. This was a tricky 7 mile (11 km) ride where US 61 split off from US 151. Along the way, I got caught in a brief rain shower. The shower didn't drop the temperature from being in the low 80s.

I got into Dickeyville around 5:30 PM. I stopped at a pretty decent and clean motel. It was owned and operated by a nice eldery American couple. The room was in the low $40s.

I'm hoping to be in Prairie du Chien tomorrow. There is supposed to be a 30% chance for afternoon thunderstorms. This would put me in Decorah possibly a day early as I had planned.

May 28 : Dickeyville, WI to Prairie du Chien, WI : 52.92 miles (84.67 km)

I had an okay night. I left the motel around 7:20 AM. I didn't get very far before I had to stop and fix something. I got maybe a mile (.6 km) down the road near the edge of town when I had to stop and replace the tube in the rear tire. The tube had already a patch on it so I just replaced it. I wished that I could have found out about the bad rear tube last night and I could have done the repair then. It took me about 20 minutes to get Alice back upright.

The ride to Lancaster went okay even though there were quite a few hills. After a short break, I got on WI 35 for the ride to Bloomington and Patch Grove instead of following the usual path of heading North on US 61 to Fennimore and then heading West on US 18 to Prairie du Chien. The ride to Patch Grove went okay. It was mostly on flat ground along a river.

Just North of Patch Grove, I got on US 18 heading West To Prairie du Chien. There was about a six mile (9 km) coast to the Wisconsin River. I got caught in a brief rain shower while I was coasting downhill. Just passed the Wisconsin River there was a mile climb up to the top o another ridge line and a couple mile coast into Prairie Du Chien.

In Prairie du Chien, I stopped at a motel where I had stayed a couple of times. I'm about 31 miles (50 km) South of the point where I cross the Mississippi River outside of Lansing, Iowa.

May 29 : Prairie du Chien, WI to Lansing, IA : 33.47 miles (53.55 km)

I had an okay night even though there was a horizontal blind in the window. I left the motel around 7:20 AM. There was a detour to get around some road work near the downtown area. I got back on WI 35. The ride along the Mississippi River went okay. There were some slight bluffs but nothing major that I needed to walk over. The road did get a little rough when I went through an area that had quite a few rock slides. I got at least 27 miles (43 km) in by noon.

I stopped at a gas station in Ferryville for a break. From Ferryville, it was about a 4 mile (6 km) ride to WI 82 that crossed the Mississippi River. There was quite a bit of traffic on the causeway leading up to the bridge over the Mississippi River. As I was starting to cross the bridge, there was a towboat pushing eight barges heading Southward below me. I took my time walking across the bridge because it had a metal mesh floor.

I got into Lansing around 1:30 PM. I found my way over to the United Methodist Church. The pastor left one of the doors unlocked for me. I got Alice situated in the fellowship hall and I took a few things downstairs to the youth room where I had slept last year about this time. Around 3 pm, the pastor came to the church to talk with me. I got invited to take part in the prayer breakfast at a local restaurant tomorrow morning at 6:30 AM.

Around 4:30 PM, my friend Phyllis picked me up to take me to see her new apartment at the assisted living center/nursing home. We had a good visit. Phyllis was going to take me out for supper but because her legs were a little swollen up we opted instead to go to the dining room and eat the provided evening meal there.

May 30 : Lansing, IA to Decorah, IA : 34.92 miles (55.87 km)

I had an okay night. I fell asleep around 8:30 PM and I woke up a little after 5 AM. I got packed up quickly so I can go down the hill to a restaurant for an ecumenical men's breakfast. The breakfast started at 6:30 AM. There were sixteen guys and two boys. I got to share. One of the guys picked up my bill.

I got on the road around 7:30 AM. The ride out of the MS River valley went okay. The first seven miles (11 km) went okay. I was able to ride up all of it. The last mile (.6 km) was steeper so I was only able to ride up half of it. The terraign leveled out when I got to the small village of Church, There wasn't much in the village. Even though the town was named Church, there were no churches in the village or surrounding area.

The rest of the ride to Waukon went okay even though the road was really bad. There were a lot of cracks that went clear across the road. I got into Waukon around 10:30 AM. I stopped at a gas station for a short break. The highway beyond Waukon was a lot better. It was redone a couple of years ago and there was some shoulder to ride along.

I got to my friend's house around 1:30 PM. Dave hadn't checked his personal email account so he didn't know that I was coming. All of the kids were home so there wasn't any room at the home. Instead of putting me in the family room in the basement, there was an offer to get me a room at one of the local motels through Sunday night. The Decorah Lutheran Church is picking up the tab for the room.

June 02 : Decorah, IA to New Hampton, IA : 41.47 miles (66.35 km)

It was an okay weekend. I had to go to a bike shop in the downtown area to get a new rear tire and some disc pads for the front brake unit. I was able to speak at the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning services at the Evangelical Lutheran Church downtown.

I had an okay night. I got on the road around 7:30 AM. There was about a seven mile (11 km) climb out of the crater valley. Once on top, I started to get slammed by a mixed crosswind/ headwind. At times during the day, the wind got up to at least 30 mph (48 kmph). I headed South on US 52 to Calmer and then I got on IA 24 to New Hampton. By noon, I had made about 24 miles (38 km).

I got into New Hampton around 1:30 PM. I rode around town to check out the churches. The minister at the Methodist Church was at annual conference in Des Moines. I checked several other churches. I rode to the police station. An officer there told me to try the Lutheran church a couple of blocks away. The senior pastor there was supposed to be in charge of the ministerial association. Both of the ministers were out. The secretary was able to connect me with a couple from the church who had hosted people before. The Morrises operate a landscaping business south of town. I was invited out to their country home. I just took what I needed for the night and Alice was stored in a garage at the business.

I'm changing my route some. From New Hampton, I was going to head West to Charles City. I'll be heading South to Waverly tomorrow. This will put me into Hampton on Wednesday. My friend Dave used to pastor the Lutheran church there before he moved on to Decorah.

June 03 : New Hampton, IA to Waverly, IA : 31.89 miles (51.02 km)

I had an okay night. Nancy made a German meal of bratwurst and kraut. During the meal, we watched some deer down by the pond. It wasn't long after eating that I excused myself and I went upstairs to get some rest. I went to bed around 9:30 PM. I stayed asleep till around 4:30 AM.

Dean had planned to head back to the landscaping store by 7 AM but the front passenger side tire on his truck was flat so he had to put his spare on. It was around 7:40 AM, when I headed South on US 63. The ride went okay even though there was a narrow shoulder. The temperature was just in the 70s and the wind for a change was to my back. By 9:50 AM, I got the first 20 miles (32 km) in by 10 AM.

I got off US 63 at IA 3 and I headed East. I got into Waverly around 11:40 AM. I stopped at a gas station for a break and a longer break to wait till 1 pm. I stopped at the St Paul Lutheran Church. I talked with the assistant pastor because the senior pastor was on vacation this week. It was interesting that her husband was the interim minister at the Lutheran church in Hampton after Dave had moved on to Decorah. An offer to get me a room at a motel on the Southern edge of town was made.

I'm not sure what is going to happen tomorrow. There might be at least a 70% chance of either rain or thunderstorms tomorrow. I'm going to try and make it to Hampton tomorrow.

June 04 : Waverly, IA to Hampton, IA : 40.85 miles (65.36 km)

I had an okay night. There was a good free breakfast. I got on the road around 7:20 AM. The sky was still overcast from the rain last night. I was able to get in 30 miles (48 km) by noon. I stopped at a gas station in Allison for a short lunch break. Traffic was light between Allison and Hampton.

I got in Hampton around 1:30 pm. I hadn't been in Hampton in 4 years. I stopped at the St Pauls Lutheran Church. The secretary remembered me. The new pastor came over from the parsonage next door. I was going to stay in the youth area upstairs but the pastor offered to get me a room at one of the local motels.

On the way to the motel, Kevin took me over to see a guy who had a ministry for kids - Northern Iowa Youth for Chr-st. The ministry was in a building that used to have a church in it but it was closed down. Darwin the director was getting ready for the first meeting of a junior high youth group. Darwin wanted me to by around 7:30 PM to have dinner with the kids and then speak to them.

Around 7:20 PM, Kevin picked me up to take me to the youth meeting. I was pretty impressed with the group. There were almost three dozen jr high kids and about a dozen adults. I had a good hamburger dinner. I talked for about 15-20 minutes and then I answered questions for about 10 minutes. Before all of the kids had gone outside for games, one of the young girls came to me and gave me a hug. Before Kevin and I went back to the motel, Darwin asked me to go with him tomorrow morning to an interfaith senior adult breakfast. The ministers in the area were on rotation to give a devotional talk to the group.

June 05 : Hampton, IA to Clarion, IA : 30.21 miles (48.34 km)

I had an okay night. I got maybe 6.5 hrs of sleep. I woke up around 5:30 AM. I got cleaned up, dressed, and got Alice packed up because I was going to be picked up for breakfast. I went out front around 6:45 AM to wait for Darwin to pick me up. We went to a restaurant on the Southern ege of town to meet up with an interfaith senior adult group that has been meeting for breakfast on Thursdays supposedly for the past 60 years. Darwin was supposed to give the devotional message but he asked me to do it. There was about two dozen seniors. Darwin paid for my breakfast. Afterwards, one of the ladies came by my table and slipped me a GH and one of the guys did the same thing.

We got back to the motel around 8:10 AM. Before leaving, Darwin slipped me a GH. It didn't take long to finish getting ready to go and I was on the road by 8:20 AM. There was a short paved bike path to follow.

Once out in the open, I got really slammed by wind. It was coming from the Southeast and it must have been between 20 and 30 mph (32 and 48 kmph). The sun was out. There was no shoulder. I took a short break at a gas station near I-35. Even with the wind, I got about 27 miles (43 km) in.

I got into Clarion around 12:30 PM. I stopped for lunch at a Hardees. This guy stopped at the table for a little bit. Before he left, he slipped me a GH.

I decided to stop for the day. There wasn't any sense to try and go on to Humboldt with the high winds. I rode around the downtown area to check out the churches. I saw some activity at the Church of Chr-st. The pastor was in his office. There was an offer to stay in the church for the night but there was a second offer to get me a room at the motel on the Western edge of town.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between June 12th and June 19th.




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