Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Goodbye for now, Iowa - Nauvoo, IL


All the variables that make for slow cycling converged on me, today. Flat ground, a painful leg muscle, headwinds, and Burlington... The first order of business for the morning was to resupply. Burlington has a Aldi store. It also has a lot of hills and long trains. I waited 20 minutes for one to pass, before realizing the Aldi was actually in the other direction. Then it was the climb - a long series of hills that took at least an hour to haul up, and maybe 10 minutes to glide back down from. But hey, I came back down with gummy bears, hoagie buns, green peppers, apples, flavoured tuna packets and pop-tarts, all for damn cheap.

I stopped at the Iowa visitor center before crossing the bridge to Illinois, which I admit I was a bit skeptical about(Illinois? What is in Illinois, anyway, besides Chicago? Chicago is scary. What if I ran into roving bands of people from -Chicago- way out here?). I was promptly given an Iowa bicycle map(which I promptly lost. I think the raccoons took it....), coffee, and cookies. Yay, Iowa. Why do I want to go into Illinois, again? Well, the river road over there is closer to the river... The visitor center ladies confirmed that it is, indeed, a nicer ride in illinois, at least for a stretch.

Past the bridge, the Great River Road routes onto the dry, flat, dusty Carmen road. here is where the headwinds came into play. Fortunately, I had some relief when a fellow living on a colorful little plot of land near Lomax called me over for icewater and shade. Had a nice chat, exchanged email addresses, and was sent off with some apples for the road. Once I got past Lomax, the route improved vastly. It was still hot, but now there was some shade to be had, towns a bit closer together, and scenic and/or historic pulloffs. I rolled into the historic town of Nauvoo late in the evening, and ignored all its touristy temptations. A rest day was in order, I'd come back into town in the morning. I camped at Nauvoo state park, a pleasant place, if a bit on the ridiculously-freaking-buggy side. Dead insects actually filled the entire bowl of one water fountain.... for $10, though, and in a tourist-town, it wasn't all bad.

The long train. As it was nearly passed, another train crossed in the opposite direction... I did not stick around long enough to see how long that one would be.

Hills of Burlington

The river bridge from Burlington.

Burlington riverfront from the bridge.

Dun dun dun....

My left glove has sure seen better days.

'The Chief', one of those awesome folks I keep running into.

Darting through Nauvoo. I'll be back later.

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