Monday, August 1, 2011

A Greener Iowa - Burlington, IA


Bugs and odd dreams kept me from sleeping too deeply last night. I slept on the shelter floor with no tent, feeling a bit insecure about my tent being spotted. The night passed with no slamming doors or flashlights in my face, and the river looked lovely in the morning mist.

Road construction changed my plans, once I was on the move. on a bicycle, 'road closed' most often means 'no traffic, nice ride', so I tend to ignore the signs. What safety regulation dictates to be deemed 'impassable' tends to vary wildly from reality. In this case, though, I ran into a indeterminably long expanse of pitted, rutted mud and loose gravel. The detour ran through roads not shown on my Iowa highway map, so it was a matter of giving up on any expectations and following the orange signs.

The detour turned out to be the best part of my day. It ran through a wildlife refuge, or maybe a large conservation area. I never found out what exactly it was, other than a sizeable tract of undeveloped woodland. Flooded woodland, with stripped silver trunks on one side, and dark green on the other. Very unlike the Iowa I've come to know.

I found a place to camp just inside the Burlington city limits, in a mostly-dry, wooded floodplain. The mosquitoes were present, but not nearly so many as one would expect. A stream passed through, but it was muddy and clouded, so I washed with bottles of water instead of bathing in it. Ate dry ramen for dinner, and slept comfortably in my hammock.

A detour through woodlands and wetlands.

For all the noise about cycling in Iowa, this is the first cyclist-related roadsign I've seen in the state.

Home for the night.

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