I did neglect to mention the raccoons at Nauvoo. The first night there, they got into my trailer. Shamefully, I had left the bear barrel not entirely quite shut tight, and they made off with what they pleased. I lost all my hoagie buns, a bag of sugar, the smaller of my two containers of oatmeal, spiced soybeans, ramen, and probably a few things they carried off and left no trace of, of which I have forgotten. Last night, they didn't actually get into the shut barrel, but they did spend the better part of the night making a ruckus in my campsite. Not the best nights sleep I've ever had, for sure.
I took off early in the morning, to better enjoy the scenic part of today's ride. The road clung tight to the river, with many historical markets and pullouts. The wetlands near the river were filled with water lilies, and the roadsides where a white and blue pallet of queen ann's lace, chicory, and wild bergamont. Trumpet creepers are becoming more and more common, as well.
I made a detour through Keokuk in order to restock after the raccoon-thievery. It added a few miles of white-knuckle biking in heavy traffic, but I found a Wal-mart. Say what you will, but I'm learning to love Wal-mart supercenters. The greeter kept on eye on my bike and trailer while I shopped, the bathrooms where clean, and the water fountain was good and chilled. They still had the day-old bakery goods out, and I picked up a huge french roll for a dollar, and six doughnuts for one-sixty. Beat that... Loaded up on plenty of other food, too, but I doubt you all want my complete shopping list.
After Keokuk, I crossed into Missouri, and the route threw me onto a long, flattish stretch of four-lane divided highway. The shoulder was wide and mostly smooth, so it wasn't horrible. For a while, wildflowers continued to bloom, but soon enough I encountered mowed roadside. What is the point of that, anyway? If anyone can tell me, please do comment.
After missing the turn-off for my planned camping spot, and rejecting a $15 campsite in Canton, I ended up pitching my tent just outside of La Grange, in a grassy lot maintained by the local gardening club. There wasn't much there - a river with a road and train bridge crossing it, some concrete steps down into the river, a small plaque. A good spot for me. A young fellow was fishing, but soon left. A man stopped by and chatted for a bit, confirming that I shouldn't run into any trouble camping here. A few trains passed during the night, but trains have never much bothered me.