DAY 63 NEW LENOX TO HINCKLEY
START 08:20 FINISH 16:30 (06/05/15)
DISTANCE 90KM RIDE TIME 5H01
Gary recomened a cycle trail which was an old railway line to Julit which I took. It was lined by trees and rabits and squirels were running out in front of me.
I took a little D tour through Arora. Nice little town with a small island with the river flowing over a couple of wairs and around. It was in the heat of the day……….up over 25 degrees.
Come the end of the day I found my self in Hinckley sat on the side of the road contenpation where I would camp for the night where a guy pulled up and started talking to me. I told Toney I was looking to camp and straight away he sais I could camp at his.
So I took up his offer. He lived less then 5 mins away. Toney and his wife Teresa were very hospitible. We had a bbq and I ended up sleeping in the house. After Dinner Toney and Teresa went to church and I joined them. Somewhat different to what I am use too……….netherless an experience.
DAY 64 HINCKLEY TO MILLEDGEVILLE
START 07:15 FINISH 17:15 (07/05/15)
DISTANCE 109KM RIDE TIME 6H01
Around lunch time I reached Dixon and discovered Ronald Ragan ex presadent of the United states use to live there. I crossed the river and stopped at Mc Donalds for the custmary 2 hour lunch break to write the blog and cheek the internet. Just as I was cycling out of town I had a guy cycle up to me. He was traveling light with just two small panniers on the front. I thought he was a local and was going to ask me if I needed a place to stay. Turned out Rich was cycling to Iawa for mothers day and was keen to ride with me for a little while. Rich talked me in to getting off the main road and went cross country in the direction of the Mississippi. He certianly got me moving and we very quickly did 30 odd km, to Milledgeville. We decided we would camp here for the night. But first stopped in a local restuant for Pizza. Rich offered to pay the first $20. Thae balance was $20.80. So I certianly got the good end of the deal. We asked around and got some directions for a local park. That is where we headed to camp for the night. Was a bit of a rush becouse a storm was coming. We just made it in time. We rigged it up so we could set out tents up under the shelter.
DAY65 MILLEDGEVILLE TO GALENA
START 06:15 FINISH 17:30 (08/05/15)
DISTANCE 100KM RIDE TIME 6H05
There are a lot of trains going through Illinois. On average one every 20 mins and they are 100 meters long. There are 3 types. Dubble decker Containers from the West, Timber from Canada and oil from North Darkota. They were coming all night and no matter what time it is they sound there horn constiantly as they go through town.
Rich was keen for a early start sop we were up with the birds at 5am. I just cycled two hours with Rich to Thomson, which is on the East bank of the Mississippi. I am going to follow it north for a few days all the way to Minialapis. Rich went South and I straight in to the Cafe. The locals were supper friendly. I very quickly had breakfest brought for me and afterwards was taken on a quick driving tour By Lawrence the local Historian to see the Corsway and the widest part of the Mississippi. On the way we passed a massive prison that was build to hold the Gontonamo bay prisners. But has now been turned into a federal prison.
This morning I cycled partly on the river trail. An old railway line built through swamps. Lots of birds around. Saw a small bird that was completely red and had a bit of a crown. No idea what it was. But winder if it could be rare or as common as sparrow.
Galena is a very nice town. On the way in I stopped to look at General Grants house. (Former presadent and cival war general)
There is a river that runs down the middle of town. I stoped in Grant park and cook my dinner for the first time in a long, long time. Pasta Olives and half a roll of Salami I have been carrying around for a month. It tasted really good. I am just writing the blog as the sun goes down on another day. I will shortly cycle a little way along the river to find somewhere to camp for the night. Been a Friday night there could be a few people around.
DAY 66 GALENA TO GUTTENBURG
START 05:55 FINISH 17:00 (09/05/15)
DISTANCE RIDE TIME
I had a really nice night camped in the field. I had some Deer come past in the night and I could hear thousands of frogs croqing in a near by pond. But wasn’t enough to stop me sleeping.
I cycled for a hour out of Galena till I reach Dubuque on the other side of the Mississippi. Im now cycling in Iawa. The people here are pretty friendly. In Mc Donalds I had a few people come up and say hello. One elderly couple said they had seen me cycling yesterday. When they left Mc Donalds they saw the bike and came back in to find me. I left Dubuque on a old rail trail and then took the Great river road which went up and along a ridge for miles and miles. It was awesome views of the country sides and ocasinly the river.
I got to Guttenburg around 5pm a nice old river town.
There is a lock here for the big bardges going up river. I scoped out the main street and have foud I nice place to camp behind the tourist office. I couldn’t be bothered cooking so I went into the local bar for a meal. Everyone wanted to buy me a drink………..I politly declined becouse Im was sticking to the water to rehidrate. But someone did kindly pay for my meal. Another couple came in took me back to there spep mums so I could have a shower. Everyone is been so friendly and kind.
DAY 67 GUTTENBURG TO GENOA
START 06:30 FINISH 17:00 (10/05/15)
DISTANCE 108KM RIDE TIME 6H48
You would think following the river it would be flat. Not on this side of the river. I was straight into the hills as soon as I left Guttenburg. I had two good hills before reaching Mc Gregor another old river town. It was a cold morning and I was cold having sweated going up the hills. I dived in to the local Coffee shop. Got talking to A cyclist and his wife. They very kindly brought me a Egg, Bacon and Hash Brown breakfest which was a steep up from the cup of musli, Banna and Yougat I had before leaving Guttenburg.
Some good advice from I cycled a few miles up to Marquette
and took the bridge over to Wisconnsin. Good decision. Nice and flat and the road closely follows the river.
There is an aboundance of wild life beside the Mississippi river and today I saw my first Bald Eagle. Easy to spot with its White head and white tail.
There is a storm and Tornado warning for this evening. Could be a intresting night.
DAY 68 GENOA – TOWN OF BUFFALO
START 06:30 FINISH 16:30 (11/05/15)
DISTANCE 88KM RIDE TIME 05H05
Getting fuel for my cooking stove has proved difficult. Every time I go to a gas station i am told I need a special red container. My specialy made green bottle doesent make the grade. So today when I saw someone out mowing the lawns I stopped and asked if I could have some fuel and ofcorse it was no problem
when I saw the small picnic area of the town of buffalo. I was sold. It was only 4:30pm. I was bitterly cold. I was so happy to be able to put on some dry warm cloths. The next thing was to fire up the stove for a hot cup of tea and then a pot of hot pasta with Salami and olives. Then it was tent up and straight into bed
DAY69 TOWN OF BUFFLO – MAIDEN ROCK
START 07:00 FINISH 17:00 (12/05/15)
DISTANCE 94KM RIDE TIME 6H42
It has really turned cold. I had to battle it out this morning slowly grinding in to a bitterly cold head wind acomanied by annoying rain. I was cycling past lots of nice lakes. Which I thought would be really nice in summer. But at this present moment I didn’t care to much for them and I just kept my head down facing the ground. When I reached Alam I dived into the first cafe I saw to get out of the cold. I ordered a breakfest and at the end the Waitress Heather came out and told me the owner was paying for me after she lernt what I was doing. There is deffintly a nice patten devaloping.
I was happy in the afternoon when the rain cleared and the sun came out…………but it was still cold. I ended the day camping in a roadside rest area.
DAY 70 MAIDEN ROCK – MINNEAPOLIS
START 06:30 FINISH 19:30 (13/05/15)
DISTANCE 118KM RIDE TIME 7H54
DAY 71 MINNEAPOLIS REST DAY
On the Wisconnsin side of the Mississippi there are small towns about every 13km. I passed through. Bay city……….a little misleading becouse there is nothing their. Hager city………same and Dimand Bluff before stopping for lunch in Prescott. By this time the sun had come out and it was actually a really nice day. At Prescott I crossed over the Mississippi into Minnesota. I was able to jump on a good cycle path to take me up to St Paul (The other twin city). A long the way. In a city of 400 000 I ran into a guy call David who was riding an incombant. Small world. He asked if I was staying with Chris Olson………..Who coinsadently is my warm showers host. David kindly gave me a city cycling map and planed a sight seeing route for the 30km cycle across the city to Chris’s.
Minneapolis is a awesome city for cycling. Currently ranked 2nd in the US for it trails. My route took me through St Paul down Summit Ave past all the masive Victorian Mansions and over the river to Minialapis to pick up the Mid Town green way trail which is an old railway line that has created a corridor to allow cyclists to cross the city pretty much car free. It was been well used. Everyone one been so friendly. I was stopping to talk to loads of nice people. Some even ask if I had a place to stay and if not they would have invited me to stay. This happened on more then one ocasion. It is such a green city with so many trees,parks and open spaces. It’s ride a bike week in Minialapis and I was lucky to come across a bike station. Stopped and chatted and they kindly gave me some Musli bars. Next on the tour was Calhoun and Harriet Lake.
People were out sailing, drinking and socialing. The lakes are a real gem for Minialapis.
I reached Chris house at 7:30pm. First thing was to clean myself up. Feeling pretty grotty not shaving for a week and not showing for at least 4 days…………..The best I do is a wipe down with some baby wipes.
Chris is fellow cycle tourist with many trips in the states and Asia.
He invited some friends over and we had a fire in his back yard. We drank some beer and had some Pizza. I enjoyed telling a few stories and hearing a few as well. It was midnight before we called it quits.
Surly the company that makes my byicle is based here in Minialapis. I have been in contact with them since last year. I told them last week I would be passing through and I was going to go on a Surly ride with a few of the guys which was going to end with a few beers and a bbq. Unfortunetly it was cancelled becouse of the rain. But I did manage to catch up for breakfest with two of guys from Surly. We had a good chatt. Bob and John were really nice guys. I’d asked for some new stickers for the bike and I got a whole lot more. T shirt, socks and a few other bits and pieces.