The day started nicely with lattes and baked goods from the Inspire café in Dubuque. We had considered returning to the National Mississippi River Museum but decided we had seen the best of it. Since it was Sunday morning, we couldn't leave until we had heard the Will Shortz puzzle portion of NPRs Weekend Edition.
Once again, I learned that regardless of whether it is the state, county or parks department, apparently anyone involved in road construction in Iowa has never seen a 10% grade they did not love. Also, for some reason northern Iowa does not feel the need to build roads near the river. I guess they think it is more important to show off the farmland.
My one interest in many miles was noting the wildflowers along the road. I saw familiar things like yellow yarrow and purple asters, but at one point saw these pretty blue flowers for nearly a mile. Perhaps someone can tell me what these are.
After not seeing the river for many miles, I started seeing glimpses around mile 25 and when I finally entered the town of Bellevue, I stopped in the shade of a tree to admire their boat landing.
Almost immediately, Cathy let me know she was just up the road looking at a giant ice cream cone sign. It had been in the 80s for the last hour and I was ready. Behold my first ever selfie.
Yes, my cone is bigger than hers. I've been working harder. The wind was out of the south and southeast all day, varying from 5 to 10 mph.
There was surprisingly little of particular interest today. However, I did see this great business opportunity for someone, especially someone with a musical interest. You gotta love the paint job on the silo.
About 15 miles later, I prepared to leave Iowa for Illinois, passing through the island town of Sabula. I was expecting a quaint little town and planned to take a picture or two. I found a crossroads and Cathy, who had turned right instead of left toward the bridge, told me there wasn't much more.
Here is what it looks like on a map.
The only actual bridge is at the top of the diagram where it shows mile 50. Naturally, this was another grated metal deck with no bike lane. The only difference I could tell between this bridge and the one into Lansing was that this one was painted sky blue. Otherwise I was just as grateful to be off it.
I was looking forward to entering Illinois if for no other reason that of the three states I had been in so far Iowa has the worst roads. You could tell which counties had the least money for roads. Many times, right at a county line there would suddenly be no shoulder. More accurately, there was a very wide shoulder but it was dirt and gravel. At the same time, the road would be old, bumpy asphalt.
Illinois was some improvement on the roads but one stretch of bike trail was pretty mediocre--not so much for the condition but the route. For about a mile I was winding through what appeared to be a giant weed field with no shade and nothing to look at. Finally, as I neared Fulton, IL our stop for the day, I had a smooth asphalt trail that was wooded on both sides providing some welcome shade. There were just enough bumps caused by tree roots to make me feel like I was on the Burke Gilman.