Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 96, 8/12/2010 - Gutenberg to Dyersville, IA

Just the Basics: 25 HOT HUMID HILLY miles - and if you think you're tired of reading that phrase, think of how we must feel! Some stats:

  • Up at 5:45 to load bikes and be at the restaurant when it opened at 6:30 a.m. for a beat-the-heat early start: (1) It was ALREADY hot and muggy; and (2) There was heavy fog - we couldn't safely leave until 9:30 a.m.

  • Heavy traffic and mostly no shoulders - or loose gravel shoulders which were usually not really useful for riding - so lots of walking the bikes - and again, hills we'd normally bike got walked due to heat and humidity - heat index up to at least 105 today.

  • It was still 96 at 5 p.m.

  • It was still in the 80s at 9 p.m.

  • For the first time, we used all the water we had on the bikes (about 5 1/2 liters). At our 3 p.m. lunch stop in Luxemburg (first available spot), we were down to about 1 1/2 liters. We refilled all the bottles and drank a ton of tea and water at lunch and still drank lots more as we finished the ride.
Nice Notes:

  • As we were chugging up yet another hill near Dyersville, a boy of perhaps 12 came running across a lawn with 2 water bottles. He asked if we needed water and it seemed polite to accept - so we did. He said "They're not cold or anything - we just bought them." We turned and waved our thanks to his mom and immediately opened them and drank heartily.
  • We stopped in New Vienna at around 5 to sit on a park swing in the shade and rest a bit - that's where we saw a sign indicating that it was still 96. First a guy who's a runner stopped in his car and offered us a place to stay for the night. Shortly, a local biker stopped by to see if we needed help finding anything - at that point we were looking at our map. = ) = )
  • Dyersville is 3 miles from the Field of Dreams ball bark from the movie - now an attraction which you can visit.
Today's Photos:
1) Lock 10 on the Mississippi, viewed in Gutenburg on our Wednesday layover day.
2) Fog that greeted us when we got up Thursday intending an early start.
3) The steeple in Luxemburg which burned when struck by lightening this week.
4) "Muskrat(?)" Creek

Tomorrow: The weather forecast is for more of the same, but it is supposed to start to cool off on the weekend - so, we will have a layover day again tomorrow - it seems unwise to keep beating our heads against this particular wall!

For Those Who Want More:

Mark Twain: As regular readers know, we like to read locally appropriate books as we go along. Don't know if we've mentioned it before, but when we were in the Big Woods in MN we downloaded a free book of Paul Bunyan stories to our Kindle, and read some aloud - especially at bedtimes. Now that we're spending time along the Mississippi, we've done the same with Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi - big fun!

Lightning Strikes a Steeple in Luxemburg: As we were FINALLY leaving the hotel this morning we chatted a bit with another guest. He told us that a church steeple in Luxemburg had been struck by lightning on Monday night and had burned. Turns out it was across from the place where we had lunch today so we not only saw it but got a play-by-play from the restaurant owner and a couple of patrons at the bar.

  • There were fire trucks from 5 departments, as far away as Dubuque.

  • The church itself was undamaged - not even smoke or water damage below. It seems the steeple had a special floor - some said it was cement, others that it had 3 layers - anyway, it kept the damage sealed off.

  • The restaurant owner was awakened by safety personnel at 3 a.m. to come down and check for fire in their building - cinders were falling on the roof and they feared there might be internal fires - nope.
  • The whole town turned out to sweep up, pick up cinders, hose down sidewalks and buildings, etc. - the place was cleaned up by 9:30 a.m.!

Animals: We watched some little muskrat-sort of creature swimming up a narrow creek as we rested along our bike ride today. And just now in our motel room Becky spotted a very small frog! which we captured in a cup for Becky to take outside to release (after showing it to the desk clerk).

1 comment:

  1. The heat sounds grueling - keep filling those bottles and take lots of rests. Life on the Mississipi is one of the few works by Twain that I haven't read - may need to download that, although I'm getting a pretty good version of it from the blog. With the day off, I hope you plan to visit the baseball field. That's high on my list of Iowa atractions. And while you're at it, you might consider looking for boks by WP Kinsela, particularly "Shoeless Joe Visits Iowa" and "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy." Both are great baseball lit and great Iowa lit. "Shoeless Joe" was the basis for Field of Dreams, although the book and movie differ significantly.