June 1:  Keukuk, IA to Burlington, IA  54.8 miles

Very similar to the last couple of days, the morning started overcastted with several large storm clouds hanging in the horizon waiting for us to begin our ride.  After a continental breakfast a la the Holiday Inn Express we were out on the road following the river north as it twisted and turned through the countryside.  The first few miles outside of town the road was lined on the east side with large homes high on the ridges overlooking the river.  The road seems to divide the "estates" from the river bank, which reemphasizes the fact that the river does leave its banks at times and floods the area.  Nature has its way of being the "ruler" of the land!!

Twelve mile north of Keukuk is the town of Nauvoo.  Started in the 1800s it was a Mormon settlement after they had been pushed from Upstate New York.  Joseph Smith Jr. founded a community of Community of Christ and grew to be the absolute leader including the title of mayor, president, general of the military -- head of the church.  The Church of Latter Day Saints split from this group and eventually migrated to Salt Lake City.  Nauvoo grew into a well established city, prosperous and considered competition to Chicago in size.  Then unfortunately for the citizens, religious persecution prevailed.  Joseph Smith was first jailed and then shot resulting in a community of confusion.   Today it is a restored village run by the Community of Christ Church as a tourist site with the Church of Latter Day Saints having a historical site down the road.  A temple sits high on the hill overlooking the river and the "old town"  with the "new" town surrounding it.

Leaving the Mormon historical site after a leisurely walk through the area and a short movie, the group found that Mill Bakery high on the hill overlooking the valley was a necessity.  A huge thunder and rain storm raced across the river and "forced" apple fritters on everyone while trying to stay dry!1

After fueling -- the ride continued this time with strong winds gusting in all directions.  Fortunately for the route most of the gust blew east to west creating an interesting side wind when headed north and a wonderful tail wind when headed west.  We were in Illinois now and needed to crisscross the landscape to get to where we wanted to go and not ride the freeway.  Three miles of cross winds to be rewarded with ten miles of tailwind!!!  Not a bad life -- sit and sail at 25 miles per hour with no effort.

The countryside at this end of Illinois is flat and farm.  Most of the crops are corn with soybean sprinkled in.  With no tree lines to block the wind, storms just sail through.  A rain storm can come up very suddenly and leave as fast.  A perfect haven is a farm house front porch -- one that we took advantage of when lightning seemed to dot the skyline.  One such stop found a older woman at home very confused at first by the conversations and laughter coming from her front porch -- as she said once she saw us "oh my gosh, I thought something was wrong with me CD player.  It said it was off, but noise kept coming from it!!"  Guess we should record our sound!!!

Most of the day was spent either putting on rain gear or taking it off.  The skies played a game of changing clouds all day.  The winds stayed but as written earlier, mostly to the rear which made for a great ride with little effort.

Burlington is on the west side of the river, so a crossing was necessary over a bridge that arched over the river.  The winds howled as we pedaled our way and the bikes rattled with each gust forcing us to hang on tight.  The motel is on the far end of the town which allowed us to ride through some of the older sections.  Snake Alley is what Ripley's Believe It Or Not calls the "Crookedest Street in the World." Perhaps Burlington's most famous landmark, Snake Alley consists of five half-curves and two quarter-curves and drops 58 feet over a distance of 275 feet. The street is reminiscent of vineyard paths in France and Germany.

Tonight's dinner was spent on top of the bluff at the private home of a friend of one of our riders.  She was born and raised in Burlington and has hosted a dinner party for WomanTour groups for the last seven years -- this time being her first that she was also a rider.  Beautiful views!!!

First Crossing of the Day

Kathy at Nauvoo -- Joseph Smith, Jr's First House

Lois at Nauvoo -- the Joseph Smith, Jr.  Mansion House


Frankie, Kathy, Lois at "The Pink" lunch stop

Sue at Lunch

Scored Buffalo    =   Breaded Carp!!!

Mississippi River

Frankie Headed Up the Bridge

Bridge from Iowa Side!

Back in Iowa!

Kathy at the Picnic

Picnic View

The Group

The Group on the Edge!

Linda:  "Dinner is Ready Over There!!"