June 5:  Maquoketa to Dyersville, IA  64.26 miles

Route 61 sits literally out our motel window with semis and cars buzzing by at high speed trying to get to who knows where -- but they are in a hurry!!  The much celebrated decision of the morning was to circumvent the highway and add a few miles onto the trip.  We rode under the highway, along side the highway, and then very quickly rode across the highway -- but didn't have to deal with the traffic.  We found a frontage road that served just fine to get us out of town!

When the sun rose up over the horizon there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  The wind was null and the day looked so promising.  Wishful thinking!!  By the time the oatmeal was consumed and the tires inflated, the clouds had rejoined us with the wind building from a mild breeze to a full scale gust!  Oh well -- it could have been a perfect day!

However, putting the wind aside -- it was a perfect day.  The terrain is rolling hills now for as far as anyone can see.  The downs aren't quite steep enough to produce a carefree ride up the next hill, but it is fun to try.  The wind wasn't as strong as yesterday but still teased us as we rode.  Coming once again out of the northwest it was in our face more than in our back, but once in awhile it would be there to push rather than block the motion.  

There were only two town today to speak of.  Cascade was the first and offered a quaint small cafe in the center of village (pop. 2000) that served the closest thing we have seen to latte -- accompanied by an excellent quiche.  Nothing like a little nourishment when on the road!!

Farley (pop. 1400) was the next and calls itself the "Heart of the Corn belt"!  Some town in Illinois may disagree with that, but who are we to disagree!  

Both of these town exemplify the meaning of "Heartland Farm Community".  Each has its personality -- its uniqueness -- its homey sense.  While maybe small, they both have a big warm feeling.

The "big" tourist site today was the Field of Dreams.  Yes, that famous baseball field that was a movie back in 1986 with Kevin Costner.  The place was originally a family farm from the early twentieth century.  Hollywood discovered it when looking for the perfect spot and now it is a tourist "trap".  Interesting is that there are two souvenir shops on site.  One feeds its profit to the maintenance of the farmstead and the grounds and the family that still owns it-- the other is a private run shop by an investment bank!  

In Dyersville there is the St Francis Xavier Basilica, one of only 52 Basilicas in the US.  The twin-spired church with 64 stain glass windows is considered one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic architecture in the Midwest.  Who would have expected something so massive and beautiful in a little town (pop. 4020) in Iowa.  The other claim to fame here is the National Farm Toy Museum.  Apparently at one point in history this town was the home to three toy factories.

The route today between all this history was a road of roller coaster proportion with its countryside covered with farms, fields, streams, and an occasional cattle herd.  The air was punctuated with the fragrances of open farmland.  Hog farms, cattle herds, goats, -- nature was at its best providing us with the joys of "fresh air"  The other "extra" was the annoyance of the red wing black birds.  Seems they have a fancy for the helmet!!  Dive bombing several of us in an attempt to peck at the shiny surface was not appreciated by anyone.  The birds made barking dogs seem a relief to the ride. 

Tonight it is at the Super 8 Motel along Route 20 -- the only motel in town!!  This place will never be the same again!! 

Frankie on a Roller

Judy and Holly With Lattes


And More Rollers!!

Kathy & Frankie Racing Up the Rollers!

Field of Dreams Sign

Frankie in the Field of Dreams

Kathy in the Field of Dreams

Downtown Dyersville

Kathy in Dyersville

St Francis Xavier Basilica