June 6: Dyersville, IA to Prairie du Chien, WI  48.2 miles

The day started with a perfect sun rise, warm air gently blowing from the southeast, and breakfast in the parking lot.  Immediately next door was the National Farm Toy Museum so it begged the question of why ride off without at least visiting such a site.  John Deer, Allis Chambers, Elbe -- all the name brands of farm implements only in miniature were displayed with videos explaining the change from era to era.  A nice diversion to the normal "push off".

After the history lesson it was "off and pedal" time!  Ten miles of gentle rolling hills surrounded us with the farmland of green carpet flowing over each rise and down into the next valley with exact precision.  An cow here or a barn there -- nothing really broke the countryside vista.  Ten miles out the rolling hills were now beginning to take on the hint of "hill" rather than gentle up and down as we approached the Mississippi River once again after a few days of riding far to the west.  We were entering the "bluff" areas that surround the river banks.  Each small town that we passed through had begun as a ferry port, or rest stop, or commerce port of the river.  The boat traffic with its large barges brought or took produce to other areas of the US.  With the advent of the railroad, much of the commerce traveled the Mississippi from the east only to be then transported west by rail.  These and many other towns flourished from the byproducts of such a business.   Today the river traffic still moves from town to town as it transports the wares to its customer.  

Also this area has a heavy German influence.  In the 18oo's the English had originally settled the area, but for some reason found it not to their likely.  Moving further west, the towns and its buildings were left to the next settler.  The Germans arrived, found the areas perfect for making a living and established the area as successful towns.

Towns, like New Vienna and Gutenburg, are today small, but successful river towns full of historical buildings and history.

After watching several barges come through a lock on the river in Gutenburg the ride became a challenge.  The people of town took one look at our mode of transportation and the direction we were riding and just laughed.  "Oh you have a hill ahead of you!" was the standard expression.  And they were right.  12% grade for about half, 10% for the remainder, the hill went up and up and up.  Right about the time you thought you couldn't inhale anymore, a curve happened and there was another rise!!  Push, pull, push, pull -- pray, beg, pray, beg -- down shift as far as the bike will go -- push, pull -- and then there it was -- the top!!!  Any thought of being cold, forget it.  Oh did I forget to say -- it started to drizzle and was looking a little black to the west.   But -- they all said "a hill ahead" so it was over.  Wrong -- down on long coast and then around the corner and there it was -- Mr. Big!  He made the first hill look like a mole on the skin.  So once again, shift, pull, push, breath, sweat, pull, push, pray, stare at the road surface about 10 feet in front.  The semis coming down the hill were laughing at us!!!  

Once again the top was there -- once again the heart began to beat at a normal beat -- once again the thought of quitting disappeared.  The rain was now picking up speed and the road surface was beginning to get slippery, but the road headed north with a tailwind, so what is a little wet, clammy feeling to stop a cyclist??

Around the last bend before entering the town of Macgregor was once again the God of Incline!!!  This time the road twisted and turned up the bluff in such a way that there was no way of knowing how long this climb would be.  One could only hang on and pedal!!  12% grade, 10% grade, down to 8% grade -- oh I can do this.  Just one more turn -- oh, no it is 12% again and there are two more turns that I can see!!

Over the top and down into town -- down at high speed, because the grade going up and the grade going down were the same.  With a blowing rain in the face, the thought of going fast disappeared, but at least there was no pedaling.  Just hang on, brake once in awhile, and sail!!

Lunch in Macgregor( the birth place of Augusta Ringling, the father of the American circus) before riding the last 5 miles over the bridge to Wisconsin and Prairie du Chien.  Another state line crossing!!  Rain doesn't stop this group -- but there definitely was a rush to the showers to warm up as soon as checking in to the motel.

Mississippi River View

Janet at Scenic River View

Scenic Overview From Above

The Three Musketeers!  (Frankie, Sue, Kathy)

New Vienna

Gutenburg Church

Gutenburg Locks

Barges at the Locks

Frankie at the Locks

Another View of the Locks

Mississippi River View with Road Climb on the Horizon


Gutenburg Lock House

MacGregor Coach Building Factory

MacGregor Main Street

Carol and JoAnn at Lunch!!!  Happy People!  Full People!!  Warm People