For awhile, it looked like this was going to be a repeat of Friday. The morning began with a string of thunderstorms passing through the area, and I waffled back and forth over whether I should just stay in Strawberry Point with my mother one more day.
Once the storms cleared out around noon and I had decided to go on for the day, I was facing a headwind. Just like Friday.So once again I was going from town to town and taking breaks, but then the day differentiated itself from Friday, much to my delight.
First of all, the wind was not as strong as it was on Friday. In fact, at some points it seemed almost calm, although at other times the gusts were very strong. And just 30 miles into the ride I made a right-hand turn out of the partial headwind to a partial tailwind. And just a few miles after that I had a 600 foot descent to the Mississippi River.
All of these things made the day’s biking pleasant. There was some climbing, sure, and the headwinds I faced weren’t all that nice. But all in all it was a good day.
When I stopped to check my map in the little town of Colesburg, about halfway through my day, I was approached by another bike tourist. He had started in Washington, D.C., and was headed to Vancouver. He wanted to know when Iowa would become the flat coutryside he had heard so much about, and was tired of the Mississippi hills.
Because of my late start, I knew I would not be able to go all the way to Plattesville, as I had initially planned for today, so I decided to go about halfway, to Cassville, WI. This meant a short day, distance-wise, so when I was approaching the Mississippi from the Iowa side and I saw the PromiseLand Winery, I knew I had a little extra time so I stopped for a glass. It turned out they had food as well, so I got a pizza and a second glass of local wine, and that became the second winery of my trip, after the one I visited in Eugene, Oregon with my hosts Dan and Samantha.In northeast Iowa, there are not many bridges across the Mississippi. In fact, at one point there is a 60-mile stretch of river with no bridges at all, and so a ferry carries cars (and bikes!) across the river to Cassville. I thought it would be fun to take a ferry, since it is unusual. It is the first of three ferries that I will take on my trip, the other two being across Lake Michigan and then across the St. Clair River into Canada. So that’s one ferry into Wisconsin, a second ferry out of Wisconsin and into Michigan, and a third ferry out of Michigan and into Ontario. The ferry into Cassville was very interesting, and I got to talking with one of the employees who operates the ferry. He said it can fit up to 12 cars at a time, and they have had two semis at once, or 50 motorcycles. There are a few cyclists that take the ferry, but not as many as I thought — he said I was the third or fourth cyclist he has seen this season.
Since I was unexpectedly staying in Cassville tonight, I needed somewhere to spend the night, and it turned out that the captain of the ferry runs the Upper Mississippi River Adventures B&B in Cassville with his wife, and they had a vacancy. So in addition to the ferry ride, I got a place to stay!