Sunday, June 28th, 2009
Burlington, IA to Muscatine, IA (55 mi / 89 km)
Morning – stopped seven times before successfully getting out of town. Amy’s tire went flat, nice guy asked if we needed anything.
It is frustrating getting up at the crack of dawn and then having slow going.
We finally seemed to be getting out of town, but it was a very windy day.
Up hill and into the wind. Not a lot of fun, but this would be a theme for us during our time in Iowa.
We stopped at an Indian Burial Mound about 25 miles from Muscatine. These are dated from the 1st and 2nd centuries. Pretty cool.
We keep biking and pull into a look-out point about 10 miles later. Nathan heads down to the look-out point and I just try and catch some shade. A car pulls in after me and a woman pops out and asks if I am part of the Muscatine bike club century ride. I said no, my husband and I are on a cross-country tour. Nathan returns and she offers us sandwiches. At this point we are very confused.
Char turns out to be the “lunch lady” for the bike club that day and puts out an amazing spread! We enjoy ourselves sandwiches and other wonderful goodies. Much better than a Clif bar.
Char had picked up an injured rider, Bill, and we hope that he’s okay.
After about 40 minutes the other riders show up and we start to head out. With all of our gear and about 20 miles left, the riders all offer us luck and good wishes.
We head up and make pretty good time in the wind. I can’t explain the strength of the wind this day. The wind was between 20 and 25 mph. We were glad to be loaded down, because we didn’t get as blown around the road.
This is one of the few times that a heavier bike is good.
We make it into Muscatine in about 1 1/2 hours and stop at a Taco John’s. I grew up with Taco John’s and was quite excited to have some hashbrowns and a chocotaco. Yes, chocotaco.
A woman comes in and asks if we need rescuing and if we’ve seen her husband. We said we were fine and asked who her husband was. We didn’t recognize the name. We had a couch surfing contact in town. Muscatine is a small place and so Paulette knew our CS person and said that if it didn’t work out we could stay with her. Char also offered her place.
We said our good byes and then headed down to the Mississippi and chilled out for the afternoon.
We hadn’t heard from our contact and were getting nervous as it was later in the afternoon.
At about 7 pm, we were nervous so I called Paulette and she sent her husband Bret to come and pick us up.
In the park we had an interesting conversation with some Mormon missionary boys all dressed up. They just asked us about our trip and left a card for us to check out their church after our trip. They were really cool guys.
There also were some Latino guys starting a big game. Five on five. Then the Mormon boys walked over in their slacks, dress shirts, and ties. Nathan and I were very intrigued at what would happen next. The Mormon boys are asked to play. I think that the guys were just messing with them and that it was going to be disastrous. But it wasn’t. Mormon boys all dressed up were really fun to watch and held their own.
Bret shows up and we definitely recognized him from the ride. Bret takes us to pick up fast food. Bret road 115 miles that day and we’d only done 55. All of us were pretty tired.
Bret and Paulette live across the river in Illinois and have some acres just up the road from where Bret grew up. He works at the energy plant and is a farmer. Paulette works in medical administration at a doctors’ office.
We are welcomed and they are also United Methodists. That is the church we were married in and attended until very recently. We are quite at home.
We ask if we can stay at their house for a rest day and the avoid the wind which is supposed to be even worse.
I love that we are basically strangers and they openly welcome us to rest at their home and offer their food and coffee and a place to rest. We head off to bed (in a real bed) feeling very blessed indeed.