Tuesday, June 30th, 2009
Cedar Rapids, IA to Cedar Falls, IA (73 mi / 117 km)
The car ride from Illinois City, IL to Cedar Rapids was about 1 1/2 hours. It was beautiful country.
We were dropped off at the trail head in Hiawatha, just outside of Cedar Rapids.
There were some signs about part of the trail being closed, but the signs were old. So we went on the website to find some info, but of course we didn’t find anything.
We said thanks to Bret and headed on our way.
We are constantly amazed at how generous people are: Bret drove us a couple of hours out of his way to put us on the right trail. I have no idea why people are kind and giving to us, but we have experienced this time and time again.
It was a very windy day. We started on the trail and were making good time.
The first few miles of the trail were black top, but then it was compact limestone mix. The sign had said mile 28 was still out. We had passed that mile and were on about 30, when the road was blocked off.
It looked very permanent. We weren’t really sure how to go around it. Woohoo for an iPhone!
We start heading out and the road is loose gravel. I’ve already fallen at this point and am not really excited about falling again.
We follow a route it takes us across a river and on to more gravel roads with hills.
So we turn around and head back and head to a new road.
This is very frustrating.
It is cool and windy and we feel far from the trail. Which of course we are because the trail is blocked.
We finally come to a town and see the trail again. We stop at a hole in the wall bar and grill and are starving.
This was more of a bar than grill. Service isn’t really there. We order hamburgers and I ask for how it is cooked.
She said that it was only the George Foreman grill. So there wasn’t even a grill in the bar and grill. We ate quickly and got back in the trail.
We go another 15 miles and come to another road closed sign. We decide that we should look for a way through. We were nearing 55 miles at this point. A local guy said that the bridge was out. Nate went to check it out and of course the bridge was out.
So here’s the story: last year there were terrible floods and washed out a lot of the trail and area. The trail is made over the railroads and parts were just destroyed. Some people said that gaps as deep as houses were there.
We took some paved side roads and made our way in urban trekking.
We saw others go where it didn’t look like we could go and followed. We bike through some shady looking streets in Waterloo and were trying to find some elusive trails.
We knew we were on the right track and finally made our way to Cedar Falls and to Seth and Holly’s house.
73 miles was tough. The day felt never ending.
We contacted Seth and Holly through couch surfing and they quickly responded that they had a room!
They both work at the University of Northern Iowa, which is just a mile away. They are warm and welcoming and we had a blast. They have 2 cats, Gizmo and Pixel.
I could barely keep my eyes open. I turned the water on hot and took a nice long shower. We had an awesome dinner of steak and fresh corn on the cob. Did I mention I was tired. We stayed up talking and then crashed.
Seth and Holly are a lot of fun. If you ever go to Cedar Rapids you’d be lucky to stay with them.