I’m officially west of the Mississippi River! I woke up this morning in Cambridge and was on the road by 6. The sun made the corn a gloriously toasty orange color. I absolutely love riding as the sun comes up. There is little I want to do more than sleep at 5am, but by the time the first little rays start tickling my eyelashes, I’m generally excited for the day!
The route out of Cambridge was easy, and the scenery rather stunning. Here is a very determined tree I saw early on:
The colors in the morning are unreal. You feel like you are in technicolor! I’ve been very lucky with the weather recently, so I want to document for myself how wonderful it is to ride in… one day down the line when I wake up to drizzle, I can at least think about the beautiful orange/yellow corn at sunrise!
This airplane was spraying the crops with some chemical (hmm) but the beauty came in how much fun the pilot was having. At first I thought he or she was practicing aerials because I saw the plane zooming around and making big turns. Only as I got closer did I see that they were spraying the fields. I think the pilot was having a fair bit of fun though, because instead of making wide turns to just get back to the spraying, they would make big loops and turns before dropping back down over the fields. It provided nice entertainment, if not the best breathing conditions.
I passed through only a few towns today, and only stopped in one. On my map, Buffalo Prairie is listed as having only a post office. I was delighted to see Reason’s Deli as I passed through! I stopped in and talked with the lady working there. Apparently Reason is pronounced more like raisin, and apparently the Reasons of Buffalo Prairie are a tough little family! They are doing wonderfully at their deli. I was encouraged to tell all my friends about their place, so please, if you ever find yourself in Buffalo Prairie, do stop by Reason’s and the Post Office!
I had planned on going about 20 miles past Muscatine, but again the weather was hot, and my leg muscle was starting to chirp at me. Around Buffalo Prairie, I made the decision that I would find a hotel in Muscatine and relax for the afternoon and evening. I figured these cows had the right idea – keep cool. From Buffalo Prairie it was only about 16 miles to Muscatine, and nearly the whole way I was dreaming about watermelon.
Around 2:30 I crossed the Mississippi into Iowa! This is the view from the Iowa side. The Mississippi River has so much symbolism attached to it in American history, I think I became a bit pensive as I crossed it. From its role in international trade pre-America, to the Civil War, Mark Twain and Manifest Destiny, many fundamental ideas are tied to the river. On top of that, for the past few mornings I’ve been singing “City of New Orleans” to myself. I think it started when I went past Kankakee… Anyway. Seeing the Mississippi was awesome.
After finding a hotel (and getting a discount for biking!), I went on an adventure to find watermelon. I succeeded!
This evening I also took an amazing bath with Epsom Salts as recommended by Mama and watched some of the Olympics coverage that I’ve been missing out on!
Back to camping tomorrow, but hopefully I’ll find a public library along the way!