Day 30: Elkader, IA – Lansing, IA

Quick iPad post, so no pictures yet. Today was “brutifull,” a new word I just made up. πŸ™‚ I got a great start after coffee with Mike, truck driver, father of 10, grandfather of 18. Then I had an inspirational conversation with Gene and Verne, two regulars at the Elkader campground. Gene is in his 80s, but acts like a young spring chicken. Verne, aka peg leg, is a younger father whose son always wants to adopt puppies. We became fast friends!

I will write about the riding when I have better Internet, but today I almost saw the Effigy Mounds, I did see an awesome thunderstorm, and also saw multiple bald eagles soaring after the storm. That was something phenomenal! I also learned how to weave a basic basket, climbed too many hills without shoulders, and heard a drunk man state that, “the river (the Mississippi) wasn’t here when I was born, and this is my home town!” (about Lansing… Which is right on the river… There may be an interesting history of the Mississippi I need to learn!)

For now, off to find my campground! More to come!

Back! Writing from the comfort of my Warm Showers house in Winona, MN with a few pictures from Day 30 to upload:

This is the morning view from Farmersburg, where I stopped to wait out whatever would materialize. I went into the only public place I saw, the local tavern. Inside were maybe 8 old men, some playing pinocle, others sitting around drinking coffee. When I walked in, they asked if I was there to play (jokingly) and I told them that they really didn’t want me to, since I was the national pinocle champion! I had my morning coffee, and when the storm passed, set back out on my way.

After Marquette, I took a side trip to Effigy Mounds. There is supposedly a series of short hikes that allow you to see the mounds as well as provide great birding. Unfortunately for me, I arrived with a big thunderstorm. Instead of hiking, I learned some basket weaving from the park Rangers. It was an awesome diversion and it made waiting so much easier! I told them I’ll be back to do the hiking just as soon as I can. πŸ™‚

Leaving the National Monument, I climbed and climbed on steep hills with little to no shoulder. Just when I thought I was done, I’d round a turn and let out an audible, “Are you serious!?” I thought about calling Vijay for a pep talk, but there was no cell service. I imagined my pep talk, and just kept going. The view at the top was totally worth it. The last bits of clouds were rolling by, and it was surprisingly dark considering it was only about 3pm. The air was really clean and much cooler than in the past few days.

While biking in Indiana, I was chased by dogs numerous times. I think I mentioned it in a previous post, but the first few times I found it to be rather terrifying. I wasn’t so scared of being bitten so much as one of the pups getting in front of me and causing me to either run it over, or crash my bike, or both. Just as I came to the crest of a hill, I heard barking. Then I saw this guy come dashing toward me. I was absolutely exhausted from climbing, and decided not to try my normal tactic of just biking as quickly as possible in a straight line until the dog stopped chasing me. Instead, I stopped to take a picture. He was barking up a storm, but quite cute and not threatening. He even looks a bit like what I imagine Noodles will look like!

Before I know it, 4 more dogs show up! Here I start to get more concerned. I’m sorry I didn’t stay to take a picture, but I kid you not, not 10 seconds after I took this picture, up run another 6ish. I was surrounded by dogs! They were all barking and running around me, but not bothering me. I was just standing there taking pictures. I’m concerned that their owners didn’t seem to notice/mind at all. Lucky I’m on a bike and not in a car! When I did decide it was time to hop (soon after the other 6 arrived!), I had a heck of a time trying to navigate around the sea of puppies! They looked decently fed and perhaps used for either herding or hunting (the house had cows), but I really hope the owner(s) take care to keep them away from the street when cars go zooming past!

Finally, coming into Lansing I saw this gigantic coal fired power plant. The most amazing thing for me was that heap of coal! I asked in Lansing how many towns this plant serves, but I wasn’t able to get an answer. Oh coal…

So writing in retrospect, the campground I thought I was going to was not in fact the same as what existed. It was fine, but just a generic campground. $10 for my tiny little camp spot, but at least I had the sound of a brook to fall asleep to. Because I didn’t have cell service or internet, I went to bed at 8. Glorious!

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2 Responses to Day 30: Elkader, IA – Lansing, IA

  1. Chuck Lowery says:

    Hello Flavi and Happy Birthday Maria! Quite a party.

    I read several days’ worth of your entries on Wednesday and now I’m back for more. Your compelling writing and unique experiences really draw me into your adventure. Continued safe journey and I look forward to more reports. I have family in Oklahoma if you’re heading that way. I know they’d be glad to welcome you. Let me know if you want any contact there.

    (spoiled with moderate weather in Southern California)

  2. Alison Pirie says:

    Onward to Minnesota!!

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