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Hudson, Iowa to Geneseo, Illinois

This chapter was written and sent on the internet from the Ewe-Nique Bed & Breakfast in Geneseo, Illinois.

May 14, Thursday
Bill had a flat tire leaving the motel, but then we rode into the town of Cedar Falls mostly on paved bike trails. Cedar Falls/Waterloo are adjoining cities with another terrific greenway system. We met with the Chamber of Commerce and city newspaper before leaving town. Joining us today was Jim Newcomer, a local trail supporter. Jim rides a tandem bike with a silent partner — a life size plastic deer decoy named John. (John Deere has five plants in the city.) Johnis front legs rest on the handlebars while on his back legs he wears spandex riding shorts and his legs are attached and turn with the pedals. His head and antlers peer over Jim's shoulder as they ride down the road and he makes quite a few heads turn.

We passed the northernmost point on the ADT today in George Wyth State Park. Heading south on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail we encountered south winds gusting to 30 mph.

We ended the day in La Porte City, stopping first at its bakery. Even though they were officially closed, the friendly owners welcomed us in. After chatting a minute with them, they got the newspaper next door to interview us and gave us each a free donut. We next met with the Mayor, Jim Lewis, for a little bit. These friendly small towns really add to the enjoyment of our trip.

40.7 miles, 10.8 mph, 3 hours, 43 minutes, 1195 miles total

May 15, Friday
We returned to the La Porte City Bakery for breakfast. After we had eaten, the owners said, iItis on the house.i It almost makes us want to move here the people have been so nice!

We continued our ride down the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. Today was quite warm with high humidity. We again had a strong south wind but the rail trail is bordered by trees on both sides most of the way, so we were barely affected by it. A large dog ran alongside us for almost five miles, reaching speeds of 18 mph. Finally, we stopped at the Glory Hole Quarry and told him to iStay.i To our surprise, the dog stayed put and quit following us.

We rode into Center Point and the home of Tom Neenan, head of the Iowa Trails Council and ADT Coordinator for Iowa. After showers and lunch we drove 5 1/2 hours south (in Tomis car) to Columbia, Missouri to attend the ADT Society spring board meeting.

We had fun that night seeing all the state coordinators we had gotten to know last year and that we had seen at the fall board meeting. We also met Brian Stark, a 26 year old man from Nashville, IN. Brian is running the ADT from coast to coast, having started at Cape Henlopen, DE on March 8th. He is doing well and making good time, having reached Santa Claus, IN before being picked up by West Virginiais coordinator, Lu Schrader, so he could attend the board meeting as a guest. Brain is a great guy and we had fun trading trail stories and we gave him some contacts for further west.

26.5 miles, 10.6 mph, 2 hours, 29 minutes, 1222 miles total

May 16, Saturday
We spent the day attending the ADTS board meeting and eating two great meals. Even trails have an administrative side. In order for them to be on the ground, they have to start as an idea and be followed up by a lot of hard work by volunteers. The ADT exists today because of a dedicated group of excellent trail advocates who had the vision and worked countless hours to see it happen.

May 17, Sunday
Darwin Hindman, ADT coordinator for Missouri and mayor of Columbia was our host for the weekend. Darwin, along with investment broker Edward Jones, were responsible for establishing the Katy Trail, which extends for 185 miles from St. Charles to Sedalia. Darwin had arranged for a bike ride (we thought we would do some biking on our day off!) down the 8.5 mile MKT Trail from Columbia to Hindman Junction at the Katy Trail. From there we rode 8 more miles to finish at Rocheport. Even though we were riding unfamiliar bikes, they felt like ijetbikesi as we carried no panniers, water, or anything. It was a lot of fun as 10 of us made the trip. This was one of our favorite sections on the Katy Trail that we rode last year.

On our car ride home, we stopped for dinner at a restaurant in the Amana Colonies. These villages were settled by Germans in the 1850is. They lived communally until 1932 and the iGreat Change.i Thereafter each family owned its own home. The colonies thrived over the years and are now one of Iowa's big tourist attractions.

May 18, Monday
Tom Neenan, PR manager supreme, had a newspaper reporter from Cedar Rapids come out to interview us before we left. We said goodbye to Tom & Eileen and rode to the end of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail near Cedar Rapids where Tom had arranged for us to meet Roy Watkins. Also there was a reporter from KGAN, a TV station, who did a quick interview. It was a bit intimidating having a TV camera about one foot from your face as we answered the usual trail questions. Roy then rode with us through Cedar Rapids to the beginning of the Hoover Nature Trail.

While in Cedar Rapids, we stopped in the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. Even though it is normally closed on Mondays, Roy tapped on the door until he roused David Muhlena, the librarian, who gave us a personal tour of a most interesting museum which displays Czech & Slovak history, dress, and immigration to the United States. Their website address is Not far from there we rode through a Czech village, stopping at the Sykora Bakery. After getting on the Hoover Nature Trail, we got hammered by the weather again, this time with temperatures in the high 80is and more strong south headwinds. We seemed to be drinking gallons of water to no avail. Parts of this trail are not yet completed so we had to use roads in those areas. We spent the night in West Branch, the hometown of our 31st president, Herbert Hoover, after stopping to tour his birth home (a two room house), village, and gravesite.

54.3 miles, 10.4 mph average, 5 hours, 9 minutes, 1276 miles total

May 19, Tuesday
Only small parts of the Hoover Nature Trail were complete, so we ended up mainly on roads today. We had made it through West Liberty and into Muscatine by noon, so we stopped at the Maid-Rite Sandwich Shop for a milk shake. This turned out to be the cafe that Roseanne patterned her TV showis restaurant after since she and her then husband Tom Arnold lived near here and would stop in. A call to Charlie Harper, owner of the local bike shop and president of the Hoover Nature Trail soon brought a reporter and a representative from the Chamber of Commerce down to meet us, seemingly within minutes. Here in Muscatine we got our first view of the Mississippi River, a sight we relished as a feeling of accomplishment.

We followed the Mississippi upriver to Davenport where we had made arrangements to stay with Laurieis cousin, Kevin Brohm and his wife, Julie. Since we arrived in town a bit early, we stopped in a riverboat casino and won $7 on quarter slots to pass the time. You can tell weire really big time gamblers.

Later that evening we met Vern Gielow, a local trail supporter, plus a man from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and a representative from the Quad Cities Convention Center. As we leave Iowa, we know we have done more press interviews in this state than the rest of out trip put together.

61.6 miles, 12.6 mph average, 4 hours, 51 minutes, 1338 miles total

May 20, Wednesday
Off to an early start since Kevin and Julie leave for work early, we crossed the Mississippi River and entered Illinois. We followed the Great River Trail through Moline and stopped to eat breakfast in a small diner. Many of the patrons noticed us as bikers when we entered and asked us a few questions about our trip. Suddenly, Bill saw our friend and the Illinois state ADT coordinator, Harv Hisgen, riding down the road to meet us. Bill jumped up and ran out of the cafe yelling for Harv so he wouldnit miss us, while all the customers were startled and assumed someone was trying to steal our bikes. Bill returned with Harv and we explained to everyone what happened as we settled down to breakfast.

Back on the road, Harv rode with us to the start of the Hennepin Canal Trail and then returned to his car to meet us further down. The Hennepin Canal trail is a grass covered towpath which will be crushed stone or paved some time in the future. We rode for about two miles through a bumpy but newly mowed lane when we came to an abrupt end of our path. The canal had obviously previously crossed the Green River on an aqueduct that no longer existed. Trying to circumvent this problem, we first pushed our bikes through a newly plowed cornfield on the left but when it became obvious it was not the route, we tried another cornfield on the right. After about 1/2 mile we reached a road although by now the threatened rain had begun to fall. Bypassing this incomplete section on road, we met up with Harv and decided to give the towpath another try. Unfortunately, this grass had not been mowed and the tall weeds bumped against our panniers and slowed our progress. Next we encountered several fallen trees which we had to lift our bikes over and then softer mud which squished under our tires. The rain continued as we reached a road crossing and Harv went for sodas as we repaired a flat tire on Billis bike caused by a 2i thorn. When Harv returned, thunder clapped and the rain intensified. We decided enough was enough and we headed into the town of Geneseo to find a B&B (called the Ewe-Nique, they greeted these wet, weary travelers with big towels.) After a hot shower, laundry, and some rest, the day began to brighten.

37.7 miles, 10.6 mph average, 3 hours, 31 minutes, 1376 miles total

© Copyright, William & Laurel Foot, 1998, Lynchburg, VA.
The Happy Feet

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