Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Is this heaven? No it's Iowa - Keokuk Iowa

Day 15 - Oquawka, Illinois to Baymont Inn and Suites,  Keokuk Iowa - 68.7 miles

Field of Dreams is one of my favourite movies, and one of my favourite lines is:  "Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa."  So of course when the opportunity to cross the river and touch foot in Iowa presented itself we had to take it!  Tonight we will sleep in Iowa.  Many family members have expressed concerns about our trip through tornado alley, so we decided to book a hotel room, dry out and connect with family to reassure all that we are safe.  The MRT route has done a fantastic job of directing us along back country quiet roads...the result is we have not been able to find wifi to email family and provide daily blog updates.

Our morning began with a visit to an 1887 civil war monument in Oquawka honouring 200 soldiers who were killed in the civil war.  As we struggle to make mileage each and every day we often find ourselves commenting on the vast distances that soldiers travelled to fight wars....how long they must have been away from home and without the conveniences we have - high tech raingear, fast food and a VISA card.  It is quite sobering to think of the hardships these men must have faced.

Civil War Monument - Oquawka

We moved on and were delighted by a quick visit to the Henderson County Covered Bridge.

Henderson County Covered Bridge

The MRT route took many twists and turns along back country roads.  We saw the effects of yesterday's storm- many fields were flooded and roads were closed.

As we stopped for lunch at Jenni's Ice Cream and Grill in Lomax we enjoyed meeting a veteran who worked at Lock and Dam 18.  He explained there are 24 locks and dams along the river.  We thought they were part of a flood control system, but he told us that in fact their job is to keep commercial traffic moving.  We were also surprised to learn that there is no charge to go through the locks. 

The afternoon found us spending time along Main Street in Nauvoo - a must see if you are taking the MRT.  Nauvoo was founded by Joseph Smith and members of the Mormon community.  The history is really interesting and the temple is breathtaking.

Nauvoo Temple - Mississippi River Trail
As we left Nauvoo we enjoyed a beautiful stretch into Hamilton....the entire distance we travelled along the river...racing a barge to the next set of locks.  Just as we approached the bridge to cross to Iowa, Rob blew another inner tube!  As I update the blog, Rob is working on repairing the inner tube, but it looks like he needs a new tire.  Rob said, "I can't believe I only got 2000 miles out of this $12 tire.  I sure am glad the bike came with one year of free tuneups - too bad I am so far away from the bike shop."

Barge traffic on the Mississippi River

We are hoping he can make temporary repairs to get us 30 miles down the road to a bike shop in Quincy.

Giggle of the day:

We decided to treat ourselves to Chinese take out....comfort food during the bike repair session.  Rob asked for chopsticks....the owner was shocked at the request and said, "really - you can eat with chopsticks?"  She was thrilled!

View Bicycling directions to Keokuk, IA, USA in a larger map