David Freeze’s Mississippi River adventure: A long day of driving, a great afternoon of sightseeing

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Editor’s note: David Freeze is cycling along the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa, to New Orleans. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net.


After nearly 1,000 miles of driving over two days, I got to Dubuque, Iowa just before 2 p.m. Central Time. I had a little over three  hours to do some serious sightseeing, so I stopped right away at the welcome center where Michelle Rahe took me on a verbal tour of everything I could take in. I left with plenty to do over the next two days.

I went immediately to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, the perfect place to start my own Mississippi River adventure. I saw the William M. Black river dredge, a huge ship meant to deepen the massive river. It reminded me of an early military ship with barracks and officer’s quarters. There were sting rays to touch and an alligator to see along with all the history of people, ships, equipment and trade that I could imagine. I spent two hours there and could have stayed for much longer.

I talked to a staff person and asked about other things to see in the city of about 60,000 people. She said, “Don’t miss the elevator company!” I went right to it, a place and a cable car that reminded me of San Francisco. Started in 1882 by a banker who wanted to take a nap at noon, and couldn’t because it took too long to drive his horse and buggy around the streets for lunch. But once granted the right to build the cable car, the banker soon got his nap at lunch and a bunch of neighbors who also used the car. It’s still in use today on super steep hillside above the Mississippi.

I found a motel at the right price, $39.00, and it’s on the way to the Field of Dreams movie site where I will bike to tomorrow after turning in the car at the airport that is just three miles  away. I’m also planning to visit Dyarsville, the nearest town to the baseball field, which is also taken by the baseball interest that the movie started when filmed in 1989. The major league game planned annually at the site is set for next week and Fox Sports is already on site. Locals are hoping that Kevin Costner returns for this year’s game.

Likely it will be a long day of cycling and it will be hot here, but that’s OK. This visit will hopefully set the tone for the rest of a wonderful trip along the river.

I’m yet to ride the bike but can’t wait to start. As always, I hope you will all enjoy riding with me for the next several weeks!