David Freeze Day 4: Feasting on anything not tied down

Published 12:02 am Friday, August 5, 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.

I can’t stop eating! Today was a challenge from the start when I left Dubuque, Iowa, and wanted to follow the Mississippi River.

My motel was on U.S. 61 and I needed to go east to get on U.S. 52. I have a wonderful cycling map from Iowa provided by the welcome center. It provides excellent detail on roads, paved or not, and those that are restricted from cyclists. Yes, Iowa has lots of gravel roads in this area.

On U.S. 61, I turned east on county road D55, riding through quaint and beautiful La Motte. Clearly a farming community, the farm equipment business was booming. Not much else was moving. I pedaled a very hilly road until it intersected with U.S. 52, a National Scenic Byway and part of the Great River Road. When close to the river I got great views, and when not, I got endless challenging hills.

Bellevue was the first real town today and celebrated its location with a continuous river storm park along Main Street. One area honored the Civil War soldiers who first loaded on riverboats in 1862. I ate a huge lunch at the park overlooking Dam No. 12, one of the many dams that help control the river.

My next goal was Clinton, Iowa, famous for the sawmill industry and the logs that were sent down the river to be made into boards. My motel is close to the Clinton waterfront park, near where the Clinton riverboat was parked and a baseball game was being played in the stadium. Bellevue has about 2,500 residents while Clinton has 25,000. Clinton also has three astronauts.

I am spending the night in Clinton after a day of hard riding and 71 miles. I added about 20 miles by following the river and not the most direct route. On the menu is watermelon, red potatoes, pasta, oatmeal cookies, plenty of water and anything else not tied down.

Other highlights of the day were a visit with some dairy cows after milking, a long performance by a crop duster who was flying low across the road on each pass, and a perfectly working cyclometer.

It’s going to get hot the next couple days as I venture farther south. I will be on the river again in the morning and very early hopefully passing through Bettendorf, Davenport and Muscatine where the roads leave the river for a while. I will pick up U.S. 61 and follow it back to the river in Burlington, Iowa, where I will likely spend the night. That should be the last full day in Iowa, a state of no trash, beautiful corn and farms and friendly people.

Once again, I’m lucky to have some of the same sponsors who have supported the bike adventures each year. Back again, year after year, is Father and Son Produce. Stop by and see Tim and Linda and get some of the best and freshest produce around.

All the food is gone, finished while I wrote this. I will be back tomorrow reporting on hopefully another good ride, and more people and river views. Until then!