David Freeze Day 5: A wonderful ride with no troubles in metropolitan area

Published 12:01 am Saturday, August 6, 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 knew that today (Friday) was going to be a big challenge, mostly because of traffic issues. I was going to ride through a metropolitan area that totals somewhere near 400,000 people. I didn’t know the best way to do it, but again I wanted to ride along the Mississippi River as much as possible. I envisioned heavy traffic with rushing drivers and I knew that making the trip from 60-mile journey from Clinton to the end of Muscatine would be challenging.

But my worries were needless. Other than making a wrong guess early and ending up in a heavy industrial area with no way out but retrace my route, the complete ride through the cities of Bettendorf and Davenport, missing other neighbors across the river of Moline and Rock Island, was wonderful. I never had an issue, got a horn or an angry word. The ride down from Clinton where I spent last night, was on U.S. 67. Then it disappeared as I joined the best bike path I have ever seen. Virtually from one end of the city of Davenport to the other, I rode right next to the river with great views. When starting into town, I was pretty happy with the way things were going. A driver stopped beside me at a light and told me about the trail and I took it. Usually I don’t like those bike paths that towns have because they are hard to ride with crossing streets, driveways and dodging pedestrians. This one had none of that. I saw my first moving riverboat and marveled at how nice Davenport seemed, modern while rescuing history.

I pushed on to the south and asked for help on getting on State Road 22, another highway that follows the river. I passed through a heavy industrial area near Buffalo with quarrying, asphalt and grain storage. All of it seemed to use the river for shipping, although I have seen plenty of parked barges but no moving ones. The next towns up were Montpelier and Fairport, both small but beautiful.

Next up was Muscatine, a much bigger town of about 25,000. More beautiful views of the river as I left town, hoping to spend the night about 5 miles south of town. I called the Super 8 that Siri showed as one of two motels south of town. I got a great rate and promised to be there by 5 p.m. Stopping at a convenience store on U.S. 61 south of Muscatine, I mentioned the Super 8 and that my phone showed it just a couple miles ahead. She said she hadn’t heard of it, and it worried me. I followed the directions, made a U-turn on the right road, and heard “arrived” at a beautiful single family farm. I couldn’t believe it but thought it was odd to expect a nice motel on a nice highway but clearly in farm country.

The two motels listed as the nearest had closed, and I had a choice of pushing ahead for 30-plus miles or retreating to check two other hotels. One of those was closed and the other was a Travelodge back in Muscatine where I am spending the night. A very long day of 85 miles with about 10 wasted miles.

Tomorrow, I will retrace the route on U.S. 61 South on down to Burlington, Fort Madison and Keokuk, all still in Iowa and on the river.

Eric and Scott at Skinny Wheels are back sponsoring my journey again this year. They checked out the bike prior to the trip and continue to answer any questions while I’m on the road. It was a very long day today and I hope to get off the road a little earlier tomorrow. Keep riding along and sending those comments and prayers!