David Freeze: Getting started on the bike again!

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 27, 2023

Editor’s note: David Freeze is cycling along the Mississippi River. This is part two of his adventure, riding from Dubuque, Iowa back to the source in Minnesota. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

It’s become a summer tradition, this bike adventure thing. Until just a few days ago, I wasn’t sure when and exactly where I would go. I needed to finish the upper 600 miles along the Mississippi River, from Dubuque, Iowa, back to the source in Minnesota. I committed to ride as close as possible to the actual river from the source to New Orleans. More on the second part of the trip later.

The next step was to drive to Dubuque, Iowa, again, just as I did last year before heading south. I took very close to the same route and made much better time driving this year, free of construction delays. I made about 600 miles driving on Monday, ending in Indianapolis and at the Gateway Motel. I won’t say much about that night and will save it for the book. There is a distinct story to tell, some not fit for the Post. If you go there, don’t stay at the Gateway Motel, no matter what they promise.

I had 380 more miles to drive on Tuesday, and began that journey before daylight, arriving in Dubuque before noon thanks to the extra hour I got by entering the central time zone. On my mind was not just to make Dubuque, but to ride in the afternoon. I am not a great planner, but can usually pull things together by the seat of my pants and some luck.

My original plan was to make town and immediately stop at the visitor center to get the scoop on following the Mississippi north. I discovered that the wonderful visitor center has been closed, so I grabbed one map I had left over and asked Siri for some help.

By the way, I saw gas as low as 3.18 and as high as $3.85, again the highest was in Illinois. I bought the $3.18 in Indianapolis.

I dropped the car at the Dubuque airport, loaded up the bike and headed north. I had toured Dubuque last year so I left the airport and followed Siri’s advice on how to get to Guttenberg, Iowa, on a bike. She wanted to beat me up on Iowa hills and did. I passed through New Vienna and Luxembourg, both very small but with huge, dominating churches at the top of long hills.

Siri now puts an elevation profile on a bike route. She failed to show the worst hill that resulted in a scenic overlook and my first view of the Mississippi and some awesome honey from Carol O’Brien from Cedar Creek Apiaries. I got to sample three flavors of honey and she gave me a small bottle that I will use for needed energy.

Then on into the find of the day, Guttenberg, Iowa. I am staying at the Guttenberg Motel, owned by Dave and Patty Schwarz. Patty is the president of the local chamber of commerce. Guttenberg is a very old German town right on the river. Main Street is next to the river and very historic. Guttenberg was voted America’s Rivertown of the Year last year, and has been named eight times as one of the 25 prettiest towns. The Germanfest has been rated as one of the 20 best festivals in the nation.

Tomorrow, I plan to follow the River Road north, even though it doesn’t get close to river much. I hope to get near to crossing into Minnesota after 51 challenging miles this afternoon.

For the first day on the bike this time, I had a blast but my legs had to go right to work. They are ready for a good night’s sleep. I discovered a fantastic Kwik Star convenience store. After a hot day in the low 90s, I got my first F’real milkshake of the year, again provided by Y Service Club from their life-time ice cream sponsorship.

What a great day, with 51 miles and a  lot of fun! Father and Son Produce is again a major sponsor. Stop and see Tim and Linda for your produce needs and get some ice cream too!

Back tomorrow with another update. Please send those wonderful prayers!