Brianís Cross-USA Bicycle Tour

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© 2001,

Day 46 - Thursday, August 2, 2001
Maquoketa, IA to Sterling, IL
72 miles

(I'm sure many of you are waiting with bated breath for this update, since I've been pretty quiet lately...)

Since I was in a hotel, I had planned to get an early start (no camping gear to pack) and have breakfast at the place in town that was open at 6 AM. But because I was in a hotel, it was easier to sleep in late, and I wasn't ready until 7 AM. Good thing, actually, as the thunderstorms that were supposed to pass through last night came through town right at that time. The rain came down really hard, making visibility an issue, and there was lightning everywhere. It was a good time to be inside eating breakfast while waiting out the storm. The storm cleared out around 8 AM, and I began my ride to the coolest temperatures I had seen in about a week.

Eastern Iowa got hilly again as I approached the Mississippi River crossing in Clinton. Part of downtown was closed off due to a recent major fire in the area.

After crossing the river into Illinois, I started using the Illinois bike maps as a guide. Their recommendations for good/bad routes are really conservative to say the least. The best feature of the maps is that they show all of the country roads that aren't shown on other maps. But the problem is that the maps don't always label these roads, and the actual road signage isn't very good either.

Have you seen the previews for the "Lost" reality TV show this fall? What they should do instead is drop the contestants in a cornfield and have them find their way home using only Illinois bike maps!

Somehow I did find the neat country road alternative from Morrison to Sterling. Lots of rolling hills! Scott saw me riding into town as he was driving home from work, I was able to find his place with no difficulty.

After a homemade dinner, courtesy of Kristen, we did what everybody in Sterling does on Thursday night - bowling league. One of the regulars was late, so I got to sub. I blamed my occasional gutter balls on having to use a house ball instead of my personal ball - that's 16 pounds I would NOT want to take with me cross country! I think we won, but I'm not sure, since I was still establishing a handicap.

After bowling Scott showed me some of the mountain bike touring videos he made using a camera he mounted on his helmet. The picture quality was quite good - more info later for you gear freaks!

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