Bicycling 4,174 Miles Across the United States

Archive for July 23, 2012

June 21st: LaCrosse, WI to McGregor, IA

The four cross country bikers: Doug Wolff, New Windsor, MD; Robert Moskowitz, Carmel, CA; Steve Prichard, Malvern, PA; Jim Schnitzmeyer, Albany, IL.

July 21st Statistics – La Crosse, WI to McGregor, IA:

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 67.3miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 14.3 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 4.7 hours
  • Today Ascent – 2.007 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 30
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 2,334.9 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 77.8 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 68,191 feet

Today was a unique day in that we biked in three states – started in Wisconsin, crossed the Mississippi River into Minnesota, and biked south into Iowa leaving Wisconsin and Minnesota for the rest of the tour.

We had rain, clouds, and sun today which required changing weather attire.  No much difference in terrain – the bucolic bluffs in Iowa looked much liked the bucolic bluffs in Minnesota, farms, green, and rolling hills.  One interesting moment was when I got a called from Nancy and stopped biking to answer it.  Bugs started swarming around me so much, that I promised to call Nancy later and started biking again.  I clearly note the greater number of bugs in southern Minnesota and Wisconsin than I have seen earlier in the tour.

Besides entering Iowa, other interesting moments today illustrated in the photos which follow include: Passing through the birthplace of “Granny Basketball” and the Apple Capital of Minnesota, being attacked by 15+ dogs, visiting the Effigy Mound National Monument, touring McGregor, IA, and seeing a tugboat pushing 8 barges down the Mississippi River.

Mile 3: La Crescent, MN, the “Apple Capital of Minnesota”, is across the river from La Crosse, WI.

Mile 8: A typical view today as we rode along Route 26 paralleling the Mississippi showing the bluffs.

MIle 27: Educational Marker – Islands in the Mississippi (of which there are many).

Mile 27: View of Mississippi Islands.

Mile 27: Robert riding into the Educational Marker site about the islands of the Mississippi River.

Mile 27: Doug riding into the Educational Marker site about the islands of the Mississippi River.

Mile 30: Entering Iowa – The third state for today’s ride. We started in Wisconsin, crossed the Mississippi into Minnesota, and finished the ride in Iowa.

Mile 39: Lansing, IA – “Birthplace of Granny Basketball”, which is “A gentle game for women of a certain age” according to Their website offers rules, how to set up a team and videos of games should you be interested!

Mile 46: Don’t let the cuteness of these dogs fool you. This was my third encounter with a group of dogs that came after me from all sides. This group of more than 15 dogs was clearly the largest. I had to stop biking, put the bike between me and most of the dogs, and hold my ground until I was able to slowly get passed them. Surprisingly, they were afraid whenever an car passed, so I took advantage of that fact to move along.

Mile 60: Effigy Mounds National Monument.


Mile 60: Effigy Mounds National Monument – Mound Shapes and Locations in Park.

Downtown McGregor, IA.  It reminded me very much of Jim Thorpe, PA (except McGregor is on the water – Mississippi River).


McGregor, IA had an auto rally and competition on the day we arrived.  Here are several autos parked on the town square.

Historical Marker – History of McGregor, IA.

McGregor, IA: This room which is built into the mountain was a jail and then a tinker/tailor shop. It is now available for an overnight stay.


Holiday Shores Motel in McGregor, IA – Lodging for our stay.

Holiday Shores Motel – View from my room as a Mississippi barge passed.

June 20th: Winona, MN to La Crosse, WI

After arriving early in La Crosse, WI, Doug, Jim and I decided to bike 5 miles up to Grandad Bluff overlooking La Crosse and the Mississippi.  This is a west view from Grandad Bluff.

July 20th Statistics – Winona, MN to La Crosse, WI:

  • Today’s Biking Distance – 43.6 miles
  • Today’s Average Speed – 12.9 mph
  • Today’s Time In Saddle – 3.4 hours
  • Today Ascent – 1,900 feet
  • Total Trip Biking Days – 29
  • Total Trip Biking Distance – 2,267.6 miles
  • Total Trip Average Biking Distance/Day – 78.2 miles
  • Total Trip Ascent – 66,114 feet

Today’s ride may be the shortest of the tour.  However, Dale and Diane wanted to be sure that we had time to sightsee La Crosse, WI which was a great idea.  There are been certain towns on our tour that have been engaging and make me want to come back, i.e. Sand Point, ID, Whitefish, MT, Fargo, ND, Stillwater, MN, Prescott, WI, and Red Wing, MN, and La Crosse, WI certainly makes that list.

We had to find a detour about 20 miles into the ride today due to a road closure on Route 7 near Pickwick, MN.  The detour we selected made the ride shorter than planned (40 miles), but was more challenging – we had a long 10%-11% grade climb to get to the top of the bluff.  Fortunately, the weather was overcast which kept it from getting extremely hot. While I started the climb with my riding companions and easily made it up the top of the bluff (as judged by my heart rate), they were out of sight quickly – I estimate that they can ride about 3-4 mph faster than I on the flats and half that on the tough climbs.

However, several times on the tour I have had the opportunity to join them and make a foursome on the flats/short rolling hills by drafting.  It was a great thrill and highlight to be cruising along at 20+ mph in a tight group of riders (on one occasion for 12 miles).  I wish I had a picture of the four of us riding together.

Mile 20:  Historical Market – Mississippi Blufflands

Mile 20:  Historical Marker – Great River Bluffs

Mile 20:  Doug learning about the Blufflands.

Mile 21:  View half way up 11% climb on Route 3 (near Great River Bluffs State Park) to a bluff above the Mississippi.

Mile 23:  Dale smiling after having finished the 11% climb on Route 3.

Mile 23:  Doug smiling as he takes off for the remaining ride to La Crosse after a SAG wagon break.

Mile 26: View overlooking the Mississippi from the bluff on Route 12 near Nodine, MN.

Mile 28:  Another view overlooking the Mississippi from the bluff on Route 12 near Nodine, MN.

Mile 31:  View from Route 1 in Minnesota of Interstate 90 crossing over the MIssissippi near North La Crosse, WI.

Mile 34:  Entering Wisconsin and La Crosse after having crossing the Mississippi.  Unfortunately, no one was around to get me in the picture.

View looking north from Grandad Bluff above La Crosse, WI.

Jim, Doug and I after a five mile ride and climb to Grandad Bluff above La Crosse, WI.

Sculpture of Hiawatha in the Mississippi waterfront park in La Crosse, WI.

Garden at the Mississippi waterfront park in La Crosse, WI.

Pearl’s Ice Cream Parlor – The #1/60 restaurant in La Crosse.  I savored the taste of Pomegranate and black licorice ice creams

The fact that Buzzard Billy’s was across the street from Pearl’s Ice Cream Parlor had no bearing on our choice.

After dinner I went for a walk along in the Mississippi waterfront park.  This is a monument in the park.

The riverfront walking path in La Crosse, WI.

View from my room at the Radisson in La Crosse, WI. In the distance you can see the cliffs which are below Grandad Bluff.