departure: 07.40, temp: 11c
i was up at 05.30, did yoga for 45 minutes and wrote the post for yesterday. we grabbed a quick free breakfast (not good coffee) at the hotel, stopped for a photo of the world’s largest six-pack, and for a better coffee on the highway out of town.
south of la crosse, the grr carried on much as it had the previous afternoon: as a narrow ledge shared with a rail track, wedged between steep treed bluffs and the meandering river, passing through little towns and unincorporated clusters that somehow survive in this precarious margin. (why, in a town like ferryville, “a place for all seasons!”, is the biggest shop the cheapo depot which sells the hazardous combination of beer, booze and fireworks?)
at prairie du chien, we crossed the river – and a state border – into iowa at mcgregor. just north of here is the effigy mounds national monument, an historic site that preserves native american burial grounds. we checked out the visitor centre, and learned that the shortest hiking route to see the mounds takes about an hour. we were starting the climb up the bluff when it started raining. as we were not exactly prepared for a hike, and even less prepared for a hike in the rain, we decided to forego this adventure and jumped back in the car. a light rain continued on and off for most of the day. we carried on the grr south, with the road leaving the rivers edge to climb the iowa bluffs and roll through undulating fields of, you guessed it, corn. (those of you who were privy to my journey to the west coast a couple of years ago know how i feel about iowa and corn fields. at least in this part of the state the fields are not completely flat.) as the monotony of corn fields is not lost on the locals (at least those with a sense of humour), someone has erected a series of signs along the side of the road which collectively read: “this is not a clever verse, we tried and tried, it just got worse. our iowa.”
we passed through guttenberg, luxembourg, into and out of dubuque, and on to cross the river further again at sabula, a town situated on an island in the middle of the river which, at this point, is a stunning four miles wide. we entered our third state of the day, illinois, over the bridge at savana where we stopped for gas and stocked up on a few supplies at the local supermarket.
as we have planned to be in memphis by thurs, we decided we had to push on a little more quickly for a while, so at fulton we crossed the river yet again to clinton, back in iowa, and picked up highway 61, bypassing the quad cities (davenport, moline, bettendorf and rock island) and zipping through muscatine and burlington to keokuk. the sun finally broke through the cloud cover and, having made good time on this stretch, you guessed it, we crossed the river again to illinois and followed the road down to the river’s edge and across a flood plain flat as the netherlands with nothing but corn fields. it was kind of eerie.
we arrived at our destination for the day, quincy, and found a room at the newly renovated quincy inn and suites, and dinner at kelly’s, a popular local irish restaurant/pub (yummy pot roast stew, best gravy ever).
arrived: 18.15, high temp: 12c, traveled: 692km