Days 47-52: Follow the Yellow Brick Road

I’m so tired of everything being smothered with cheese. I’ve been eating at roadside establishments more often lately just to get indoors to warm up. The touch of local color is great but every menu for the past week goes, “beef, chicken, beef, pork, beef, Greasy Grilled Cheese Sandwich.” Imagine my relief to find this Thai peanut salad with tofu on the menu in a small, rural Iowa town. And it’s not smothered with cheese!

I cross the Mississippi into Iowa at Lansing and continue south along the Great River Road. Scenic byway, indeed. The river on my left, dramatic spiky rock formations on my right and colorful fall foliage all around. And it’s sunny! Woot!

The route turns away from the river for a while to avoid heavy traffic and takes me into the heart of rural Iowa. The smell of silage alternates with the smell of manure. Corn harvesting is in full swing, probably because the forecast calls for rain tomorrow.

In Dyersville, I check into a motel to wait out the weather and visit the National Farm Toy Museum. Over 9000 pieces in the collection, including some of the molds and machinery used to manufacture die cast models.

Continuing on, I get my first day with a strong tailwind all day. Dark, overcast skies mean there’s only enough solar power to run the lights.

Riding in a tailwind is eerie. My speed makes it seem like the motor is on even when it’s not and it’s so quiet that it reminds me of watching the TV with the sound muted. As soon as I stop, the wind starts howling.

Traffic is light, which is good because the road shoulder made of crushed limestone. It’s fine for the slow-moving farm vehicles which often traffic these roads but not smooth enough to ride on with my tires. Fortunately, drivers are accustomed to slow moving vehicles so even though I’m the only bicycle out here, they slow down and give me plenty of space.

The kids in Iowa leave their bicycles outside on the front lawn. Overnight. Unlocked. That wouldn’t work in Oakland.

I crossed Interstate-90 back in Wisconsin. Now I cross I-80. The US interstate highway system has east-west cross-country roads numbered 90, 80, 70 all the way down to 10 so these are a way to measure my southerly progress.

Stats for people who like stats.

4 Replies to “Days 47-52: Follow the Yellow Brick Road”

  1. Thank you for documenting your journey with such great pictures and detail! My 6th graders and I are in awe of your ingenuity and ambition – safe travels!


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