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Monday, April 16, 2012


Each night, I try to remember going to sleep. Fact is, when my head hits my pillow(s) - I sleep on three pillows - , my next memory is waking up at 2:30 am to go piddle. I sleep soundly, but still am aware of SPIA moving with the wind.

I awoke this morning fully expecting to be in some pain from yesterday's walking. Matter of fact, there was NO pain at all. Since I am out here - instead of snuggling on my couch back in a previous life - to walk... I decided to NOT take the day off; instead, I dressed for another cold windy morning and walked North on US 52, not returning for nearly 5 hours.

In the process, we walked about 16 miles, climbing a prodigious small mountain...along the crest...and back to SPIA. All, without any pain.

I am somewhat perplexed about my leg. Seems almost to be a series of short circuits from my, I walked to and beyond Debuque, Iowa without a single twinge.

Nice pic, that above, Huh? That waterway is the Mighty Muddy Mississippi.

A home in the town of Bellevue, Iowa.

Another view of Lock and Dam # 12, located town center, Bellevue, Iowa.

Have enjoyed many "River Walks" across America.

Above is a Mississippi River version.

Somewhat surprised to find this windmill in operation high on the hill above Bellevue.

Pastoral scene like the one above is payment enough for my efforts.

The long slim line is the Mississippi River from high above.

During my return to SPIA, finally captured some "elevation". This hill is about 8 % and is about 2 miles bottom to top. Walked it in a stiff (about 40 mph) headwind, but got pushed back down by that same wind.

Bellevue, Iowa, is about 6 miles away to the right of this image.

Surpassing the Crookie Creek a couple images above is this pastoral scene of mamas and their babies. I was not close enough to chat with them, but be assured...they did see me and watched as I passed down the hill until rounding a bend.

...returning to Lock and Dam # 12.

...where a Tow Boat (which "Pushes" those barges, but never "Pulls" them) was waiting to enter the lock which will lift the entire group of six barges and Tow Boat up about 15 feet to the next river level.

The upper Mississippi has several Locks and Dams, most built during the 1930s, allowing navigation nearly from Canada to New Orleans, Louisiana.

The "tow" waiting for the lock gate to open.

The Lock Gate itself. The water is much too high in the lock. All that water must be released to reach the level of the water where the "tow" waits. The tow will then be pushed into the lock by the "Tow Boat"; the gate will be closed; and, the water will once again fill the lock, lifting the entire tow up to the upper river water level; whereupon, the "Tow Boat" will "push" the barges out of the lock and continue the trip up the Mississippi River to their destination or to the next Lock and Dam (# 13), where the process will be repeated.

Historical Note:

I recently traveled to China, where I spent a week on the Yangtze River, the highlight of which was visiting and traveling through the Three Gorges Dam...the largest dam in the world. Our boat was lifted by five (5) consecutive (all connected) locks to reach the water level behind the dam. When I was there, only five of the seven locks were in operation, awaiting the pool of water behind the dam to fill. The total lift was, I believe, about 150 feet elevation. The Three Gorges Dam also has a single lock which can lift boats all 150 feet in one single lift. It was not yet in operation when I visited, because of the low water level behind the dam.

After returning to SPIA in Bellevue, Iowa, we drove toward Dubuque, Iowa, parking in a Truck Stop about 4 miles short of down town. I then proceeded to walk to the center of Dubuque and back to SPIA.

The above pic. is Highway 52 as it nears Dubuque. Yes, I did walk down that hill...and back up and down the next one to reach town. Coming back, it was into the teeth of the strong wind. Estimate the above hill to be about 7 % grade (steepness of the hill).

My old body performed as I hoped...moved along at 4 + mph without complaint.

Nice to see that I am finally achieving some "elevation" in my photography.

The bottom of the second hill before entering down town Dubuque, Iowa.

Upon returning to SPIA, we drove through town where we parked in the lot of a friendly Furniture Retail Outlet.

I then walked BACK into town, taking a few pics of some of the more interesting buildings...

Where SPIA is tucked down for the night, her umbilical plugged into AC.

Please say HELLO to Don Giesman, manager of Minnesota Furniture.

After chatting for a bit, Don offered that SPIA park the night next to his building. Of course, we accepted Don's offer.

In the morning, SPIA will remain parked as I walk North on US 52 toward the village of Sageville, Iowa. Don cautioned me that the town next up, Durango, has a long steep hill on the North side of if we drive to the bottom of the hill and park...will be a doozie to climb, says Don.

We shall see...

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