* * * * * * * * * *
Today is Friday, June 28, 2013. There has been no VERIZON signal the past three days to complete our update, but SAM and ME are now in the town of DECORA, IOWA, safely in our room at the local SUPER 8 motel.
The IOWA countryside as we travelled North paralleling the Mississippi River, has been steep climbs out of the river basin to the ridge(s) above...which provide panorama view in all directions out to at least 50 miles. US Highway 52 is alternately excellent and severely broken along the berm from passing 18-wheeler trucks. Rain storms have come and gone, getting us wet, but not so soaked as in the past few days.
SAM and ME have enjoyed a day of rest in the home of PAUL and NANCY sited high on a ridge about 15 miles East of the city of DUBUQUE...and about 10 miles beyond the historic city of GALENA. Early in the morning, Paul and Nance drove us into DUBUQUE, where we enjoyed an excellent breakfast...then on to US 52, where we unloaded SAM from their SUV...and said our reluctant good byes. They deposited us on top of the high ridge following the Mississippi River, giving us fantastic view for the first 15 miles or so...then, the hills begin...
Looking back South East into the Mississippi River Valley toward DUBUQUE.
Say GOODBYE to PAUL and NANCY...and once again thank you for having SAM and ME as guests in your home...more like family than guests........
One year ago, I walked into the Convenience Store "FOOD MART", astride US 52 running along the steep sided ridge alongside the Mississippi River...
Please say HELLO to MR. WOLF....as I entered the Food Mart, Mr. Wolf, sitting in the same chair as last year, greeted me with..."...well, hello...your back again...where is SPIA?"
SPIA was my small Toyota Motor Home, which I used to solo circumnavigate America last year (SPIA = Seniors Performing Incredible Acts...so named by a teenage follower of more than three years). ..."Sold it...decided to walk the route again...just SAM and ME !"
Mr. Wolf is not unusual...in that many folks on this trip remembered me from last year, as the route is about 90% the same. ...Have enjoyed meeting these folks again.
FAST FOOD Convenience Store...
I tried to rush past this sewing circle of local ladies...was too slow...receive several "moos" of recognition as they quickly rose from their afternoon rest...and rushed to the fence to greet us.
Been quite a while since we had a visit from the local SHERIFF. This officer asked for my Drivers License...and took it back to his vehicle to check us out. Coming back, he handed back my card...apparently satisfied that I checked out OK...asked me to try to keep off the paved part of the road...welcomed me back (to IOWA), and wished us a safe walk. No doubt, his computer still has data from our previous walks across America...this being our fifth (5th) crossing.
A number of small villages are not even on AAA Road Maps, which I use for our walks. HOLY CROSS is a single lane leading off US52 climbing a rather steep slope to the tiny village three blocks up.
The cone shaped cloud in the distance is about 5 miles away...moving quickly toward SAM and ME. This STORM CELL is typical to isolated storms moving across the open prairies of mid America. They normally move fast...are accompanied by many other Storm Cells. Caught in their vortex, they often contain winds in excess of 45 miles per hour, lightning and thunder, heavy rain downpour...and often hail and even snow...even in Summer.
Storm Cells such as the one above are in reality, small versions of HURRICANES...and undeveloped TORNADOES...and can be quite dangerous.
As we venture deeper into the mid-continent prairie, the number of drainage waterways is decreasing.
The prosperous down of LUXEMBURG is about half way between DUBUQUE and our destination of GUTTENBURG (which is at water level of the Mississippi River).
LUXUMBURG, IOWA Main Street...of which there are two, forming cross roads at the center.
The "other" main street, as SAM and ME follow US 52 North ... still following the high ridge above the Mississippi River.
US 52 offers up two V E R Y long and steep hills during this part of our walk. This image is Hill # 1. It was while fighting to hold SAM ( weighing something over 200 pounds) back as we descended the steep grade, that I discovered a simple way to slow her down (she has brakes, but not for the long steep hills)...simply travel in the side berm...on hills, the roads nearly always contain tall grass or sand for berms...which automatically slow SAM...making my job much easier.
Only took me a bit over three years to figure that out.
This hill rivaled those of West Virginia...much wider and better maintained, but equally steep. This hill is about 3 miles top to bottom.
At the bottom of the hill, we enter a wide valley. In all directions, flood water still cover most of the land...most recently planted with corn or soy beans...now ruined.
Please say HELLO to DUANE HAGEN...84 years old...living in the flood zone of the TURKEY RIVER. I stopped to chat with Duane for over 1/2 hour...helping him move his boat trailer (we did it with brute strength), and chat about the river valley, walking, and his efforts to block the ever present flood waters...not only from the Turkey River, but also from the ridge behind and above his home.
The home of Duane Hagan.
The swirling flood waters of the TURKEY RIVER.
Flooded farmland in the Turkey River Valley.
...and so, SAM and ME climb the steep US 52, out of the Turkey River Valley...returning to the interrupted ridge line...giving back majestic view toward the distant Mississippi River.
...and we quickly arrive at the second of the steep hills...this one taking SAM and ME all the way down to river level as we approach the village of GUTTENBURG...where we will stay the night in the GUTTENBURG MOTEL...($50.00).
As SAM and ME pass over the top of the ridge, there is a "OVERLOOK" of the Mississippi River...offering the above Historic Information.
Please click click to enlarge the image for easier reading...applies also to the next photograph.
The MISSISSIPPI RIVER.
US 52 is much steep than it looks in this image.
...and, we arrive in GUTTENBURG, IOWA.
Next door to GUTTENBURG MOTEL is the STDIUM BAR and GRILL, where I enjoyed both evening dinner and 6:30 am breakfast. During the night, the manager also stored our water bottles and ice packs in his freezer overnight...giving us solid ice water bottles for our walk tomorrow.
Please say HELLO to Barbara...owner and operator of the GUTTENBURG MOTEL...one of the cleanest and best appointed small town motels I have had the pleasure to enjoy overnight.