Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 30, Crossing the mighty Mississippi

BEST: Getting wined and dined and feted by the Myer ladies in Dakota. They were incredible hosts to the Big Ride.

WORST: The fact that the Myers did not read my blog.

MOST UNEXPECTED: The hills were more than expected after the lunch stop. We were told that the hill before lunch was pretty much it, but after the lunch stop at mile 57, there were numerous other grunting hills to get up and over.

We rode over to the main campus this morning for breakfast with about half the athletes in Minnesota who were doing some type of training regime on campus. As a result of the late opening of the cafeteria, and the lines to eat, we did not get started until 7:30. The ride pretty much followed the Mississippi River for the first 20 miles until we reached the town of Dakota where the Myer ladies were waiting for us. They have been hosting the Big Ride for years as they have been growing up, and this year was an awesome experience. I would like to say the Myer ladies were ugly and disgusting because they don't read my blog, but the reality was that they were lovely, gracious, and very welcoming to us. The age was around 11-28 years old, (I will double check on this later), and they took pictures, showed us scrapbooks from previous years, did interviews of us for which we received a handmade bracelet, and prepared numerous foods. They all had great personalities and really made our day.

We spent about an hour eating, touring the garden and visiting, and then off for more miles. We biked for a while on a bike trail right next to the Mississippi, and then ended up crossing the river (I did spit from the bridge and now my DNA is in New Orleans) into the state of Wisconsin and the town of LaCrosse. The first thing we saw in the town was a very large brewery with the largest six pack in the world (the towers for the brewery were painted to look like beer cans). I missed the picture because I was looking the other way at the king of beers which I did take a picture.

The traffic engineers in LaCrosse obviously missed a few classes as all of the signals turned red whenever we got close to them. We rode next to overflow of the Mississippi, then turned and went through Amish country where the hay stacks look quite different than the rolled stacks of machinery. It was interesting to see the difference between one side of the road which was all hand labor, and the other which was mechanized. There was a very nasty hill of 8% just before the lunch stop, and then nasty rollers. Of course the weather was cooperative being 101 degrees at this point, and 104 when we rolled into the fairgrounds where we are sleeping in a large frying pan.

The total ride length was 67 miles which seems minor, but it was a bit of a workout. It was a very pretty ride with lots to look at, and I heartily approve.

Pictures below show the Mississippi from the bridge crossing it, Three of the lovely Myer ladies, the one pump gas station in Dakota, and my special photo assignment for today which was to photograph a message made of sticks. Of course we are in the fairgrounds, not a campground so finding sticks was a bit of a challenge.

I took a picture of the snowmobile sign today just to highlight the 104 degree temperature with the winter temperature cold enough to use snowmobiles. Getting to sleep tonight will be a challenge and my fan will probably be running all night. I get to wake up at 3:50 tomorrow to do breakfast setup as we will be leaving early tomorrow to beat the heat. Breakfast setup is at 4:30, truck loading at 4:45 and breakfast at 5:00.

I am sitting at a family restaurant called the Main Street Kitchen in Viroqua Wisconsin which is air conditioned trying to prolong when I have to walk back to my tent. The dinner was broasted chicken which looked a lot like fried chicken. Somebody will have to explain to me what exactly broasting is.


  1. Your photo assignment gets an A+! I love the sentiment. I miss my RBW.

  2. Agreed with mom! I heart my pops!

  3. Hello Rob,
    It was great getting to host you and the other Big Riders. While it is correct that the other girls didn't read your blog, I did read your blog. I must have forgotten to mention to you that I read all the blogs I could find. I'm sorry to tell you that reading 9 blogs about the same rides makes it hard to remember the blogs separately. You all say different things but talk about the same locations so I forget who says what. I have to thank you for helping me find all the blogs though. The links you have at the top of yours are very helpful. I will make a point of remembering that your blog is the one that has the best, the worst and the most unexpected.
    The Myers girls you have in you picture are Beah, Char and Kate.
    Megan Myers

  4. I'm glad Beth and Caitlin responded to your blog. I thought you were making a stick-y comment about your BMC bike.

    John Pomidor

    PS What are those hills doing in the Midwest? I don't remember any from my youth.