The states are whizzing by

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John riding Paul and Mindy out of Omaha and up the first two hills

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Crossing the Mississippi – my hometown (St. Paul) is just upstream

It seems I was just writing about South Dakota and Nebraska – and now we are already across Iowa and Illinois and into Indiana.  Time goes fast when you’re pedaling hard.  In Iowa we had conversations nearly every night – in Greenfield, lunch in Des Moines, Pella, Fairfield.  We met lots of great people and got some media coverage in Pella.  I learned more about farming in Iowa – different perspectives in different parts of Iowa.  We also got to see lots of rolling hills in Southern Iowa – not all of Iowa is flat.  We had the night off in Muscatine to enjoy a dinner out with Paul and Anne before they headed back to Minnesota (Paul biked over 500 miles with me from Sioux Falls to Omaha and all across Iowa) and had time to repack our bags and send a few extra things home before we were carrying all our stuff againimg_4117

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We survived the Terror in the Timber

Though the bikes are heavy, it feels good to be carrying all our stuff again – being fully self-contained.  We crossed the Mississippi at Muscatine – another milestone and reminder of home.  We also had two nights of camping the first nights in Illinois.  Temps were fairly
warm – only down to about 40 degrees at night and we survived the “Terror in the Timber” near Cambridge.  Might be the last days of pleasant weather camping.  We are now working on finding places to stay for the rest of the trip that won’t require so much exposure to the outdoors – though often still making use of our sleeping bags inside.  It was fun to return to Wenona, IL after having visited there to inspect that portion of the route in June (on our way to the CCL conference).  Had some great conversations over breakfast at the Boardwalk.  Thank you to Ed and Crystal for a respectful conversation. We disagree on climate change but agree on caring for the environment. Their kindness and honesty is greatly appreciated and a model of civility showing that we can disagree and still converse with each other. Thanks Ed for the good bike route tip. We took your suggested route.  Thanks also to Vicki, Judy and Marge for filling out postcards on why they are concerned about climate change – we will deliver them in DC.

Last night was the third and last night in Illinois with a Warm Showers host in Chebanse.  Doug,

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Our host in Chebanse riding with us to St. Anne, IL

our host, then suggested a better route for us today and joined us for the first 12 miles.  Thought we’d seen a lot of wind turbines in Iowa – we’ve seen a lot more of them in Illinois.
We have now entered Indiana and are staying with another Warm Showers host on a farm outside Rensselaer.

I don't remember Indiana having so many trees - lots of beautiful ones today

I don’t remember Indiana having so many trees – lots of beautiful ones today

Hard to believe that we are already on our 10th state!   Only two more nights in Indiana and we are on to Ohio.  It’s a whirlwind.  Speaking of wind, it continues to be our greatest friend and greatest challenge depending on the day.  Tail winds push us along and head winds – even when only 5 to 10 MPH – mean for a long, slow slog.  We had three days in a row of over 70 miles each and still had to work hard for the 50 miles today.  Tomorrow is a little shorter, then back to a couple challenges again.  May the winds be with us!

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