Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Monday, September 8, 2014: from Lock & Dam #9, (north of Prairie du Chien, WI) to Marshland, WI

It was a beautiful day for bike riding – a cool tail wind.  Any hills were just low rolling hills - there were no serious climbs today.  By noon Cal had ridden 50 miles, and he stopped after 78 miles at 4:00.  We did fairly well finding our way through La Crosse on back streets or streets with bike lanes (wasn’t the most direct way, but the best).  We decided to continue north of La Crosse and he rode another 32 miles.  It was about 1:30 when we found a bike trail (old rail road bed) that ran for 20 miles.  The surface was not smooth so it cut down on his speed, but he was away from any traffic. 

Great River State Trail

One of 20 Bridges on the Trail

A Marsh area with Wild Rice - From the Trail

Cal Finishing the Trail
I found lodging in a village of Trempealeau, at the “Inn on the River”.  We literally are along the river. It is the river, rail tracks, street and the Inn.  As I have been writing this, a Tugboat with an empty barge came past, traveling north.  From our room we can also see Lock & Dam #6, which the barge and tugboat just came through.  It is great to see life on the river.  The owner of the Inn told me, “People come here just to watch the water moving”!!    
Our Lodging for the Night

View of the river from our room
The Mississippi River was in our sights most of the day - to our left side as we travel north.  I took a lot of photos of this majestic river. Also there were pull-outs where historical markers were posted, recalling important historic events along the river.  There are not a lot of bridges that cross the Mississippi, so each one is important.  Today we were completely away from the cornfields, with their millions of bushels of corn. Instead it was the river, marshes, and backwaters.  We are now north of the Iowa border, so the bluffs on the western side of the river are in Minnesota. 

Today we saw 4 Locks and Dams - #9 is just north of Prairie du Chien, #8 is at Genoa, #7 is at Onalaska, and #6 is here at Trempealeau.  As we travel north we will see # 5A, #5, #4, & #3, before we follow the St Croix River north to Duluth, MN.
Bridge Across the Mississippi to Lansing, Iowa

As I said before, a double set of rail tracks run between the road and the river.  This morning driving/riding north of Prairie du Chien we saw at least 7 trains in queue to travel south before I stopped counting.  Trains were traveling north, so we don’t know if there are certain hours when they travel in their designated direction.  Since our lodging is so close to the tracks it will be interesting how much the train disturbs us tonight - there should be no whistles, as there are no crossings.
Bluffs along the River

Going Fishing

The Road we are Following

Great use of an old Gas Station - Computer Store and Chiropractor's Office
Tomorrow we plan to continue traveling north until mid-afternoon before we load up the bike to drive south, back to La Crosse, for the conference we will be attending on Wednesday and Thursday.  Cal will need some rest by that time!!   

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