Today we left Hastings, Minnesota and followed the Mississippi River on the Great River Road. The river runs in a Southeast direction. All day long we could see the river and train tracks on the right side.
And huge bluffs with rock outcrops on the left side.
There were lots of small towns along the river. Maiden Rock, Wisconsin is one such town. A Sioux girl liked a boy and he would have married her except for interference from her relatives. They wanted her to marry another boy whom she despised. Finally they forced the marriage and that evening she was missing from the lodge.
I quote what James Doty wrote in his journal in 1820, “Nothing could be found of her until morning, when they discovered her at the foot of the precipice, down which she probably precipitated herself.” Here is Maiden Rock.
At one point the Mississippi River gets very wide, 2-1/2 miles wide. This 22 mile stretch of the river is called Lake Pepin. A town named Pepin has a lot of attractions including a large winery with several buildings made to look like the old country.
I was excited because now is the time that grapes are harvested. The thought of nubile young ladies with rosy cheeks and long hair plucking grapes with red stained fingers and placing them in wicker baskets made me pedal faster. Alas, this is what I saw at the Villa Bellezza vineyard in Pepin. A grape combine.
The author Laura Ingalls Wilder was born seven miles from Pepin and there was a large Wilder museum in town.
Stockholm, Wisconsin was founded by immigrants from Karlskoga, Sweden who named it after their country’s capital. The Wisconsin town is known for its pies.
We are staying in Fountain City, Wisconsin. It was named Fountain City because of all the springs in the area. The theme in our hotel room is trains. Here is Chad using the locomotive telephone.
On April 24, 1995, in Fountain City, a 55-ton boulder fell from this cliff.
It rolled down the hill and crashed into the house of Maxine and Dwight Anderson. When the plaster dust had settled the Andersons found a huge rock where their master bedroom used to be.
The rock is still there. A local real estate guy purchased the house with the rock still wedged in place and turned it into a tourist attraction.
In 1901 a spring thaw boulder rolled onto the house that had previously stood on this exact same spot, killing a Mrs. Dubler (but miraculously sparing her blind husband, who slept next to her in the same bed).
It was also amazing that the three houses next to this one were occupied. If the schedule holds true, the next rock should hit the house in 2089.
- Hastings, Minnesota to Fountain City, Wisconsin.
- Distance: 86.6 miles (139 km)
- Climbing: 3200 feet (975 m)
- Temperature: 42 – 65°F (6 – 18°C)
Jeff and Diane are a brother and sister who grew up on the Minnesota side of Lake Pepin. He now lives near Denver and has completed seven Triple Bypass rides. (120 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing). It is an annual ride where you climb three passes in one day. Jeff has also cycled in the Pyrenees. My kind of guy.
Just for the record, Joe has completed the Triple Bypass five times (three times he returned on the second day) and Herb has completed it once.
These ladies are from Minneapolis and were riding the Great River Road. Ms. Fluorescent lived in San Francisco for 40 years and has recently moved to Minneapolis. Covid messed up her retirement travel plans but now that she has met us she has been inspired to do some bike traveling in the future.