We left at dawn this morning and could hear the duck hunters doing their thing on the Mississippi River. After about 10 miles we took the Wisconsin Great River State Trail through the Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. It was a crushed limestone trail and very rough in spots. We were hoping to see wildlife but we just heard frogs.
After about 35 miles of riding in the river bottom we arrived in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Then we returned to Wisconsin’s Great River Road. We didn’t see much of the river but we continued to see a lot of marshland.
This continued for 35 miles. Then we turned into the bottom lands to cross the Mississippi river. That is where all the fishermen were.
We crossed the Mississippi river to Iowa on the Black Hawk bridge. It was constructed in 1931 and is a riveted cantilever through truss bridge. The deck is metal grating which means that as you cross you can look down and see the water below you. Your tires also squirm on the grating. All of that and the age of the bridge made it rather exciting to cross.
On the Iowa Side of the Mississippi River we were next to the water for a few miles. The scenery was awesome.
Here is the Immaculate Conception church in Wexford, Iowa. It is the oldest Catholic Church site between Dubuque, Iowa and St. Paul, Minnesota. This is the third building and was built in 1870 by Irish settlers.
People always like to live close to the water. For several miles the river was lined with trailer houses on stilts.
For the last 25 miles we had three large climbs in the Mississippi River bluffs. This area is the Driftless Area which means it was never covered by ice during the last ice age. It lacks glacial deposits (drift) and is very hilly.
We passed by Effigy Mounds National Monument. There are over 200 mounds built by the Native Americans. We visited several times as kids. Here are three mounds. Just like 50 years ago, they are best when viewed from the air.
Finally we arrived at our destination, Marquette, Iowa.
Marquette had the world’s first railroad pontoon bridge. It allowed trains to cross the Mississippi and had two movable parts that allowed boat traffic to pass. It was in operation from 1875 to 1961. The height of the bridge could be adjusted 18 feet for changes in the river level. It was a pretty clever structure.
We had another flat tire today. Number three for Joe on his rear tire. This one was ugly!
- Fountain City, Wisconsin to Marquette, Iowa.
- Distance: 100.2 miles (161 km)
- Climbing: 2839 feet (865 m)
- Temperature: 48 – 80°F (9 – 27°C)
La Crosse, Wisconsin brought back a lot of memories as Kutilek pointed out yesterday. In September, 1982, five guys left La Crosse bound for Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jim Bones, Joe Castelli, Luke Kutilek, Mark McCall and Miller went on a five-day bike camping trip across Wisconsin.
Kutilek was the photographer and he dug out these photos. Unfortunately, there isn’t one of Kutilek.
“Ride safely and watch out for fallen rocks. If it looks like a paper bag it isn’t.”De Soto, Wisconsin Convenience Store Lady