Day 40 Lawn Mower on a Stick

Today was a relatively short ride from Maquoketa so we didn’t leave until 7:30 am.

The highlight of today’s ride was having Goose (Tom Miller) and Chris Rhodes ride with us. They met us in Bennett, Iowa and rode ~24 miles to the finish in Muscatine.

(L to R) Chris, Goose

Chris, Goose and Chad went to grade school, high school and church together so they have known one another forever. It was great catching up on our hometown happenings. We learned that the Amish are going nuts over E-bikes.

There was a three mile stretch of road that was under construction and we had to follow a pilot car. The outfit doing the construction was Manatts – the company that Herb worked for.

The milkweed in the ditches is turning yellow. Milkweed, you’ll recall, is what the monarch butterfly larva eat. They also have some of the most complex flowers in the plant kingdom, comparable to orchids in complexity. Here is a milkweed plant with seed pods.

There were also a lot of these tall grasses along the roadside. Grandmothers of immigrants cut this grass with scissors, carefully pack it into boxes and ship it to Hobby Lobby. Then crafty people purchase the grass to insert into vases.

But what kind of grass is it? Using Chad’s Seek app we figured out it was cogongrass. It is a fire-adapted species which means it spreads by catching on fire. Its roots are a couple feet in the ground so fire doesn’t affect it. Competing plants and trees are destroyed by the fire. Here is the scientific investigation taking place.

When we arrived at our hotel in Muscatine, Iowa we were surprised to see a stack of tourist magazines from our hometown. Kalona is about 40 miles away from Muscatine (population 24,000) so things must be very quiet in Muscatine or Kalona (population 2,500) and its Amish are a real attraction.

Tonight we had dinner with Caleb, Ashley and their kids. Caleb is Herb’s other son and lives in the country near Muscatine. It is amazing to watch how calmly they handle their seven kids. And an eighth one is due in November!

It was very good catching up with Goose, Chris, Caleb and Ashley. Thanks for coming out!


  • Maquoketa to Muscatine, Iowa.
  • Distance: 59.7 miles (96 km)
  • Climbing: 2364 feet (721 m)
  • Temperature: 59 – 87°F (15 – 31°C)


This morning my bike had a front flat tire in Herb’s garage. Last night when I pumped them up they were fine. The valve stem decided to detach from the tube. It was a good brand (Schwalbe). At least it was in the garage and not out on the road.

Herb replaced both of his tires and found out that the news ones were a tad larger and rubbed his fenders. So he had Kathy bring another pair to Bennett and he swapped them out. No more rubbing.

Joe rode into Bettendorf from his hometown and arrived late in the afternoon. So we are all back together again.

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