Loaner wheel installed, loaner stove tested and packed, I rolled out about 11 from Cedar Rapids to beautiful 70F blue skies. Passing Ellis Spoke, I spied a fellow Surly rider, so I circled back to check it out.
I met John D., who was also out enjoying the weather. He volunteered to ride with me to Ely, and regaled me with tales his past tours as we rolled along the beautiful new pavement on the Hoover Trail. He showed me his odometer, 4400-some miles on the Steamroller this year alone, and said that was typical: being retired a few years ago, he rides every day. I suspect he has just as many miles on his Trek 520 touring bike.
Parting ways with John, I decided to explore Ely, and found Chicken Fried Steak at Odie’s Bar & Grill. On top of a big bowl of mashed potatoes and covered in gravy, just what this hungry cyclist needed. Washed down with a pint of Guinness.
Hwy 38 south of I-80 had a 2-foot paved shoulder, unfortunately with rumble strip the entire way. Finally bailed at F44 towards Sunbury. Changed directions back south about 5 miles later on X64, then ran into Hwy 38 again.
Hwy 38 north of I-80 sucked: 2-lane, only “class 5” gravel shoulders.
Fxx roads are much nicer: minimal traffic, fairly smooth.
Xxx roads are 2-lane, gravel shoulder but much less traffic.
Looked for a place to stealth camp, but many of the farm fields were being worked in the dark, and there were farm houses everywhere.
Pick-me-up of coffee, big icecream sandwich & 3L bottle of water at gas station in Wilton, $4.58.
Believe I have 6L water capacity between 4L MSR Dromlite, 1L Nalgene and 2-27 oz stainless-steel bottles; bought a 3L bottle of water and think I had room for one more in 4L Dromlite.
Wildcat Den State Park, Muscatine, IA. $6, water faucet near campsite, pit toilets. One family with one little boy at the other end of the campground making noise, but they quieted down before I finished dinner at 10:30PM.
My new-to-me but used MSR Whisperlite brought 2 cups of water (for quinoa) to a rolling boil in 5 minutes, I then used my Trangia to fry bacon, sautee onions & boil off excess water (2C water is WAY too much for 1C quinoa, try 3/2 C next time). In 60F temps with no wind, even the 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol was easy to light & cooked hot. Still very sooty, though. I noticed the gas station in Wilton carried yellow bottle “Heet” (methyl-alcohol) in 12-oz containers for $1.67, but didn’t notice whether they also had white gas (Coleman Fuel). The bottle of white gas I got at Wal-Mart in Cedar Rapids seems to have leaked in my pannier & the entire thing stinks even after rinsing it out