At John D.’s recommendation, I stopped at Harper’s Cycling & Fitness and met Greg, the owner’s son. Greg was super helpful, and recommended Elm’s restaurant & lounge for lunch.
At Elm’s I had the “Elm’s Burger,” a BBQ sauce and batter-fried onion covered bacon cheeseburger (of course). I’m normally a somewhat leery of BBQ sauce on burgers because taste in BBQ sauce is such an individual thing. This one was my thing, and the Elms Burger will be my new standard reference bacon cheeseburger. It was really that good.
I washed it down with a Potosi (WI) IPA, and now I’m wishing I’d stopped at the brewery in Potosi when I was there. Oh well. As I was leaving, the hostesses figured out that I wasn’t their typical customer, and asked me about my bike trip, and the obligatory photo shoot followed. This minor-league celebrity thing is kinda fun.
From there I rode on mostly gravel roads, even though Iowa drivers have been almost universally the most courteous drivers I’ve encountered, it’s nicer still to have no traffic at all.
I stopped at the Wapello library to warm up, refill my water bottles, and make use of the free & open wifi while planning where I was going to stop for the night. I decided on the Ferry Landing Rec Area. After reaching Oakville, things got interesting. There were deceptively helpful signs indicating directions to the Rec area, with it’s alleged 22 camping sites. The roads had been freshly re-graveled, and made travel quite slow. After 50 miles, now both knees and my left Achilles tendon were aching again. The wind was still out of the north, and the sun was sinking. Detouring around one farm field after another, I finally reached what Google Maps indicated was the road into the Rec area. Feeling hopeful, I picked up speed, and then hit a divot in the gravel two-track that dislodged both of my rear panniers and broke two eggs. By the time I reached the “Rec Area” I was disgusted to see a sign prohibiting “all vehicles” from driving on the levee. While I might have reached the rec area, I had missed the camping area altogether. Checking the time, I decided to use my last 10 minutes of daylight to find a place to setup the tent out of view. Spotting a line of four wild turkeys, I initially tried to find a tree limb suitable for hanging my food, but failed. I loaded everything into the tent instead.
Short on water, dinner consisted cold rations of dark chocolate, peanuts & raisins (GORP) and the remainder of my Nelson (WI) Creamery cheddar cheese. Not wanting to mess with the sleeping pad in case I got evicted overnight, I pulled out the sleeping bag and pillow and hunkered down for the night.