The overnight lows have been on a downward trend, this morning dawned cooler than the last. During breakfast I had was pointedly ignored by one of the resident dogs; neither begging for attention nor food, just being there, enjoying the sun.
Silver Lake Campground had signs up on every water faucet: “WATER IS NOT SAFE TO DRINK” so I got to use my Katadyn water filter for the first time. Save spare parts; I’ve now used all of the gear I’m carrying.
Having paid $10 for the campsite, I was happy to discover the showers were HOT, even if dimly lit.
I rolled down Highway 61, I was excited to see I not only had my own freshly paved “lane”, but also had a lane to keep the highway traffic at bay. After I turned off that, it was gravel roads alternating with two-lane paved highways the rest of the way to Fort Madison.
In Fort Madison, I got lost, and wound up traversing the almost the whole of town looking for lunch.
I eventually found Jake & Walt’s diner, where I picked the signature “Wally Burger.” One pound, covered in American and Swiss cheese, mushrooms and onions. It looked like a monster, but it didn’t last long, so I took the staff recommendation and had a slice of peanut butter pie, too. ($13 after coffee and tip, if you’re wondering Tim.)
On the way out of town, the weather took a turn for the worse, threatening rain. The winds picked up, and the first sprinkles started. My GPS kept telling me to take a U-turn as I passed the sign for the Duck Haven campground in Fort Madison. Stubbornly I pressed on, and my luck took a turn for the worse. My directions told me to take Highway 61, which had been newly rebuilt as a four-lane super highway. I declined. Rather, I inclined up the steep US-2 hill instead.
The sky brightened, but the light was short lived. I continued riding little gravel roads. As the sun set, I was once again grateful to have the dynamo powered lights. Then the fun of blindly trusting the navigational duties to the GPS began. I could be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure I crossed Hwy 61 twice (if not three times) in the dark before finding my way to an open camp ground (the first was “1/8 mile” up some never-ending gravel hill, a sign said, but it remained hidden in the dark. I found the second campground, and it was closed). Third campground was the charm. It invited weary travelers to find a spot and square up with the office in the morning, so I did.