Day 43 - Oxford to Rock Island - C2C - from Westport, Washington to Sandy Hook, New Jersey - CycleBlaze

July 15, 2016

Day 43 - Oxford to Rock Island

Last day in Iowa - kinda low on juice.
Back on the road into Iowa City at sunrise, but it was pretty busy.
The only way in from the west -
No shoulder, badly cracked pavement, and heavy traffic.

When I got into town, I switched off to bike paths.
They were blocked at a few places requiring detours -
Culminating with three flights of stairs with a loaded bike.
This is why I generally avoid bike paths - even if the roads are poor.

The Old State Capitol at Iowa City
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At this point, I really had no desire to explore Iowa City.
Yes, it is a college town - but I’ve been in many college towns before.
Actually, Grinnell is a college town - Iowa City is a college city.
There’s a difference.

So it was back on the road again - with a slight headwind.
West Liberty proved a wonderful surprise.
Because of the ag plants, the town is 50% Hispanic.
Instead of an empty Main St., it is filled with little tiendas.
I had a huge dish of arroz con pollo for lunch - - ummmmm.

Abandoned Small Factory in West Liberty
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Downtown West Liberty with Lots of Mexican Tiendas
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Then it was more Iowa miles. Gotta be honest - -
I was in a “When you’ve seen one cornfield, you’ve seen ‘em all” mood.

I was looking forward to visiting the old mill on Wildcat Creek.
It did not disappoint. Beautiful setting. Tumbling water.
Dating from the middle 19th cetury - it is both water and steam powered.
And it is still operational - amazing technologies of the era.

The Mill at Wildcat Creek
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The Machinery Inside the Mill
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Then more narrow highway and broken pavement - “Hello, Iowa DOT?”

The Lovely Roads of Iowa
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Heading to Davenport.
My friends Jeff and Lisa are getting married this weekend.
Jeff grew up in Davenport, a rough-around-the-edges manufacturing city.
And, of course, many of its union jobs have been exported.

The clouds that had been around all day began to lift - as did my spirits.
As I rounded a bend I came upon a stunning view of the Mississippi and Centennial Bridge.
I think it’s the most beautiful bridge on the river.

Perfect View of the Centennial Bridge over the Mississippi
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I did the unthinkable - I got a far-too-expensive room at the Holiday Inn in Rock Island.
I guess there is cause to celebrate - reaching the Mississippi River.
Then I cycled across the Centennial Bridge in the late afternoon light.

Crossing the Mississippi
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Today's ride: 77 miles (124 km)
Total: 2,307 miles (3,713 km)

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