Day 8 - LaCrosse to St. John - C2C - from Westport, Washington to Sandy Hook, New Jersey - CycleBlaze

June 10, 2016

Day 8 - LaCrosse to St. John

Rain, rain go away. Last night I heard a few drops on my tent and argued with myself about whether I should put the fly on or not. I did - plus I moved the tent onto the gravel lot because I heard the sprinklers coming on. Little did I realize that the sprinklers were the least of my concerns.

Stone Cabin without a Roof
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It rained all night. Hard. I woke up a few times - had a dream about leaking ceilings at my house. At sunrise it was socked in like Seattle - not the Palouse by any stretch - and the drizzle looked to continue for a long time. I should have set up under the picnic shelter, but I only suspected a few showers. Now that everything was wet, I moved it to the shelter hoping that things would dry some.

I decided to take a walkabout downtown LaCrosse when the rain let up. Abandoned houses, abandoned businesses. There’s a big hole where something big used to be. Now it’s just some walls and a basement filling with water.

Remains of a Downtown LaCrosse Store
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After waiting out another rain spell, I went back downtown and found the store/library/community center open. The town has chosen to run a store to keep basic groceries available in the town. And they restored the old grocery beautifully. So that’s where I warmed up and did my journaling. Still waiting for the rain to stop.

Ty from the cafe stopped in an invited me to come by for lunch - which I did a little later. Kristal had made a chicken pot pie with local whole wheat crust - - yummmm! Hot and scrumptious. We visited a while longer. They are working with the town to keep the cafe going. A multiracial family with a beautiful young daughter - they say they are O.K. with the town. I wish them the very best. The weather radar showed clearing by 2:00 - so I zipped back to the park and packed up.

Hillsides Covered in Wildflowers with a Blue Sky
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Old House and New Barn
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One of my goals for this trip was to ride through the Palouse in the late spring - and it was everything I had hoped for. The road to St. John was almost entirely empty - maybe 12 cars in 30 miles. Gorgeous hills and valleys. Wildflowers. (Actually vetch is a weed, but it filled the roadside with purple splashes.) And by the time I was halfway there, the sun came out.

Emerald Green Hillsides
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A Wonderful Road to Cycle
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I zoomed down the hill into St. John at 5:30, but I was at least a half hour too late for most things - maybe an hour. St. John is a farming town and everything opens and closes early. 6:00 is almost like midnight in the big town. I did find a little cafe open and had a quick dinner. Then I went out to the fairgrounds and set up my tent in the sunshine to dry, laid out a few things on the cement, and was asleep before the sun was down.

Grain Elevator in the Late Afternoon Light
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St. John on a Very Quiet Friday Afternoon
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Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 420 miles (676 km)

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