Day 17: The Great River Trail - I'm your Huckleberry - CycleBlaze

July 21, 2016

Day 17: The Great River Trail

“That is just the way with some people. They get down on a thing when they don’t know nothing about it.” - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

"I'm really concerned about the world right now. Things are changing."

I had stopped after seeing a woman wandering around in a field. It was only after I asked, "what are you doing out here?" that I noticed she had an official looking shirt, the kind a park ranger might wear, and held an even more official looking clipboard.

"I'm counting butterflies," she said.

It was early morning but not as early as it should have been. I left early to beat the heat but was thwarted by downed trees on the trail. The storm that they predicted was a reality and there were branches down all over the place. I was able to get around most of them but a down tree is a different matter. So I doubled back, found a parallel road to the trail I had been riding on and eventually made my way back to a section of the trail that had no trees to worry about. It was there I met the woman counting Monarch butterflies in a wildlife refuge near the river.

"It is sad this year because we have so few of them. There was a deep freeze in Mexico during a key point in their development. We normally see an awful lot as they migrate north, but not this year."

I had heard something about that because butterflies migrate through California as well.

"The world seems to be changing," she went on. "The crop-dusters come over all the time. They spray the the fields with pesticides," she added, pointing to the nearby corn field," but they spray on this area as well all the time. What does that do to the wildlife? They just don't care. We need to stop using all the pesticides. Did you know that the farmers are now finding that the old ways of growing many crops give a better yield than the GMO's (Genetically Modified Organism)?"

I didn't know that and was surprise, but don't know why I should be. It seems like many times when man tries to make things "better" for profit that it has the opposite effect.

We talked for a while about what climate change is doing to the world and her job in the preserve. I figured I better move on before I come too depressed to ride. Besides, they forecast was for another blazing hot day and I wanted to get a move on.

I was riding on The Great River Trail, which I mentioned in yesterdays post, but I'll mention it again seeing as I am a mentioner.

The trail is 60 miles of dedicated bike trail in Illinois, with Savanna on one end and Moline area on the other.

So far I am enjoying it. The trail is mostly paved bike path with a few quiet country roads as connectors. Most of it is easy to follow if you just keep your eyeballs opened for the signs.

One of the more interesting sites was in Fulton, where they have a fully functioning windmill from Holland. You don't see that everyday. Well, I suppose if you live in Holland you might see it every day, but not in The Land of The Free and The Home of The Brave.

From there it was just normal bike touring site and sounds. Many of which you can see below.

The day ended in Hampton in a nice little campground next to the river. It was sweltering hot, and a bit too buggy for my taste, but it is home for the night after a good day on the bike. Who can complain about that?

I was able to get around some of the downed branches, but eventually it got to be too much. I forgot my chain saw at the hotel. It was time for plan "B" and a detour around the bike path for a while.
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I think this was some kind of fundraiser. Not sure. But whatever it is the main point seems to be to sell corn.
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The Dutch windmill in Fulton, Illinois
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Inside the windmill they had the ability to grind grain into flour
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They also had a great little windmill museum with model windmills from around the world
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Things you see on the road
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Bridge at Fulton
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Some of the trail ran next to the road. I kind of liked this. Just think about how many more people would ride their bike if we had more "bike roads" like this.
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The river front in the town of Cordova
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Cordova Riverfront exercise equipment
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This was a giant rider in Port Byron
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Artwork by the kids of Cordova. They shut down the street so the kids can paint. Each gets a little section...
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....for example.
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I have seen more freight trains in the past two weeks than I have seen all year
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It's not just people who like the river
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Fun on the Mississippi River
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I'm not quite sure what this is but I kind of like it
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Sunset from my campground
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Today's ride: 51 miles (82 km)
Total: 1,143 miles (1,839 km)

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