Day 17, Aug 3rd

Start: Austin, MN

Finish: Prairie Du Chien, WI

Miles: 149

Elevation Gain: 3200'


Windsor Place Inn

1936 Marquette Rd.

Prairie Du Chien, WI 53821


Click on an image to see a larger view

The first leg of each day is often some of the most pleasant riding - the temperature is cool, the wind is calm, and there is hardly any traffic on the roads. Today was no exception. The roads were very smooth and we were able to comfortably cruise at 20+ mph to the first SAG stop at mile 39. I rode in a nice paceline for about the first half of this leg, then pulled off the front with Doug and Susie on their tandem for the rest of the way.

We crossed the Mississippi River today just before arriving in Prairie du Chien

The temperature when we started was 68 degrees and the dew point was 67. Needless to say, the air was pretty thick, but since it was cool enough, none of us seemed to mind. The meadows all had a thing layer of fog, making the views very beautiful.

The temperature never really got too high because the sun was almost always obscured by clouds or at least some haze. Again, the weather channel predicted

Many of the homes had nice gardens in front, but this was one of my favorites

thunderstorms, but somehow we managed to avoid them. We did get a taste of what they can be like though. While we were eating dinner, one swept through. Coming from Seattle, I haven't seen a storm like this in quite some time. I'm sure one of these days, there will be payback for the good cycling weather we've been getting and we'll see one of these storms in the daytime.

The winds did start to pick up a bit after the first SAG stop, and most of the time we were riding directly into them. However, the smooth roads and reasonably cool weather made all the difference and most folks had a nice ride today.

We were in three states today - starting in Minnesota, we spent most of the day in Iowa, then ending in Wisconsin. Tomorrow, we'll spend most of the day in the rolling hills of Wisconsin, then end up in Illinois for the night.

This is farm dog country. There were several occasions when dogs chased us as we went by "their" property. In almost all cases, it seemed to be a half-hearted attempt, or the dogs just wanted to say hello and weren't vicious. On one occasion after the first SAG stop, I was riding with Steve (from our crew). As we passed a farmhouse with Steve in the lead, we heard a dog bark and then clicking of dog claws on the road. I yelled to Steve "go, go, go, go" as the dog started to close in on us barking again. We accelerated quickly and when Steve realized the dog wasn't going to catch us, he slowed down just out of the dog's reach and said "come on, come on." The dog chased us for another hundred yards before giving up. When the next rider came by a few minutes later, the dog just sat on his from step and watched him go by.

This is also mosquito country. When we stopped at the last rest stop, the mosquitoes swarmed us in seconds. Needless to say, we didn't wait around long. Poor Les was stuck there for a few hours, although he was slathered with mosquito repellent.

On the quirky things you see along the way - this actually happened yesterday but I forgot to write about it. When we were about five miles outside of Austin, we passed a small farm house and there was a middle-aged man mowing his lawn with a push mower...wearing nothing but jocky underwear. This looked like something he did regularly since he was completely tanned on all parts of his body we could see.

Note - the route map above is incorrect. We actually rode through Cresco (our lunch stop). I'll have to fix the map when I get home and have access to the map program.

Our early morning ride group - Steve, Doug and Susie on the tandem, Greg, Elizabeth and Walt Lots of farms today. Still lots of corn and soybean, but also lots of dairy farms The fog in the morning made the scenery more dramatic than usual

Another scenic farm Our first rest stop Lots of choices for food at the SAG stops

Richard getting a bite to eat Steve Sheerin from our able crew Small town

More small town A nice view from the ride We had lunch in Cresco today

It was slightly hazy all day The rural roads in Iowa were quite nice - smooth asphalt and little traffic A Riverboat on the Mississippi