Tag Archives: Driftless Area

Day 7 Waukon to Lansing

You’re only as old as you feel!20170729_1122_HavingFun-Eric+Anne-HarpersFerryFour big hills to finish out the week, and even in Montana we would consider each of these as worthy of the name.


Google Earth profile. Total distance ~ 45 miles, vertical interval 50 feet.

Our route took us through the Yellow River State Forest, where even though we knew we’d arrive at different times, we carefully planned a Team Photo that we would later photoshop together. 20170729_100055_KenAnneEric@YellowRiverSFSign

Unfortunately we failed to agree on which sign was to serve as the backdrop for the photo. I deserve most of the blame for texting bad info to the trailing members of the group. I was flustered because there was no cell phone service at all in the deep valleys along today’s route, including the first town of Waterville, so I recommended an alternate sign shown with one Nitwit below.20170729_1008_Anne@YellowRiverStateForest

Luckily most members of the team consistently ignored all my texts throughout the week, so even if we didn’t manage an all-group photo in the Forest, we met up successfully in Harpers Ferry (a very fun town where I incidentally finished up my Quest with an excellent slice of rhubarb pie, and also scarfed some great deep-fried catfish) and again at the “First Dip” site just upriver from town.20170729_115209_Dip

The final segment leaving Harpers Ferry was just as beautiful as the previous few days.20170729_1217_Flower-filledValley20170729_1004_HillClimbThe route somehow managed to include two more modest hills, with the last one mostly bathed in very warm direct sunlight, so it was quite a feeling of accomplishment at the top.20170729_1308_BeckyPaulineFloraAnne@TopOfLastHill

20170729_1327_MississippiRiver+LansingBridgeAfter that it was an easy downhill to Lansing with fine views of the Mississippi River and a stop at the just-remodeled Driftless Center.  It was over much too soon (though unpacking and repacking the van with bikes and gear took more than enough time).

RAGBRAI XLV, the best ever–until next time!


Day 6 Cresco to Waukon

20170728_0732_BeckyAnne+RidersStopped-CrescoGet Peaceful. Get Going. (Or Get Both).
ad copy from visitdecorah.com

On the map, the routes for RAGBRAI Days 6 & 7 seem to meander arbitrarily to create 50-60 mile paths where 20-30 would suffice. But as MTV used to say about itself, “too much is never enough”–these are some great days of RAGBRAI. Northeast Iowa, aka The Driftless Area, is actually Big Sky Country–and I should know since I’m from Montana.

Welcome sign @ Toppling Goliath BreweryDay 5 was an Introduction to Hills, but on Day 6 the grades were the real deal. The hill immediately after Decorah was probably the hardest hill of the entire 2017 ride, because it started up abruptly and continued relentlessly. Also, we’d just left Nordicfest and the Toppling Goliath Brewery where the draft oatmeal stout was a truly fine breakfast beer in my opinion. Sadly I missed out on the Nordic Waffles topped with salmon.

The route south and east out of Decorah passed beautiful rolling hills and picturesque clouds.20170728_1210_Clouds


First homestead (1848) in Winneshiek County.


Pie purchased @ Zion Lutheran in Castalia helped cover costs of replacing the church steeple; learn more from a local TV news story

Anne and I arrived in Castalia in time to get one of the last slices of homemade pie, served by another angel, this time disguised as a local high school girl, once again confirming my belief that Iowa is Heaven.After Castalia was Postville, a diverse and interesting town with challenging recent history.  It was also a town with a great brisket sandwich and as luck would have it we were ravenous by the time we arrived.

There was still a ways to go after Postville but as usual there were interesting sights along the way (the Mondrian-styled recumbent trike was much faster than any road bike on downhills but I caught up on an upgrade; more views here).


I doubt many geologists in my part of the country would guess “Iowa” for some of my Day 6-7 pictures.20170728_150919_Roadcut-SedimentaryRock20170728_150929_Roadcut-SedimentaryRock

The Day ended with another fine dinner (though the Waukon Presbyterians struck us as being just slightly greedy charging an extra $2 for pie on top of the $10 dinner–all our other dinners cost $8 or $9 and most included dessert….  It was OK since the pie was excellent and put me within easy reach of my goal for the week–this was piece #17!).

We also got back to camp in time to hit Joe’s Wet Shack, our favorite purveyor of “showers in a truck”. And what day would be complete without a few covers by Hairball, who it turns out have quite an enthusiastic following!20170728_211749_HairballOnStage-SideView

Hard to remember where you parked your bike after a show like that.

20170728_1912_Haystack+Bike-WaukonSad that there’s only one day left. But as a silver lining, it has more hills than any of our previous 13 combined days of RAGBRAI, so it’ll be memorable.