We've left the plains and are into the rolling hills and lakes of Wisconsin. My pre-trip thought was of sailing across the prairie states, a west wind making pedaling almost unnecessary. The truth proved to be quite the opposite as we encountered strong-to-fierce headwinds and crosswinds the whole time. My expectation of average speed rising was dashed, in fact reversed.
- the caricature of Iowa as never ending cornfields is not true. They also grow a lot of soybeans there.
- my notes on cycling day 24, from Clear Lake, Iowa to West Union, Iowa: "Should have been an easy day: only 150km and modest vertical. We got hit by heavy rain riding into lunch. The rain at lunch was extremely heavy. Rode very hard after lunch to generate body heat. Garmin David went down in a crash with Australian Ray. Minor damage to body and bike. Stacie engagement: Stacie, from Phoenix, has been living with her guy Tom for 20 years. She's 55 or so, he's 60. They are not married, though only in the formal sense. From this trip they are traveling to France to study French and to find a region to which they will move to retire in a few years. Tom, not on our trip, came up to Clear Lake, Iowa to see Stacy last night - only able to stay 1 night. Stacy was riding with a group of us late morning when Tom drove past us and yelled something about seeing her up ahead.
When we got to where he'd stopped, he went down on the road on one knee and proposed. She said yes - without getting off her bike - and rode off to catch up with the rest of us. He got in his car and headed back to Phoenix !!"
- I say, a lot, "life is good in [fill in name of wherever we are at that moment]. One of the guys bought me a t-shirt in Madison, Wisconsin that reads "Life is good in Madison"
- distances: I think I may now understand the Stockholm Syndrome and Patti Hearst's defense. As we got ready to ride today, the chatter was "only 88 miles (142 kilometres) today", as if that's sane. After 159 hours, 56 minutes in the saddle, one's perspective is skewed.
- my total for distance passed 4,000 kilometres today; body is holding up reasonably well, with my biggest concern being some tightness in my neck and shoulders. I have to concentrate on riding with my upper body relaxed and with my elbows lower.
- the good thoughts all are sending have helped Leigh (enjoy Budapest) and Lorne. Please add our friend Ronnie, wishing for a full and speedy recovery.
- we crossed the Mississippi River a couple of days ago. I was surprised to see that act had meaning for some of the Americans on our trip. Tomorrow we take a ferry across Lake Michigan. To me the significance will be only 14 more sleeps until I come home to my wife and family.