I did not leave Fred and Deborah's home until around 3 p.m.
I had not expected to stay so long; however, they made a delicious BLT lunch for me including Fred's famous guacamole.
My ride from Bettendorf into Dubuque, Iowa was a close second to my ride in Missouri wine country.
The only drawback to Iowa was its roads.
Too many cracks and changes in pavement caused a bumpy ride.
On this particular route, I followed 67 into Buffalo Bill territory (Le Claire). The downtown area was quaint; it had beautiful views of the Great River.
Later, I passed a town called Princeton. Following that town, I drove into Clinton. A few interesting twists and turns around downtown made that ride memorable. It had a bit of construction underway, too.
A huge ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) plant could be seen on the right hand side and various smells spewed from it. Everything from wet dog food to sickeningly sweet corn.
I also passed three quarries, agricultural fields, cemeteries, and residential housing areas.
The journey became more luxurious just a few miles before I reached Jackson County, Iowa. Elevation levels kept changing; the roads began winding and twisting; drop-off cliffs kept popping up in various spots.
At times I thought I might have been in California; the only thing missing?
My favorite piece of the trip was when I reached Bellevue State Park which on my route along what changed into 52. Bellevue's elevated view of the Mississippi tops all others. Part its majesty comes from what you see on the east side of the river: LANDSCAPE.
I was taken aback by the breathtaking view of it all. My only regret was that I did not stop and take pictures of it because I was eager to reach my destination at a reasonable hour. You'll just have to trust me on those views. (Google Bellevue Iowa State Park and click on images... then, you'll see.)
When I passed Bellevue, I crossed through another tiny town before reaching the outskirts of Dubuque.
Rather than ascending, I began to descend then level out into the city.
Dubuque greets you with its port on the right and its downtown on the left.
Normally, I would have pulled into some gas station to GPS my next stop; however, I chose to go with the curves of the road and follow my instincts into what I remembered from the online directions. I stopped at a chocolate and candy shop and found I was two streets away from my airbnb host's home.
It was less than a mile away.
Even the teenager at the counter was surprised at my luck.
I knocked on the door and Jason answered. He was a tall, buff young man who smiled when he saw me. He introduced himself and let me put my bike in his cross-fit rigged garage.
He showed me my room (the entire finished basement), my comfortable cot, and my bathroom. The "garden apartment" was all mine for $27 a night!
I settled into my new place and unpacked my bag.
He and his fiance directed me to a good dive bar and burger joint; I opted to walk to West Dubuque Tap to stretch my legs.
The bar was busy for a Monday night.
Two guys to my left, two guys to my right, and a four-top behind me when I arrived at around 8 p.m.
I ordered a greasy burger with sweet potato fries and a half-pint of a Wisconsin beer. Pretty sure the brew was called Potosi.
Following the late dinner, I walked back to my host's home and fell asleep around 10 p.m.
Wide awake, I checked my phone to learn that it was 3:47 a.m.
I tried to fall back asleep; instead, I struggled.
Unsure of when I drifted back into REM, I awoke near 10 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
Not exactly an early start to my day.
I made some tea; I ate some oatmeal; and I made a few phone calls.
By the time I left Jason's, it was somewhere near the noon hour. I ran into him on my way out; he offered some advice on where to go and what to see.
I offer some highlights from this afternoon's excursion.
The brewing house is now home to the Stone Cliff Winery.
I plan on stopping back by that place later today for its Tuscan pizza and some vintage Iowa wine.
When I ventured around downtown Dubuque today, what I noticed was its number of churches and cathedrals.
Not sure how many, but when you look up all you seem to see are steeples galore.
I also noticed how the accents are much thicker here due to the city's proximity to Wisconsin. If you know a Wisconsinite, you know exactly how that accent sounds.
Five small colleges surround the Dubuque area, so this Mississippi River community is definitely on the rise.
Revitalization can be seen.
Dubuque's gorgeous Carnegie-Stout Public Library recently had a face-lift, and renovations can be seen in other parts of the institution.
With its sweeping elevations and expansive views of the Great River, this part of Iowa leaves me both curious and perplexed.
In a surprising...
huh... Joe Jackson...
Field of Dreams...
sort of way.
Until we meet again, my friend.