• 90.3 miles/ 2,641 total
  • Rock in a house
  • 3 stingers to finish, 9, 11, 13%

We went to sleep last night with showers starting. They continued all night, turning into thundershowers by morning. It was looking grim enough we packed almost all our foul weather gear on the bike. We wore booties, rain jackets, and rain caps on the helmets. Many people tried to wait out the storm, but we figured the rain was here for the long haul so we might as well get going. We were out by 7.

Wisconsin has been in the throes of a terrible drought. Crops have been drying up all around. We talked with the cashier at a KwikMart who told us the storms have been coming right to the edge of the state, then disappearing. It’s been driving the farmers crazy. Today they should be happy because as far as I could tell, they got a good soaking.

We were drenched from the time we got on the road. It wasn’t terribly cool, right around 70 most of the day. But the wet was everywhere. It’s funny because the wet didn’t bother us as much as the wet from humidity had done the previous couple of days. Wet falling from the sky seems more reasonable somehow. We didn’t expect it to last as long as it did, though.

Along the way to picnic we stopped in Fountain City to see the Rock in the House. One day 12 years ago a woman was working in her kitchen when she heard a big BOOM! Two hundred tons of rock had fallen off the bluffs behind her house. One 55-ton rock rolled all the way down the hill and embedded itself in her bedroom. It looks almost like a milling wheel. (Imagine the rock wheel BC rides around on, except it is 15 feet tall and 4 feet wide.) Other than the bedroom being demolished, there was virtually no damage to the house. Unoccupied now (you can guess why) the house is kept as it was that day. Photos show the path the rock plowed down the hillside. Calling it rock in the house is a bit understated. It is very impressive.

The rain stopped while we had picnic. That was a welcome relief. But as soon as we started rolling, it started coming back down. Some folks were getting grumpy, but really, what’s to be done? We weren’t getting wetter. It was relatively comfortable without being overly hot. It really wasn’t even unpleasant. It was just wet.

The skies lightened and we dared hope it might be stopping. We dumped our jackets, booties, and helmet covers. Sheila even dried her feet and put on socks. It was blissful. We took note of how different the landscape was here. Trees are all over and there are bluffs as you go along the Mississippi River that remind me of Chinese landscapes. There are also the fields of corn and soy, but the ambiance is much more northwest than plains. And some Sandhill Cranes

The rain returned for our last 15 miles. We made do with just our jackets since we were wet through and through. Besides, there were 3 stiff climbs coming at the end of the day. Each had a long run-up of staircase climbs: climb, level off, climb, level off. Then the road turned sharply to the sky. All of them were about a third of a mile long, so they were short. But the first one was at 9%, the second was at 11% and the third was at 13%. What a nasty way to finish a 91 mile day! Did I mention it was raining still? Now our hope is to dry it all overnight.

Crossing the Great Muddy
A day for the birds