CTN TransAm 09
40 days on the road
3750 miles by bicycle
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Chris Nadovich's 2009 Transamerica Bike Tour.

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    Fri, 26 Jun 2009

    Royalton, MN -- Across the Mississippi!

    [MISSISSIPPI] When I first saw the Old Man, he appeared to be flowing northward. That rocked my world for a minute. How could the Mississippi be flowing North? Could we be above its source? Did we cross it earlier and I didn't notice? Was there some strange Twilight Zone spaciotemporal inversion happening? Back in Montana, Gary claimed he could move US 2 with his mind. Could this reversal of the Mississippi be an unintended consequence of his meddling?

    But no, things were not askew. Soon enough I realized that the surface waves were flowing north because of the brisk south wind that had been blowing all day. The current was certainly flowing south, as it should, a fact I confirmed when we rode by a dam that made the flow direction obvious.

    We were detoured onto "Great River Road" and then crossed on a nondescript bridge on county 26. There was no sign saying "Mississippi River". We had 100 miles in our legs and the event was rather "subdued". Still, I felt a thrill. We did it! By every measure, we are past halfway.

    Observed from the unheralded spot we crossed, and from our nearby campsite, the Mississippi appears a very pretty river. It reminded me of the Delaware in terms of width and turbidity -- clear, cool water that was not muddy at all. As I watched from shore, two boys set off on a small launch. They didn't make it 100 yards down the center of the river before they crunched their outboard against some unexpected snag. No, this isn't the Delaware. It's Mark Twain's Mississippi for sure.

    Actually, psychologically, I think the Mississippi represents the beginning of the final third of the trip. We conquered the Rockies. We conquered the Great Plains. Now we ride through the populated east to our homes. Tomorrow we'll be in Wisconsin. We are less than ten days from Niagara Falls.

    Because of the wind, the riding was sneaky tiring today. We rode by "Inspiration Peak" and were not inspired. It was nowhere as bad as the straight, flat, windy, nothing of North Dakota, the scenery continues to improve, but it was still work to ride against the wind all day. After we crossed the Mississippi there was a campground immediately on the other side where we stopped for the day. Even though town was less than 3 miles further, we didn't bother to ride in for dinner, so it was trail food and rusty water. And sleep.

    [P6260001] By the way, I saw one interesting thing today that I managed to photograph: a helicopter doing crop dusting. The chopper had a companion tank truck loaded with fuel and whatever chemical was being dusted. The pilot would set the craft down directly on top of the truck (there was a platform built on it for the purpose), reload tanks, and fly off for more dusting.

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    © 2009 C.T. Nadovich