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Iowa to Michigan Tour, part 1

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Iowa to Michigan Tour, part 1

Old 03-14-22, 11:11 AM
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IPassGas
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Iowa to Michigan Tour, part 1

In summer (2021) we toured from Cedar Rapids IA to Ludington MI following the map below. Here is a short report. I have documented some of our previous trips in much detail on a different website, but that is much work (perhaps when retired) and so trying a shorter version in 3 parts. We have previously toured the UP (Upper Peninsula) and lower MI. Our new places on this route were Iowa and the length of the Wisconsin river. We had 6 weeks for the route, and to adjust to that timeframe, rented a U-Haul from Manitowoc WI to Cedar Rapids IA after taking the ferry at Ludington MI. The ferry parking lots are a great place to leave the car for an extended time. We camp and usually cook on tour but will go to a good restaurant if on the way or near camp. We planned the route in winter, choosing roads/trails with lower traffic and/or having shoulders shown from goggle street view. The entire route in detail is on RWGPS, with some deviations as will be noted owing to weather. Without exception and weather aside, the roads/trails on the entire route were a joy to bike on.


ridewithgps.com/collections/22466?privacy_code=qOJvYsc3UeAdc5MA



We headed west from Cedar Rapids choosing an overall route that connected with many Iowa trails. The trail system is awesome! From Cedar Rapids to our western most point, Storm Lake, we rode these trails: Cedar Valley Nature, Pioneer, Pine Lake, High Trestle, Raccoon River Valley, Sauk River. We connected the trails following lighter trafficked roads based on camp destinations, the great Iowa bike map, and info from friends. The High Trestle Trail was a highlight. We camped near it and were able to ride it in day and nighttime, spectacular! All the trails were spectacular, but this is a “short” report.

We started the tour mid-June in an effort to avoid heat (Iowa can get hot), unfortunately a heat wave hit for a week with a couple of days near 100 F. It was also very dry, so Iowans took to cruising their boats on the corn fields (see pic ). We shortened those days and found cool places to hang out. While in this part of Iowa we toured with 2 to 6 friends. Our tour guides knew the best hang outs. Other friends showed up at various shady places along the route or at campgrounds with food and drink. One day we meet up at a cemetery in the middle of nowhere and a party broke out, lots of fun, great people….ooohhhhh to be on tour again! We tend to draw attention (tandem with gear?) from the locals which is always great for a chit-chat. We were often asked if Ragbrai was early this year…nope, just trying to avoid the heat (that didn’t work) and crowds.






Boat cruising the corn

Many campgrounds have some sort of shelter. One night (Swan Lake?) a bad storm came through with tornados nearby. Everyone moved with bikes into a nearby shelter to ride out the storm. Nice to have a place other than your tent to hang out when raining. Always great to find that your tent does not leak in a major deluge of rain. After Lakeview, all our friends bid us farewell and we are now on backroads until Minnesota. The Midwest generally has a good system of backroads with light traffic, perhaps because of farming. The northern part of Iowa has many small lakes that are great camps and our destinations for various days: Lakeview, Storm Lake, Five Islands Lake, Crystal Lake. Our route took us through many interesting small towns in Iowa. Some have a fun “big” thing going on like the World’s largest frying pan or World’s biggest popcorn ball or the World’s largest bullhead fish. At Five Islands there are two campgrounds across from each other with the lake between, go to the western side (we chose wrong).





From Crystal Lake, we headed more northerly through St. Ansgar to eventually connect with the Root river trail in Minnesota. The next report will cover the MN/WI part of the tour.
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Old 03-14-22, 02:15 PM
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Incredible!

Wow! You have traveled on a few paths I want to do also. Namely Cedar Falls to Iowa City. I have yet to ride the Sauk from Carrol to Lake View.

FYI when you overnighted at twin anchors near Colo, you dropped down to Maxwell and onto the "Heart of Iowa Nature Trail". You ran this till Slater where you joined the High Trestle. So glad you got to see the bridge at night!

I'll use your ride with gps info for some of my future excursions. I live north of Ames near Interstate 35 Iowa has an incredible amount of cycling infrastructure for long distance riding on protected rail trails.

​​​​​​
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Old 03-14-22, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
FYI when you overnighted at twin anchors near Colo, you dropped down to Maxwell and onto the "Heart of Iowa Nature Trail". You ran this till Slater where you joined the High Trestle. So glad you got to see the bridge at night!​​​​​​
Yes, thanks, I missed a trail in the list. We camped at whistlin donkey and then the next day stopped at ...

It was warm when we were on the Trestle at night, lots of people cruising on bikes or walking. What a great idea to light it!
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Old 03-15-22, 06:29 AM
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Now you need to get to Garrison, ND, and see Wally, the world's largest walleye.
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