I got up bright and early this morning. After breakfast in downtown Hastings, Minnesota, I cycled across the “big muddy” into Wisconsin, and soon there-after, the St. Croix River in Prescott. The clear waters of the St. Croix swirl and mix in with the Mississippi as they make their way to the Gulf of Mexico.

20120701-224456.jpgThis is a view of Hastings from someone’s driveway I stopped in. The first bridge built over the Mississippi was a railroad near Davenport, Iowa in 1856 (the railroads hired a young attorney named Abraham Lincoln to fight the steamship companies). The first auto bridge in Hastings charged a 25 cent toll. In the winter, cars would drive across the frozen river to avoid the toll.

I followed the Great River Road south-east out of Prescott. The GRR is a series of state and local roads that shadow the Mississippi River through 10 states. The 30 mile section I rode was hilly, climbing easily for 1, 2, or 3 miles up to rolling farmland, and then a corresponding descent back to the water. The Burlington Northern Railway along the river is used by 40-50 trains a day. I saw a bunch, even two at once headed in opposite directions. It was Sunday afternoon and although I was never passed by a truck, dozens of noisy, obnoxious motorcycles almost made it un-enjoyable.

In the late 1800’s the river had a channel dredged 4 1/2 feet deep along it’s entire length. In the 30’s, the depth was doubled and 29 locks and dams were constructed. I turned east away from the river in Maiden Rock, on the shores of Lake Pepin.

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I climbed up to the small town called Plum City. Wisconsin has a unique way of numbering their roads; they letter them.

20120701-231728.jpgI like the letters, they seem more interesting.

It was a very hot day, over 90 degrees. I was drinking a lot and moving slowly but surely. The town of Durland, on the Chippewa River, is a lovely setting, and only 16 miles from the final town on my itinerary. As I turned on to Main Street, I saw a memory;

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I arrived in Mondovi, WI at 6:30, after seven hours on the bike. I made a reservation for the Monitowic, WI / Ludington, MI ferry for early Friday morning. Real early, 1:00 a.m., and I reserved a stateroom. This way I can sleep and travel. It should be my highest mileage day!

Bonus photo of a Mondovi Entertainment spot;

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