Thursday Sept 14th—After a warm and starry night at Whiterock Conservancy, we headed to the Riverside campground just around the corner and rode Shooting Star, The Big Dipper, Long Creek and to the 805 Cabin and back along Riverside. The trails follow the Raccoon River and Whiterock is an amazing place. They are a land conservancy that was once an Iowa sustainable farm. One thousand acres are still farmed and the rest hosts campgrounds, horse trails, hiking trails and mountain biking trails. One campground has electric and water, the three others have bathrooms and showers only. The Riverside campground has an old barn where they host music and gatherings, the Starfield Campground hosts astronomy evenings and the campgrounds all have horse corrals and hay for those who bring their horses. What a gem! Right now Iowa is in a bit of a drought cycle. Everything is covered in dist. The cornflower picture shows the blue flower and the foliage covered in dust. Most of the roads out here are gravel and if someone is ahead of you, you keep a healthy distance behind. At the grocery store, we couldn’t even tell the color of some vehicles from the back!! We rode early to beat the unusual heat (90 degrees) and showered before we headed for Elk Point SD. Again, like Michigan, the trails had no obstacles, just flowy riding, but with more climbing than we saw in Michigan. The biggest challenge was navigating the hickory nuts (does anyone remember Ewell Gibbons?), bur acorns (they have fuzzy caps), butternuts, and soft sand along the trails. Lots of wildflowers still out around here.
We were on a good secondary road when an oncoming car was trying to pass a semi, but realized there was no room….so she tried to pull back in behind the semi, but actually launched off the oncoming car and did an end over end. We were coming the other way behind another semi and saw the car in the air higher than the truck in front of us. The semi in front of us stopped in time to avoid hitting her head on and we stopped in time to not rearend the semi. But the car that did a flip and the other car had drivers with injuries. Unbelievably, the lady in the car that flipped was belted in and only looked like she had minor injuries. All of her airbags deployed and she was left hanging upside down, held in by her seat belt. Butch crawled in and saw that she was awake and alert but her head was being cut by some loose parts on the door. Butch and another bystander were able to stabilize her neck and get her out of the seat belt. An hour later we were on our way to Elk Point, South Dakota.
Relearning geography by traveling is much ore fun than when we were in school. We crossed the Mississippi to enter Iowa and then rode along the east bank of the Missouri River today. We are camped at Elk Point City campground (I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends, but it will do for the night). This is where Lewis and Clark held the first election west of the Mississippi on the expedition after losing General Floyd in Sioux City. They camped here for 10 days before heading up the Missouri River. When they came back through 2 years later, the cap was still here and a fur trapper was living in it!