5. Iowa & Minnesota Bicycling Across The USA

Iowa and Minnesota, Sept. 19 to 26

We rode into Iowa on a county road just north of State Route 9 on Friday, September 19. We were within a few miles of Route 9 on Saturday as we rode into Spirit Lake. Jim turned north on Sunday to get to Jackson, Minnesota, riding along US Highway 71. Brad followed a day later. We were riding through platted townships, so we used quiet county roads parallel to the state highways as much as possible. We blocked out the route on the major roads and then used the state’s official bicycling map to make specific decisions.  It’s a great map.

Monday, September 22 was a rest day in Jackson, Jim’s home town. On Tuesday we rode a mile north of Jackson, crossed Interstate 90, and picked up State Route 16. This was once a Federal highway that went from Detroit to Yellowstone, but in Minnesota and Michigan the US government switched its spending to the interstate. The road is still there, however, and we followed it most of the way across the state. On Tuesday night we stayed at a county-owned campground in Wells. On Wednesday we were at a private RV park outside of Spring Lake. On Thursday we reached the Root River Rail Trail, which gave us a 40-mile break from traffic and a wonderful campsite at a public nature center in Houston. On Friday we continued east and crossed the Mississippi River to LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

By bradedmondson

Writing about social change and how it happens.

2 replies on “Iowa and Minnesota, Sept. 19 to 26”

Hi Jim and Sara,

Have been reading your entries and enjoying the detail and local color you include in your descriptions. I am impressed with your stamina. Would love to ride some of NY state with you.



After being in the red for some time, you have finally at least reached light blue territory, and your first blue since Washington State.

Do you have a political bumper sticker on your bag?

This Minnesota you are in seems to have a high density of roads, or is the map scale throwing me off?

Marguerite and I were in eastern Massachusetts the last few days and my thought on driving there was how dangerous its winding and narrow (no shoulders) roads were for cyclists.

I look forward to some general comments on the cycling suitability of each state. Our Finger Lakes roads look very good to me and I would chose them over the other states I’ve lived and cycled in: Utah, Tennessee, and California. They can’t, though, hold a candle to Germany.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s