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.