8/20/20 – The Final Four

The evening of August 19thwe pulled into the campsite near the town of Rockford in Northern Illinois. It had been a long drive so I elected to wait till the next morning to do my biking. I am and always have been a morning person. Early the next morning I jumped on Sunride and rode 27 miles around the waterfront area then up toward the Wisconsin state line.  

Nice road in Northern Illinois for an early morning Sunride
Nice road in Northern Illinois for an early morning Sunride

Two young guys riding bikes and carrying fishing poles were out early. We passed each other near a one-lane bridge. They gave Sunride a close look but didn’t stop to ask questions. All over Illinois there seem to be endless cornfields. A great deal of it, I’m sure, goes into that 10% ethanol at the gas stations.

All over Illinois there seem to be endless cornfields

That evening we camped in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. I went out for a nice evening ride on a bike trail running parallel to the Mississippi River. The welcome sign listed Industry, Agriculture, Recreation. I saw all that along the bike trail, lots of industry, baseball fields, and outside the city, plenty of cornfields.

Wisconsin Welcome Sign

I rode 22 miles in Wisconsin, then decided to call it a day. I was down to two states, Minnesota and Iowa, to complete the lower 48. I was so excited I could hardly sleep that night. I just wanted morning to come right away. I was up at 3:30 a.m., blogging and waiting for it to get light outside, which it did a little after 6. Boom, out the door I went, heading across the mighty Mississippi into Minnesota, which had one of the nicest welcome signs of any state I’d seen.

Minnesota Welcome Sign

It was 27 miles along the River down to the Iowa State line. I passed many beautiful vistas on the way, and enjoyed a glorious sunrise.

Sunrise riding along the Mississippi River in Minnesota

Minnesota is known for its many lakes, marshes, and abundant wildlife. I saw a congregation of eight cranes on these waters.

Mississippi River in Minnesota

The early morning sun cast a shadow on me and Sunride as we ambled along the river, making good time, averaging about 22 miles per hour.  

In a little over an hour we crossed into Iowa at the little town of New Albin.

Iowa Welcome Sign

I remembered all the red barns from driving through the Hawkeye State years ago.  Sure enough, they’re still there in great numbers.

One of many red barns in Iowa

I stopped at the market in New Albin to buy some red meat. Judy and I would share a sumptuous T-bone steak to celebrate the 48thstate. The owners came out to view Sunride and  took some photos of their own to post on their Facebook page. They thanked me for my business and wished me safe travels home. It was a great way to end, in Iowa, the last of the lower 48.

I was elated the whole way back. Riding in all 48 of the Continental United States was truly an accomplishment, but there were two states to go. Once home and after catching up on business, I will plan the final rides to Alaska and Hawaii. But for now, a celebration is in order!

8/20/20 – The Final Four

6 thoughts on “8/20/20 – The Final Four

  • August 22, 2020 at 5:31 pm

    What an amazing journey! We’re all proud of our Northwest Solar Ambassador – riding your solar electric bicycle all around the 48 contiguous states to show people the benefits of powering our country with the sun’s clean, renewable eneregy. And sounds like you had a ton of fun doing it, too!

  • August 22, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    Yes, it was great fun. I took what amounts to a victory lap the next morning.

  • August 24, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    I seen you in morning when I was heading to Lacrosse Wi for work. I live in MN but know the New Albin IA area well. Great story and enjoyed reading your blogs.

  • August 26, 2020 at 7:19 am

    You are awesome!How did you do it!How could you get so great idea!and you have fulfilled your great idea definitely!It’s amazing!You are so great!

  • August 27, 2020 at 7:06 pm

    Wow, Christina, thank you for your big, big compliments. It was so much fun seeing so much of America. It is a beautiful country.


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