5-21 Thursday Black Hawk Biking

I camped on a beautiful bluff near LaPorte be an old 1850 homestead . It took a lot of effort to get the bike and gear up the cliff, er bluff. I had to sit down at top as I was lightheaded and dizzy. Likely needed some calories. 

Deer came by all night and snorted loudly as they tried to sort out my position in 3 dimensions. They don’t seem to have great eye sight but really keen listening and loud snorting. I yelled at them to pls respect quiet hour. The hoot owls were no less cooperative calling back and forth as well. Nice camp! 

Left early around 7 and headed back on trail. Mainly dirt so slow going but nice. 

Rode thru small towns like Gilbertville, Evandalae prior to Waterloo. 

In Waterloo it starter to rain and was very cold, say 50 degrees. This town seemed old and industrial. Maybe a little beat up and tired. Good place for some lunch. 

I sat in a covered shelter and found juice for my phone. Keeping phone and Garmin charged takes large effort on each ride. I’m constantly finding outlets outside of stores, by outdooor signs and other weird places and siphoning some juice as I can. 

What was for lunch? Don’t get too excited….tortilla shell w almond butter. 

Once I left the shelter and started rolling, it happpened. Always knew it would so it did. Back tire was flat. This is same tube and tire replaced yesterday at bike shop. Decided I would patch it but upon inspection found the Presta valve had blown off tube. Defective tube? Dang! 

To change, I first have to unload all bags, take bike computer off an shift to smallest rear cassette. Unloosen the quick release, pull tire off and swap tubes. Then the real work starts….getting 90 psi into a tube with a pump is a clear cut workout. Let’s add some rain as well. 

Weird – a cop pulls up as I was starting unload my bags and stops in parking lot about 30 yards away. No one else around ‘cept the elephant statue. He never gets out of car, never approaches me but stays while I change tire. 

Once I’m done (this is over 1 hour effort) he then follows me thru park until I’m on trail and the road ends. Thought I was homeless. No way I have 1-man Big Agnes tent. 

North of Waterloo the trail heads onto an island with several lakes on Q side and Cedar river on the other. I haven’t travelled very before finding water flowing across and difficult to determine the depth. I reason that if the Parks Dept (think Parks and Rec show based in fictitious Pawnee IN) hadn’t put up trail closure signs, then it safe to go forward. Momentum not being enough to get to other side, I have to pedal getting both feet wet under water. Hate that.  I proceed to go thru 3 more water floods. Then I find the sign placed by Park declaring the train impassable and to turn around.  

I bike back to a road and follow it to a dead end after 1 mile at a shelter. Take road the other way and it is flooded bad. Not trying it. I can hear a road so push my Iron Pig up a bank to discover interstate. This can’t be….I have to go back to flat tire park and back thru the floods? 

As I started back and pass sign from park department declaring path closed, a father and son proceed to bike out of closed area.  

They excitedly tell me the path has collapsed at 2 points and it’s just crazy. So I ask “can I get my bike thru?” The dad considers it for 1 sec and says they couldn’t But I should try. So I did. 

Turns out it was quite passable, not water floods. Just some places where the pavement had collapsed but I just rode right over and never slowed. Made it out of there and moving north.  

In Cedar falls, a town I just love btw, I found a coffee shop open where you could sit inside and enjoy. Googled bike shops and found one 0.3 miles down the road so stopped to get new inner tube. They had Ortlieb handlebar bags on sale so upgraded my too small Banjo bag to a serious, waterproof bag with magnetic latches. Love this bag! Cool bike shop inside Ams old post office. They had the 2020 Ragbrai route on huge chalk board with word cancelled. Will use same route in 2021. Kinda sad.  

Rode north and camped in wild life conservation area behind old Boy Scout camp. I went all the way to back against unnamed creek and pitched tent. Wildlife was abundant…saw turkeys, bald eagle, beaver and lots of snorting deer! 

Great day to be alive with some adventure. 

One thought on “5-21 Thursday Black Hawk Biking

  1. Laura

    Mark, here’s to hoping you know what poison ivy looks like! I few of those leaves at your campsite look a little dicey in this picture.

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