Saturday, June 17, 2017

Turning South

After spending two glorious days in Northeast Iowa, it was time to say goodbye to Decorah.  We packed up our gear and headed south, following Iowa's Great River Road.  I'd heard many good things about Great River Road, but after my Driftless time, I expected that our run along the Mississippi would be a bit of a letdown.  The ride was as good as everyone said it would be, though it was a bit different.  I had expected that we'd hug the river throughout the entire ride, and that's not what happened.

We followed Great River Road until we hit Guttenberg, a charming little town right on the river.  From there we moved inland a bit and followed Highway 52 South to Dubuque.  This section of road has a lot of fun twists and turns, with plenty of varying scenery along the way.  As I hugged the corners, I kept asking myself "How did I not know about this road before?!?"

We stayed on highway 52 past Dubuque until we stopped in Bellevue, where we had lunch at Flatted Fifth.  Bellevue is another spot that reminds me of Greg.  Greg, Bill and I did a daylong motorcycle ride in the fall of 2015, just a couple of weeks before he died.  My last photos of Greg were taken on that run, and my last fond memories of Greg center around that day.  Also, I coordinated a small memorial ride last summer, and Bellevue was one of the stops on that trip.  With that said though, the decision to stop in Bellevue didn't really have anything to do with Greg.  It was all about the restaurant.

Flatted Fifth is more than a restaurant.  It's also a music venue and a bed and breakfast.  The building is an old grist mill, and the owners have done a tremendous job with the place.  The menu is relatively limited, but they have mastered everything they offer, and the wait staff is warm and friendly.  In my opinion, Flatted Fifth is such a cool place that it's worth a special trip.  As a side note, I also have a loose connection to the owner of the restaurant.  I graduated high school with the owner's sister.

After our hearty lunch, we continued south; the goal was to be in Keokuk, the southeastern most city in Iowa, by the end of the day.  We still had a lot of ground to cover if we were going to make our goal, so we chose a more direct route instead of the scenic path.  I've got to say that going through Clinton sucked.  We managed to hit every red light, and spent far too long stuck in a construction zone.  Other than that though, it was smooth sailing.  We arrived in Keokuk late in the afternoon, where we once again set up camp, and then zipped into town for a fast food meal.

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