We did not explore Decorah which is a pity, because on the ride through it did look attractive. We stayed out of town and were disinclined to make the trip back in. We walked to a local restaurant where we learned that chicken wings are white meat. News to me at my tender age and news to Liz who recognizes red chicken blindfolded and with noseblocked at a distance of up to half a mile. Bottom line: I ordered the fish and scored a chicken wing as well.
Some miles past Austin MN we had parted company with John and Anne who went on to La Crosse. It was really great sharing a number of days with them from Cortez to Montrose CO and then Custer SD.
On the way across Iowa we were impressed by just how neat many of the towns and villages are. Preston was a stand out example.
Leaving Decorah and aiming for Prairie de Chien WI, I was thinking on something unrelated to navigating and I missed (again) a scheduled turn. Serendipity took advantage and we found ourselves passing the Effigy Mounds National Park. It is a very low key place entirely lacking the visual impact of the other places we have been; but once again the story and presentation were excellent and we learned about a different aspect of early American Indian culture. They may not have invented the wheel, but they sure did some other fascinating things!
While we were there we heard a ranger giving some advice to other travelers and we decided to amend our plans slightly and visit McGregor IA :-) instead of Prairie de Chien. On the way there we stopped briefly at Marquette IA to refuel. At that point we had done 312 miles/520 kms on the tank, and the reserve light was on. There was no 91 octane in Decorah and so the extended range of the fuel tank - one of the prime readings I bought this bike - came in handy.
McGregor is again very pretty, but not as prosperous as it once was. And no, I am not related to the founder, Alexander. After coffee in Cafe McGregor (how could we patronize any other hostelry?) We took a walk down to the indeed Mighty Mississippi. In Australia - and South Africa - we do not have rivers. The Orange River is creek and the Murray a stream by comparison. We saw a boat pushing a number of barges which would more than block the Murray at its widest. How important to commerce this river still is. I will check it out again when John H and I cross it next month in Mississippi state. Some trivia. We are in the north of the USA and in the middle at this point the Mississippi is about 670 feet above sea level! Slow flowing, that Ol' Man River.
Back on the bike and in Marquette where we had to cross the river to Prairie de Chien, the Garmin lost its marbles. I felt like ripping it off its mount and consigning it to a muddy, murky, watery grave. Sapience was brought to bear on our situation and once on the bridge the Garmin recovered and took us without incident to Muscoda WI where we had a really good soup and salad bar for lunch. We were now on the downhill run to Poynette WI where we were to spend a long weekend with Liz's family; and where her daughter was also visiting.
Awaiting our arrival was a replacement motorcycle mount from Garmin, to replace the one on the bike which has the defective mini USB plug to receive the XM satellite antenna connection. Andre dug out some tools for me and on Saturday afternoon in the pleasant late summer Wisconsin sun I disconnected the faulty mount (needed to remove the windscreen) and installed the new one. Soldered the power wires into place, put everything back, cable tied the cables neatly out of sight and called Sirius XM to send the activation signal. Spoke to the computer and a few seconds later I had Navweather and Navtraffic. I am also supposed to have Sirius XM satellite radio, but that is very secondary. I will try it later. It is the weather we need.
We have spent a very pleasant couple of days here with Andre and Lee. Their children Brian and Natalie and their spouses Liz and Galen and their respective children all came over for the weekend and of course Tarryn is here as well. Their is much jollity and a little zaniness, but that runs in the family. I was warned. There was some dancing around the bonfire last night.
Andre and Lee have a small spread here and there is a flock of chickens, a flock of guinea fowl, an extensive vegetable garden and acres of lawn and a boundary of virgin bush. I know it is a lot of hard work for André and Lee, but sitting outside in this glorious weather we have been able to enjoy two and a half days of rural relaxation, which has allowed us to rest and rejuvenate. Thank you so much for your welcome and superb hospitality! It has been great to see you again and for me to meet two of your children and your grand children. At least I got to meet Robert on Skype. And the dogs, rather magnificent animals. And Chester the cat. He is a rather superior feline, that one!
It is our last day in Poynette and in the morning we head for Milwaukee (we really don't have time to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum) and our ferry ride across Lake Michigan, which will ease us into next week's riding.