Couple running, biking along Mississippi River for “Relay of Voices”

BY ANDREA FLORES of WQAD Channel 8 LECLAIRE, Iowa — Two artists are running and biking along all 2,348 miles of the Mississippi River. It’s called “Relay of Voices,” and they’re collecting stories of people from 104 different communities along the river. They stopped by Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, interviewing local business owners. Victoria Bradford Styrbicki and her husband Tom call this trip a “pilgrimage,” to learn more about people of all different backgrounds. “I think water as a natural resource, and the river as a sometimes serene, but also volatile natural resource is a very powerful mechanism in …

Artistic Team Traveling The Length Of The Mississippi Makes Stops In Iowa

By KATE PAYNE from Iowa Public Radio Victoria Bradford Styrbicki and her husband Tom are traveling from the headwaters of the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico as part of a story-telling project about life on the river. KATE PAYNE/IPR An artistic couple who are largely running and biking their way along the length of the Mississippi River passed through LeClaire Friday. The trek from the river’s headwaters in Minnesota all the way to the Gulf of Mexico is part of a storytelling project that spans 10 states. The Relay of Voices project is the vision of Louisiana native Victoria Bradford Styrbicki and …

DAY 35 – MONDAY, AUGUST 12

NORTH BUENA VISTA TO DUBUQUE If there’s a North Buena Vista, Iowa, there must be a plain old regular Buena Vista. We never found it as we ran south out of town. Maybe it was lost in the fog that enveloped the Mississippi River bluffs on a beautiful August morning. We covered the miles uneventfully and the rain started just as Victoria ended her run at the Port of Dubuque. Jared McGovern welcomed us into the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium for a tour and a good conversation about his life and connection to the water. He’s the Curator of Conservation Programs and …

DAY 34 – SUNDAY, AUGUST 11

GUTTENBERG TO NORTH BUENA VISTA (BUENIE) The day started out with some housekeeping, logistics, and the boiling of a dozen eggs to take on the road as sustenance. We had given ourselves a later start this morning, so we thankfully had a moment to take a breath and assess. 10AM did at last roll around, however, and we were due back at the riverside gazebo where I had ended my run two days before. Tom would be heading out on foot along with local dentist and runner Jim Osterhaus. There to see him off was Mandy Ludovissy and three of …

DAY 33 – SATURDAY, AUGUST 10

GUTTENBERG LAYOVER From all my childhood memories, fishing happens early in the morning—or at least that’s when you get started. And today was no different. By early, I mean 7am—not the 4am that the alarm rang off at when I was growing up on the Gulf Coast, but 7am was early enough today for two folks who haven’t slept in for over a month. We had an appointment to meet with Rich Sadewasser near the Shantytown below the Marina Visitors Center area. Rich is a commercial fisherman, and while in the end we didn’t get out on the water, he …

DAY 32 – FRIDAY, AUGUST 9

HARPERS FERRY TO GUTTENBERG I was still in my nightgown when Jane and Wayne walked in the door to our cabin bearing the gift of coffee to add to the muffins and fruit they had given us the night before. It’s a good thing we already felt like family less than twenty-four hours in to our visit with them in Harpers Ferry, Iowa! After a few sips and a little conversation, we poured a few extra cups for us to keep working on, and Jane and Wayne took their leave, likely realizing we still had a bit of work to do …

DAY 31 – THURSDAY, AUGUST 8

LANSING TO HARPERS FERRY It’s a narrow, winding, uphill climb out of Lansing toward Harpers Ferry. You crest the first of two mountains just before the Wexford Church and Cemetery. The road shoulder widens there and biking is a little more comfortable, so we decided to run the first 8 miles to Wexford and bike the remaining miles into Harpers.  Victoria crested the second mountain, raced down the last descent and landed at the at the Oil Springs Schoolhouse right on time. Right time. Wrong place. Our welcoming committee was camped out along the Great River Road – at Connie …

DAY 30 – WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7

LA CROSSE TO LANSING We started at the Eagle monument on the riverfront in La Crosse with Tom running out of town down Front Street. I had to drive up nearly five miles ahead for the exchange in order to reach a decent road or trail for the bike. I set out on bike and for a few miles had a decent shoulder despite the cars whizzing by on a narrow road, but at a certain point about 8 miles in, the conditions changed. The shoulder became a craggy sliver, full of potholes and paved with old concrete. The roadway …

DAY 29 – TUESDAY, AUGUST 6

TREMPEALEAU TO LA CROSSE After getting to know Bud and Dianna, we couldn’t just leave. I mean, we had to leave of course, but making our way out the door, or even down the road in front of their house, took quite a bit of effort. First there was the enormous breakfast, the smell of sautéed onions waking me at 5:30am and finding their way into a fabulous frittata and eventually into my stomach. Then there was the family photo shoot on the balcony, staged with three cameras and two tripods, working very hard to figure out the timer feature …

DAY 28 – MONDAY, AUGUST 5

WINONA TO TREMPEALEAU We overnighted on the second floor of an old Winona, Minnesota home converted into an Inn. You can either rent out the bottom floor in full or the top floor, or some combination of the two. Steve and Nan Bachler own and run the Inn, and close to 7 in the morning, Nan was calling up to us that coffee and donuts were ready on the porch. We had met them both in passing a few times the day before, but never had a chance to really sit down for conversation, so we decided a breakfast interview would suit. …