Morning at Dave and Carol’s started out busy busy on our computer’s, at least for me and Tom, whereas Dave sat calmly on his patio, drinking his coffee and reading the paper, soaking in the morning sun. Carol had to be in town for some appointments so was bustling about, but made sure to offer fruit and coffee for a pre-breakfast meal as we worked. Breakfast was coming down the road, at a local gathering spot where the pancakes are larger than the plates. Dave insisted we get a pancake, at least one, maybe only one, he suggested after seeing my eating habits (and stash of leftovers in the cooler).

After this larger than life breakfast, and another good conversation with Dave, Tom launched off on his run to Sabula, Iowa I would meet up with him about ten miles down the road, but first I had to circle back to Dave’s house—I had forgotten more of those leftovers in their fridge, and Dave insisted I’d eat them before he and Carol would. I packed everything up in ziplock bags, and loaded some more ice into the cooler, then was on my way to find Tom along the road to Sabula. 

Just before the exchange, I drove around this stretch of rural Iowa in search of a bathroom, knowing I had a 10 mile run ahead of me. No luck. Kwik Star and Casey’s have yet to take up residence in these parts. However, I am resourceful, so I didn’t give up. I took a risk and pulled into a farmer’s driveway, seeking him in the garage. He slowly wandered out to greet me, looking skeptically, and I said “Hi! Sorry for pulling off into your driveway, but my husband and I are running the length of the Mississippi River—he’s running to meet me here just down the road and then I’ll start running… Anyway, I can’t seem to find a bathroom anywhere, and wondered if I could use yours?” He paused, looked at me and the van again, and said, “Sure, come on in.” Thank goodness.

Just down the road at the midway point, I took over on foot, more hills ahead of me. My 10 miles turned into 6.5, legs feeling tired and in fear of injury—you see we’ve ramped up the mileage this week, not the approved 10% but more like 400% due primarily to road conditions not being suited to cycling. It’s starting to ring true that we are running the Mississippi River. At this rate we may toss out the bikes as cargo and just invite along a massage therapist for our aching legs… on this day, however, Tom did pull the bike off the van and finish the last 3.5 miles into Sabula on two wheels. My two legs were grateful to him. 

Our route landed us right along the riverfront at the Castle Bed and Breakfast. Owner Sharon Mangler was out in the yard with her grandsons who were helping with yard work. She welcomed us in, showed us our room, handed over the keys and let us loose on this small island in Iowa. Without a solid plan for the day, we wandered the streets a bit, getting the lay of the land, grabbing some supplies at the Hop ‘n Stop and a bite to eat at the Sandbar Cafe. Nearly a third of the way into this journey, with no rest days so far, Tom and I had the sudden notion to take the unplanned day as a permission slip to mix a few hours of quiet work and rest for ourselves into the remainder of the afternoon. We settled in at the b&b with laptops and a beer and started getting caught up. 

This 37th day also marked the arrival of my parents, joining us for several days throughout Iowa. I often feel like the luckiest woman in the world (and someone should update Wikipedia on that!), because I’ve found Tom of course but also because my parents are the most supportive and generous people, not to mention a dynamic couple in their own right. It was great to get a real mom hug and see that proud father smile when they walked in a little after 4pm. Questions, conversations, reports, ideas, all began to banter about. 

We all drove into Savanna, Illinois for dinner and then logged another hour or so of work before one more much needed night of sleep. Our little Island holiday.