I was so excited when my husband finally got two days off a day before I started my week-long vacation, so I quickly changed my plans slightly so we could explore the Great River Bike Trail on the Illinois side of the Mississippi. I love Google Maps now because I can actually find directions for bike travel along with the usual car directions. That is how I discovered the Great River Bike Trail which is mostly bike path, but in certain areas it breaks up and we were on back country roads a majority of the time from Fulton south to Albany which was the first portion we did on our way to my mom’s house. The blog on Port Byron to Rock Island is located here.
We drove to Clinton, IA, crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois, and turned to the right as soon as we got off the bridge. If you hit the four-way stop, you have gone too far. That small road curves around, and we turned in the opposite direction from the Fulton sign, but we were a bit hesitant to keep on going when we saw a Dead End sign. However, I am glad we continued on because on the right there is a big parking lot and boat ramp into the Mississippi after you cross the rather steep berm.
We got our bikes out and prepared for our ride. There were roomy, relatively nice toilets for outhouses to change in.
The trail started out on a paved, bicycle-dedicated path, but that quickly gave way to back roads and included even a small portion of gravel road. It was in the 90s so we decided to just bike a total 10 miles out and back that day.
Despite the heat, it really was a nice ride. We followed the signs below, and for the most part it was pretty well marked.
Along the way, we saw the cutest rest stop for bikes that beckoned to us as you can see below so we stopped on our way back. A private owner had set up a beautiful spot for cyclist on the Great River Trail so we drove our bikes through the gate …
There was a small kiosk that had assorted items such as water in a cooler and bug spray for a donation of any kind. The article posted in the kiosk was very interesting explaining the folklore of the place about buried treasure, and there was a guest book to sign. I wish I had had time to just sit in the chairs below and relax!
A small creek ran through the edge of the rest stop, but with the drought it was very small. We couldn’t see any water coming out of the rocks like there was supposed to be.
It was a great way to start my bike adventure. We continued on to our overnight stop at my parents. The next entry will be about Port Byron to Rock Island GRT the next day which we managed to accomplish in very hot and humid conditions. The temperatures were in the 90s both days!