WEEK 10 RUN-WALK-BIKE ACROSS AMERICA 2018 STARTS TOMORROW
Segment 24: West Union IA to Boscobel WI
Segment 25: Boscobel WI to Madison WI
Segment 26: Madison WI to Milwaukee WI
WOW! ON THE FIRST DAY OF THIS WEEK’S SEGMENT WE CROSS THE MIGHTY MISSISSIPPI RIVER. Even though it is a virtual crossing of this geographic wonder it is still a really big deal. Notice, when leaving Iowa, that both of the state’s western and eastern borders are formed by rivers, the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, respectively. Iowa is the only state with this distinction (and the only state in which all boundaries are defined by rivers). The two rivers eventually meet up and merge downstream near St Louis MO. Did you know the Missouri River plays a role in the Mississippi’s standing as the world’s fourth longest river?
A Wikipedia entry identifies the Mississippi as the “chief river of the second –largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system” in Canada. The river arises in the north of Minnesota; its source is Lake Itasca. It flows 2320 miles south, passing through or bordering 10 states, and empties into the Gulf of Mexico at its mouth in the state of Louisiana. “When measured from its longest stream source (most distant source from the sea), Brower’s Spring in Montana, the source of the Missouri River, it has a length of 3,710 miles”. So the Missouri River adds almost 400 miles to its official length!
A map of the Mississippi Basin System shows it somewhat approximates the outline of the Louisiana Purchase. The western boundary of this land was contested at the 1803 signing of the agreement with France, according to another Wikipedia entry. The Lewis and Clark expedition was one of three that were organized by President Thomas Jefferson, with the directive to explore and map the new US territory. All three started at the Mississippi River. This information, if the Wikipedia piece is accurate, were not known by me until I started my own exploration of this part of the country! Who knew?
The National Geographic Society website has a student activity for grades 6-8, in which students examine the role of rivers in the settlement of the Americas; if your kids are walking, running, or bicycling the miles in this challenge, it might be worth exploring as a learning activity.
Moving from Iowa into Wisconsin, the route follows along another waterway, the Wisconsin River, a tributary of the Mississippi and the longest in that state. Apparently, there are bald eagles to be seen along the northern Mississippi River valley, between Minnesota and southern Illinois, but mostly in the months of January and February. So, we may not expect to ‘see’ them on the way.
The rest of the week challengers will travel across Wisconsin to its two largest cities. The first stop is at the state capital, Madison, which was named after President James Madison. It is the home of the University of Wisconsin and is second in size only to Milwaukee, the largest city.
According to the TrekTravel.com online itinerary for its bike tour (week 4, day 28), the route to Madison from Boscobel WI takes you through a beautiful ‘unglaciated region” of Wisconsin’s Driftless Area, where you experience steep and rolling forested hills, green valleys, and crystal clear trout streams that have dramatically carved limestone bluffs. It says that nearby farms, which use sustainable growing practices, produce organic foods and other treasures like heirloom vegetables and artisanal cheeses likely to be found in Madison restaurants and its farmers market. Part of the company’s admitted enthusiasm for this city is due to the fact that Madison is TrekTravel’s hometown, which explains the wonderful insight into the area's charms.
Milwaukee is at the eastern edge of the route through this state and offers up scenes of the Lake Michigan western shoreline and the Brewers’ baseball team stadium, Miller Park. It is the home of iconic Harley-Davidson motorcycles and its landmark-building-housed Museum. There is much to see and enjoy here. Get ready to cross the Big Lake (Michigan) next week!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Check out the images on the ACROSS AMERICA IN PHOTOS page.
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Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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