Day 31 [Guttenburg, IA – Balltown, IA]


After a good night’s sleep in the Ahrens’ camper, Earline and I had a wonderful breakfast lovingly prepared by Elizabeth and “GrosMutter”….

GrosMutter show biscuits

The family tried out the trikes, and seemed to catch on quickly. Adventurers, every one. Here’s Pastor Duncan, Megan [with no shoes – ouch!], and Mallory, with Duchess guarding the activities.

Pastor Duncan trikes

Megan trikes

Mallory trikes with Duchess

Thanks, Ahrens family! Because of your generosity, may God add a special blessing to all your endeavors this summer!

We road back into the town of Guttenberg (and saw this doe with 2 fawns!)….

Doe with TWO fawns

We stopped at a Disability Center (they have about 5 Deaf that normally come during the day for various activities, but just not today!), a Family Resource Center (funded by the hospital in town, and operating as a hub for many resources available for residents of Clayton County….Cari, whom we spoke with, knows and works with my cousin, Ruth Hilgerson from St. Olaf!), the City Information Center, “The Press” newspaper – where Katie, an intern, interviewed us for an article next week, and the library, where they had wifi, so that I could get some more photos uploaded here to the blog. Whew!

Here’s Katie with Earline:

Katie at The Press

About 10 minutes after we sat down in the library, Joanita and Danny dropped in! I had just txt’d Danny that we were in the library, and he said they were coming down the hill when they got the text! They drove all the way from Monona to bring us some mail that had just arrived today from Florida. Thank you!

Shortly after they left, Earline was anxious to get on the road, so we headed out, saying goodbye to Carolyne the librarian, who apparently knew many of Uncle Danny’s relatives!

Carolyne at Guttenberg library

Small world.

Headed up the Guttenberg hill south of town – this is the hill that I had been concerned about for Earline, but – nice wide shoulder, and Earline made it up without too much difficulty! Way to go! Whoo-whoo!

Long haul up Guttenburg hill

Saw this pretty homestead near the top of the bluff, overlooking the Mississippi River valley…..saw quite a few homes like this, sometimes seemingly precariously close to the edge!

Homestead top of bluff

The downhill after that to Millville and the Turkey River was great – almost 2 miles – but NO shoulder (well…..a gravel shoulder). NOT good for cyclists, especially with all the heavy truck traffic on this State Highway 52.

Down the Millville hill

After that we headed along the Turkey River up and down hills to North Buena Vista and Balltown.

Turkey River little bridge

Turkey River in Millville

Remember when the Mississippi River was this big in northern Minnesota? This Turkey River that runs into the Mississippi is actually pretty “swollen” now – with all the rain in Minnesota and Iowa the month of June. It is normally about 1/4 this size. I have actually canoed on this river a couple times.

It takes a while for all the water to run from the drains and the streams to the rivers, and even though the weather is nice now, the rivers are showing the after-effects of all the rain. We noticed that the dam gates in Guttenberg were wide open, letting the high, rushing water pass through.

Here, next to the downtown park, is the dam in Guttenburg we saw yesterday:

Guttenburg dam with gates open

Later we saw these cows, like the ones on Day 8, wondering what these contraptions were going by their field!

Curious cows

We also saw more of the white worms, that we talked about on Day 25:

More white worms

The hills to NBV and Balltown were KILLER, but the views from the top of the ridge were truly spectacular! Here are some photos that hopefully do some justice to the beauty of the vistas we saw:

Approach downhill by Balltown

NE Iowa 1

NE Iowa 2

NE Iowa 3

NE Iowa 4

NE Iowa 5

At the Breitbach Country Inn in Balltown (which is actually the oldest operating restaurant in the state of Iowa – since 1852!) Mike actually held the buffet open a little longer than normal as we struggled up the last hill to get there. He then donated the meal to us and the cause of GHA! Bravo!

Here’s Earline with Sam, our waitress:

Breitbach waitress Sam

AND, then he turned around and let us tent up the hill from the inn right by electricity and water. Thanks, Mike!!!!!

Jon and Mike and Earline

(By the way, the food was fresh and excellent….another reason why everybody told us to be sure and stop at the Breitbach!!)

Good night!

(Now if God would just help me ignore the wind that is making the tent flap in a very aggravating way….ack! Ha!)



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