On the river road

We’re back along the Mississippi river, we drive South along it, swapping from one side to the other, from Minnesota to Wisconsin then Iowa.

We drive through Pepin, the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder, writer of the Little House book series that inspired the TV show Little House on the Prairie.

In La Crosse we come across the world’s largest six-pack in front of the city brewery. The storage tanks hold enough to fill 7.3 million cans! It’s quite rainy so we stop in the pretty cool looking dowtown for a coffee. West, Grandad bluff offers views on the town and the Mississippi.

We continue our drive South along the river and through hilly cornfields. Our next stop, a brewery in Potosi, is two hours away. As we drive the radio stream is cut several times for a severe thunderstorm alert. Strong winds, hail and heavy rainfall possibly generating flash floods and tornadoes. The storm is near Iowa City and is heading straight to us. “Take shelter now!”, but we’re in a campervan in the middle of farmlands! So we drive as fast as we can to make it to the village of Potosi, and we can see the insane storm front behind us. We finally make it there and just the time to cross the road to the brewery we get completely soaked. We’re a bit scared and it reminds us of the last time we were around the Mississippi River and got the same kind of severe thunderstorm blasting on us. We take it as a “welcome back to tornado alley!”. Ok, we’re a bit paranoid, but we feel vulnerable y’a know… We have to make it to our Walmart 30 minutes away in Dubuque before flooding gets serious. Once there the rain stops and we can watch the thunder lights all over the sky for two hours, it’s insane and captivating. New alerts: the storm is redeveloping and will be followed by other ones. And it pours again with incredible force. We run in the Walmart where a local tells us about a car wash to take shelter in, that’s what he does usually. But we don’t want to isolate ourselves and loose the wifi, it’s already past midnight and meant to last until 5am, this time doesn’t seem to be tornadic so we go to bed, pray for no hail, take care of the leaks in Sullivan and find sleep at around 2am.

Next day the sun is back, we check Dubuque and do our chores (laundry and swimming pool for a body wash). Then we drive towards Chicago up to the closest safe Walmart, 2 hours out of downtown.