Day 22 (Saturday, August 14): Boonville to Hermann—In the Heart of Grape Country.


Today was an interesting day. It was the first day since day 3 or 4 when temperatures did not reach triple digits, and the cloud cover for most of the day protected us from the sun (probably the nicest weather for biking we have had thus far). We crossed the Missouri River today (twice).

Crossing the Missouri River

The rolling hills of Missouri are getting to be very challenging. We had them all day long, and several were >15% incline. With these steep inclines, climbing was reduced to 5 mph and downhill speeds exceeded 40 mph a few times. (Renate prefers to “ride the brakes” on the down hills and has a personal speed limit of 25 mph.)

Lewis and Clark Trail

The scenery was stunning. We followed the Lewis and Clark Trail for most of the day. They had Sacagawea, and we had Mary (our name for our GPS system) to guide us. During this trip we have witnessed some of the most beautiful scenery, and certainly Missouri is one of the most picturesque states we have seen.

After all of the beautiful scenery, wildlife, etc., I thought a lot about our environmental efforts. Professors of biology David Lodge, Jennifer Tank, and Jessica Hellmann are part of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative(ND-ECI). This Strategic Research Investment aims to tackle the interrelated problems of invasive species, land use, and climate change, by focusing on their combined impact on water resources. The ND-ECI will provide innovative solutions that minimize the trade-offs between human welfare and environmental health, where trade-offs are unavoidable. Their interdisciplinary research programs will influence public policy and discover win-win solutions whenever possible. Large-scale research projects within the ND-ECI will use the new National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) as a test bed for evaluating new technology. Last year, Notre Dame’s Environmental Research Centers (UNDERC) in northern Michigan and Wisconsin served as core sites representing the upper Midwest. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, NEON is a continental research platform for discovering and understanding the impacts of climate change, land-use change, and invasive species on ecology. The fact that UNDERC was selected as a NEON site will double or triple education and research opportunities there.

5 Comments so far

  1.    anneke on August 16th, 2010

    Almost Home,can not wait to see You, At the homefront everything fine. kids are doing great and I we enjoy the last days of the vacation with nice weather. love mama

  2.    Jenny Gruber on August 16th, 2010

    I too have a personal speed limit, and ride my brakes down the hills as well. Drives Kreg crazy! i just keep thinking how my children need me more well and healthy instead of laid up with broken bones!
    PS. Just one more week!