The Mississippi river drainage basin is somewhat a large "valley" between the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains. I entered it around Curwensville in Pennsylvania: that was actually the Ohio drainage basin that then flows into the Mississippi river.
It's been quite a ride since as the "valley" spreads across 40% of the US territory. No doubt that it was a greater challenge at the time of the pioneers: Zadok Cramer wrote then one of the first travel guides to help people navigating the Ohio river, find the right settlement spots. The first edition of the Navigator was issued in 1801 and it got so popular that 12 editions followed in 25 years to enrich it and correct it.
Before getting to Moline in Illinois, I crossed the Rock river, one of the many affluents of the Mississippi river. Worth waking up early, isn't it?
Of course, as you ride along the Mississippi river, you have to get a picture of one of these traditional paddle boats (by the way, the bicycle trail in Moline is very nice): just a proof that it's actually the Mississippi river.
Across from the Mississippi river is Davenport in Iowa, linked by a few bridges and a dam that controls the flow of the river:
* The Navigator by Zadok Cramer, the actual text
* Mississippi drainage basin
* Ohio drainage basin
Note: tonight, I eventually reached Iowa City after a ride of 97 mi, my longest since I left.