Thursday, July 24, 2008

%$&* Wind or No Sunscreen Today

Reporting from North Liberty, Iowa. The winds continue! 76 miles, all but 1 into those winds!

But first a note about last night because campground life is as much part of the RAGBRAI experience as the biking part. We had a nice spot next to a building that ended up being a concession stand for the high school sports fields. There were tables and chairs set up under a breezeway around the corner from where we were camped. We could not hear the people that were buying food and socializing, and we took advantage of the service when we needed a quick snack and a place to sit and read. When we got back from our downtown trip there were some late arrivals (usually that means "partiers") camped on the other side of our fence. We were a bit concerned because one guy was excited to have found DD batteries to energize their boombox and another guy reported that he had a beer supply! We thought we were in for a long, loud night. But Mother Nature intervened and sent rain-which sent everyone into their tents and things quieted right down! Now I am not one who likes to camp in the rain, but in my little tent, which has proved to be quite waterproof, I feel cozy and secure, so I slept pretty well.

We got up at our usual time of 5 AM and I got the inside of my tent packed up when the rain returned. I carried my 2 bags to the covered concession area, where Bob and I decided we would wait a bit to see if the rain would pass before we took down the tents. And that is what happened.

We were riding east by 5:45 AM, with the first town about 17 miles away. That is a long way to ride on a FiberOne bar, but I managed. This first town, Vining, was tiny but went all out to provide a wonderful breakfast selection, and everything cost $1. So here is my food list as of 4:15 PM: FiberOne Bar, Gatorade, 2 pieces of French Toast, scrambled eggs, milk, 3 snickerdoodles (over the course of the day), one piece of disappointing peach pie, more gatorade, 1 1/2 bananas, bratwurst, turkey sub, baked Lays potato chips and a fruit roll up. I will buy something else to have as a snack before bed tonight.

Back to the riding report-We rode through 3 of the Amana Colonies, which are fairly famous for their communal type of living. At one point today, I was riding down a small hill with a curve and as I came around the curve, there in the middle of the road was an enormous Longhorn Steer with 2 kids riding it! I had to yell, "On your left!" as I passed it but I'm not sure the steer understood! That was a first on RAGBRAI. We rode through some light rain for less than an hour today, but under a cloud cover all day-so no need for the sunscreen. The last 16 miles of the day were the most scenic as the farms and homes were closer to the road, so there was more to look at. Also the roads were a bit curvy, which always adds interest. So inspite of the relentless wind, it was a good day on the bike!

We walked from the campgound into an area around the Rec Center here in North Liberty. We found dinner here (my sub sandwich) and I left Bob and Sally in the Library where it is quiet and has soft chairs. I will go back there when I finish in this Iowa Telecom trailer. I may just catch a short nap as I read a magazine!

While in the shower today, I washed out my bike shorts so I had a wet towel and those shorts that needed to dry. Since it was gently misting at the time and there was no place to hang a line, I was a bit concerned as to where I could hang my stuff. Then, glancing around the campground, I saw a metal bar hanging down under the 18-wheeler trailer that hauls all of our baggage. That would be a perfect place to hang my stuff! The breeze was blowing through there, but it was out of any rain that may fall! Hopefully it will still be there when I get back to camp!

Tomorrow is 64 miles with about the same number of hills. We should continue to travel through areas that were hardest hit by flooding. Today we saw where the Iowa River had overflowed its banks and left many fields under water.

I had planned to buy a RAGBRAI shirt but by the time I finally got back to buy the one I liked, it was not available in my size. So I thought I would use that $20 at a river side casino at the end of the ride! But you Robinson boys would be happy and proud to know, that instead of gambling that money away, I bought a raffle ticket to support the fundraising efforts to build an all-weather track at one of the high schools along today's route!

Hope all is well.

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