Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hot, Hot, Hot and Ready to Ride

Reporting from Missouri Valley, Iowa where it is typically hot, but it is not raining so that is good.

We left Le Claire, Iowa, on our charter bus this morning in the rain but it cleared up 20 miles down Route 80. We (Bob, Sally, and I) found what we hope to be a decent place to set up our tents, but I am not holding out much hope for a good night's sleep because the trains run very regularly through Missouri Valley and sound their whistles the whole way!

We walked through the downtown area, ate a good dinner at the Catholic church (turkey and noodles with mashed potatoes and corn, all mixed in one bowl). And of course there was pie for dessert, so I had a delicious piece of raspberry. We listened to the band outside of the beer garden and then found a great deal on Gatorade at a convenience store. We toured the vendor area and there is one RAGBRAI t-shirt that I like which I may buy later in the week if it is still available.

And on an unrelated note, I see that Greg Norman is leading the British Open after 3 rounds!!! This is wonderfully exciting. I wish him good luck for tomorrow. What an amazing win that would be for him.

Jim was in Buffalo with his Mom for a graduation party for the son of a cousin. They had a good time. Corey was working on the Salmon River, near Watertown, and had a good experience with that and is now in SU with his running buddies.

My time is up for using this computer so I will sign off. Iowa Telecom provides this trailer full of computers and phones for free all week. They usually position themselves in one of the small towns mid-way through the day's ride and then again in the overnight town. So hopefully I can update this blog regularly.

Hope all is well.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Maumee Ohio

Halfway to Iowa-Maumee, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo.

Had a fairly uneventful trip here today although about 10 miles from home it started to rain, which quickly turned into a pretty strong thunder and lightening storm. That lasted about 10 miles, and we all slowed right down on the Thruway. The sun was out before Buffalo and it was heating up.

There were a couple of stretches of road work, but no major delays.

Before I left home, I went to the library and borrowed a book on tape and started listening to it today. I got Frank McCourt's Teacher Man-he is the author of Angela's Ashes(?). Teacher Man is very interesting, as he tells of his 30 years of experience as a teacher in the New York City high schools. I am about half way through the discs so I will probably finish it up tomorrow. Now I wish I had gotten 2 books so that I would have something for the trip home!

I arrived at my hotel about 3 PM and asked about places to ride my bike. The front desk people were not aware of any bike trails, but suggested I go ride on the road that parellels the Maumee River. So that is what I did and it was a wonderful suggestion! Some stretches of this road were named River Road and other parts were named Broadway, but it was mostly through residential areas with one nice stretch through a river park. The traffic was minimal and very manageable and it was fun to look at all the big houses overlooking the river. I ended up doing 21.8 miles and it was a great ride.

I walked to a Panera's for dinner hoping to get one of their Fuji Apple Chicken Salads and use their wireless internet with my iPod Touch. I was quite disappointed when I ordered my favorite salad and the server told me that that salad is no longer available!!! It was replaced with the Strawberry Poppyseed salad. So I decided to try that one and it was delicious. It had mixed greens with strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, pecans and a poppyseed dressing. I added some grilled chicken and enjoyed every bite!

That's all for now. Tomorrow I meet up with Bob and Sally in Rock Island, Il, which is near the RAGBRAI ending town of LeClaire. We will load our bikes on the charter shuttle truck and then be sure we are ready to ride the shuttle bus to the western edge of Iowa on Saturday morning.

Hope all is well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

'Twas the Night Before RAGBRAI

'Twas the night before RAGBRAI and all through our house,
The rider was packing with the help of her spouse.

The child was working so he was no help, 
when the rider reviewed and let out a yelp.

She had packed up her kerchief and the rest of her crap,
When she suddenly realized she needed a map.

The spouse then exclaimed you have GPS, it really doesn't matter
GPS or a map, well, I'll take the latter.

Now the faithful yellow bug was ready to go,
with the bike on top and bags packed just so.

Two days to Iowa, she's ready to ride,
Once across Iowa, she'll surely feel pride.

So check the blog for my corn field reports
Or tales of sore tails in my tight biking shorts.

So I'm off with my friends to do RAGBRAI number 10?
When we ride into the river, we'll again shout, "Amen!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

1,000 Plus Miles

On this beautiful day, I went bike riding with Bob, Sally and Pam and we had a great ride of over 50 miles. We were on the canal trail for 25 of those miles and it was quite pleasant riding. To get some hill work in, we turned south from the canal trail and rode through Mendon Ponds Park. We ate lunch at Aladdin's before heading home. 

As I was riding through the Greece Canal Park my cyclometer indicated that I had ridden 55 miles so far, which put me over 1,000 miles of training since April! I am quite pleased with that amount and feel ready to go to Iowa. The last time I did RAGBRAI, I had 660 training miles, so I believe I am in better shape this time, which is a good thing since I am 2 years older now!

Tomorrow I plan on doing a different kind of spinning-on my spinning wheel. I hope to get to the yarn store in East Rochester in the morning, where my spinning teacher holds an informal "spin-in".  I will finish up my packing and preparation for Iowa in the afternoon and then in the evening I am teaching yoga at Bethany's Vacation Bible School, where the theme is Peace Making.

Thursday is the day I head west. What did I forget to pack?

Hope all is well. 

Monday, July 14, 2008

Corey's Wild Week

Now that Corey has returned home from his trip to West Virginia, and rested up, he has submitted some photos to this blog. 

So here goes. Corey and his friend Mike spent 4 days kayaking in Pennsylvania and West Virginia before spending the weekend at the All Good concert. I guess all these photos are from their kayaking/camping days. 

Corey enjoying breakfast at one of their campsites.

Corey admiring a side stream waterfall, along the Cheat River.
The photo below shows Corey scouting the rapid called The Recyclotron on the Cheat. They managed to get by this mammoth hole by sneaking by on the left of the hole.
This is Corey running Moats Falls on the Tygart River.

And this is what the van looked like after several days kayaking and camping. Unfortunately you are missing out on the smell that eminated from the car after the boys had been piling in their wet kayaking stuff for a week!

Corey had just a few photos from the concert. This was one of those concerts with 10's of thousands of people hanging out in a farmer's field. Corey enjoyed the music and the people-watching. Sometime when you see him ask him about the hippies at the concert. He has lots of stories to tell. 

I am getting my stuff together for RAGBRAI in preparation for my Thursday departure. Tomorrow I am taking one more bike ride with Bob, Sally, and Pam and it is supposed to be a nice riding day. 

Here's a news flash: We bought gas at the Henrietta BJ's for $3.98/gallon! We had to wait about 12 minutes in line, but the van was nearly empty so we saved some nice change. Later, the lead story on the local evening news was about the discrepancy between BJ's gas prices! The Victor BJ's was $4.16 and Greece was $4.14. People were wondering why some BJ's members were getting more benefits from their membership than others, so the news was investigating. No answers were really given, but we were happy to fill up with "cheap" gas!