Saturday, July 30, 2016

RAGBRAI day 7


Because we were not as close to the luggage truck, we slept later than we have a previous days. We woke up at 5:30 instead of 510. We made up for it, however, by moving a little bit faster. And we ate breakfast at the campground, instead of stopping at a roadside stand. 

The first town was pretty far through the ride, in fact it was about halfway. We are quite hungry by then. We stop at the carb hut and got rice vegetable tofu bowls and smoothies.  

That gave me some renewed energy. That particular town did a really good job with a very dangerous railroad track crossing. The tracks crossed the road at about a 60° angle and the gaps next to the rails were very deep and pretty wide. The town had collected volunteers to stand out next to the tracks at the bottom of a pretty decent hill and order people to stop and walk their bikes across the tracks. Considering that there was a very bad accident yesterday due to tracks, this was very wise. There was a second death on the ride today. Somebody went into cardiac arrest and did not recover. 
It was not as hot today, and it was overcast most of the day, giving us really very good riding weather. The bike traffic increased significantly. Many people choose to ride exclusively on the last day so they can ride into Muscatine into the arms of their families who might be a little cold. There were lots of people at the side of the road cheering us on and congratulating us. The baggage truck was not quite were RAGBRAI said it would be, but close. There were small shuttle vans to return you to the long term parking, and I predicted they would get 2 bikes inside in the aisle, but it turned out we had about 10 or 12 people and six bikes plus, I think, six large luggage bags in that little transit van.
We reunited with Patty at the car, and headed immediately home.

Friday, July 29, 2016

RAGBRAI day 6


Fix this
Everyday up at 5 earplugs essential
Every morning everything is damp or wet
Washing clothes

We got out and going today, but Patty still left before us by quite a bit. Dwight was quite uncomfortable, but soldiered on fabulously. When I got up in the morning there was a lightning bug under the tent. It was flashing under the tent like an LED. I guided it out. We ate breakfast at the place that serves the English muffin sandwiches, but this time we got the giant blueberry pancakes. Very yummy.
The middle town had a farm animal petting zoo, which the farmer said her husband predicted would be uninteresting, was quite a hit. 
Much further down the road was a winery: vineyard and then the daily craft brewery mobile unit, which we stopped at for the first time today.
People used the cornfields as a bike rack. 
And there were two surly fully suspended  bike fully loaded there. But when I asked about them the riders said they had just started today. 

The Town of Washington is quite cute. The showers was the livestock washing area surrounded by black plastic. My instantaneous response was that it looked like something out of Auschwitz. 
The showers were great, however.

The community building in the fairgrounds near us was serving the potatoes pie and lemonade. Had some of that before going downtown and eating in a coffee shop. We got a chance to talk to Jarett again from last night. And everybody really wanted to hit the hay.



Thursday, July 28, 2016

RAGBRAI day 4


Bolted out of Leon and hit up our now usual breakfast stop 5 miles out of town. There are many small tent or camper vendors, selling everything from coffee and bagels, to breakfast burritos. Free beer is also offered at the stop we've frequented. Many, many people take up the free beer offer. They are a family affair, with 5 kids 13 and under and they seem a pretty good team. 
We passed through many very small towns, but they consistently turn out to guide and sell to and welcome us. Some clever methods of raising money come in to play. Today one town collected money by letting people pose for pictures atop a very docile steer, all the while their rodeo clowns were photo bombing. 



The very last town, Mystic,  before the end town was at the bottom of a steep hill and after our visit, we had to buck up and climb it with no momentum. 
In Centerville, we took a well organized shuttle bus to both delightfulnshowers and dinner. Centerville is one of the biggest towns on the route. 

RAGBRAI day 3

We left Creston at around 6:45 and tried to collect breakfast just outside of town, but we lost Dwight there and didn't pick him up again until the next town, Diagonal. 
They had a whole pirate theme thing going on that was pretty cool. Many towns have cool bike themed arches over the road into town. 
We saw a variety of costumed riders, including Batman, and many with tutus. 
Mount Ayr had creatively taken a horse watering trough, filled it with water and ice chest sized chunks of ice and added colored washers that sank to the bottom.  I got to watch several people jump in and try to get washers off the bottom. The highest washer value was $100. 

My chain fell off today. It got between the chain ring and the frame. I had sent Dwight ahead when returning to the road after a quick rest area, so he did know what had happened. I could only hope that he would think I had gotten ahead of him.  7 or so US Air Force riders tried to tell me, but untimately I took my chain off to fix it. I did finally accept from one couple, who offered me wet wipes. 
The information, signage and general disorganization of the town were apparent. Really nice people tried to help, but were unprepared. Even the people at the information booth did not know where the RAGBRAI camping lot was located. They seemed more familiar with the group campgrounds. I finally figured it out pretty much by myself and checked my phone to find a message each from Patty and Dwight, with their tent site location. Showers at the high school were dreadful; scalding hot, with exceptionally slippery floors. Dinner was a mediocre, but filling, cafeteria style affair. We recharged out phones and hit the hay. 

RAGBRAI day 5

Patty left earlier than us this morning. She wanted to ride while there was less sun and get a better camping spot. We jumped at the chance to get a breakfast burito on the outskirts of town. No lines no waiting. It was odd that people were not stopping. My hypothesis is that they choose the vendors that travel with  RAGBRAI, because they are known entities. 
We kind of ran through and didn't stop too much. There were a couple places with railroad tracks and apparently one of them took somebody down really hard. 
We got into Ottumwa at about 1230. Patty had already found a camping spot and grabbed one of our bags and saved this space. 
We showered for the first time in the shower truck on the strip. They were OK. It was Patty's first time.
Since we got in so early, we had plenty of time to walk around town. I had some problems with my bike earlier. It had been making a clicking noise, but after a mechanic worked on it, it also had problems with the brake, which leaves me slightly suspicious.
Patty thought it was pretty funny, that people had already staked out spots at 4 o'clock in the afternoon for the Rick Springfield, which was slated to start at 9 PM. 
We returned to the tents, and met Jared, from Austin Texas and Portland Oregon. We talked to him for a while, and then later returned to the downtown area for a bite to eat and then bed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

RAGBRAI Day 2

We woke up to the unzippering of tents and the backup noises of the luggage trucks at around 5am. Packing up quickly, we had the bags on the truck by 6am. Breakfast was on the road; we got English muffins with egg, cheese and unbelievably, kale. 
We did 75 miles today, with the most memorable town for me being Corning. They had an announcer answering questions and asking people to tell where they were from. Vicashu was also a cute town; many of them are seeking quality ways to revitalize, while retaining what is the essence of who they are. 
The end town was a bit disappointing, Camping was really pretty far out of town for riding back in after the long day, and they put in a lot of effort on their newsletter and promoting an evening concert, that was overshadowed by our difficulty finding the expo, which we actually needed things from, the seeming  lack of participation from little not- for profits we saw in some of the day hosts. 
The showers were pretty great and the camping area was fine, but the shuttle  bus driver whose bus we got on for the return to the camping did three loops returning to the downtown area each time and never took the increasingly irritated passengers to the 2 main places they wanted to go. We finally got off the bus on its 3 sojourn into downtown. When I told him he never went to the college, he said we would have eventually. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Day 1 Glenwood to Shanandoah

We woke up and started packing at 5:15.  Dwight and I brushed teeth and I made pita and goat cheese sandwiches to get rid of some of the food and were pretty slow to finish packing. Patty was trying to eat up her cheese curds. All the bags were on the truck by 7:00 and we headed out. You need to know the truck number and the time you put your bag on in order to help you find it in the morning. We hit a smallish hill right off the bat and it was the first of many rollers. The small towns we stopped in were about 10 miles apart. The were lines for most things, but they moved along well. All sorts of foods were available, but most are not vegetarian. All in all, there were generally good vegetarian choices.
We lost Patty at a water bottle filling station and thought we had accidentally left her behind when we decided to move on, but she turned up ahead of us.
And we later lost Dwight when we got close to the end, but he showed up behind us at the end town. A shower and swimming rejuvenated us and we had a yummy dinner at 4:30 in a local restaurant in a converted church. It rained pretty hard, which toned down the temperature. High today was prob around 84. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

RAGBRAI update

Well, we lost our almost 2 year old RAGBRAI companion.  Discretion is the better part of valor.  It was decided that maybe more pressing than whether we could keep a 2 year old engaged during RAGBRAI was the fact that he might not appreciate the 11 hr drive to get there.

Obstacle now: how do we get back to the car when the event is finished.  Well, we decided to hedge our bets.  Currently we have a one way U-Haul from the end, where we will leave the car, to the beginning. ALSO, we have a rental car reserved for the same orientation, but the drop off must be 30 miles north. This would entail dropping the group at the beginning, returning the car and then cycling the 30 miles.  Not undoable, but not the first choice.  So, why don't we just stick with the U-Haul? Because they can't tell us the pickup time until the day before, so if we can't get the truck until 4pm, that would not be very useful, since we are taking 2 days to get there.
There were not any useful ride shares on the forums. Another problem area is that for the rental car, we would need a bike rack (pickups and vans are not available on a one-way trip). And I am pretty sure you can't have the RAGBRAI baggage trucks carry non-bagged items. So we will be trying to get the car bike rack into a duffle and squeeze two people's stuff into a single duffle, so as to not have too many bags. If U-Haul comes through, it won't matter.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Test of Blogger app


This is a test of the Blogger iPhone app. I haven't used this in a while, so it's worth a test drive. We shall see if I can use it while in China.