RAGBRAI days 2 – 7 and home again

Yikes!  So sorry my trip blogging came to an abrupt halt.  I didn’t get in a crash or die of a heart attack on the road, but there was virtually no internet to speak of, so I couldn’t post anything on the blog. It was frustrating at first, and then kind of nice to be 100% unplugged.  That happens so rarely and I think I needed it.

The trip was a complete and utter blast!  I would do it again in a heartbeat, and I really miss the endless hours on the bike, now that I’m settled back into my cube desk chair for 8 hours a day.

There’s something so nice about having only one thing to do in a day – well two, really:  bike a bunch of miles, and eat twice your weight in pie and sweet corn.  And then when you’re done, you can go set up your tent, sit somewhere in the sun or in the shade, and relax with a nice, cold bottle of low-calorie G2 grape Gatorade (…what?) and chat with fellow campers.

In the end I rode about 520 miles in the week, and there was only one day of downpour.  Here’s a quick recap of the stuff I did along the way:

Day 2:

I did my first century!  That means riding over 100 miles in a day.  Also:  the week’s first piece of pie.  Pineapple surprise!  First ear of corn consumed, two temporary tattoos obtained. Behold the corn tattoo on my arm:

Passed through Pocohontas (aka Pokey) and Plover (signs told me that “Plover rhymes with lover” and that “Plover is where the men are good lookin’ and the grandmas have balls… ham balls that is!”  These are apparently like meatballs, but made of ham, and on a stick, like most RAGBRAI delicacies.)

Here is the Pokey mascot:

Day 3:

This was the hottest day of all of them.  When we completed the day’s mileage and were nowhere near the end of the ride (mistake on the route map!), we stopped in a shady farm house front yard, where the wife owner was selling cookies and pickles and the husband brother-in-law was lounging in a lawn chair, narrating the goings-on through a microphone and big speakers.  This guy had a seriously radio-worthy voice and was soothing us with reassurances of how great the cookies were (“best homemade cookies in the county…get em before they’re gone”) and counted down the number of remaining pickles (“just 3 pickles left, folks…”).

One pickle later, we crashed under a tree and listened to his peaceful narration, with Buddy Holly tunes playing in the background.   Our final destination for that day was Clear Lake – the site of Buddy Holly’s last gig before he died in an airplane crash in that very town, along with the Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.  We filled up our water bottles with the farm-owner-touted-over-speakers Iowa certified well water and were on our way.

This was the day I vowed to eat 10 ears of sweet corn before the week was out.  The corn tattoo does not count as an ear.

Day 4:

It was another gloriously sunny day.  We passed through a town called Cartersville, where a giantly high trapeze was set up above a pond.  Spandex dries quickly!  Trapeze was later closed due to excessive nudity. Cartersville is a wholesome town, afterall.  Perhaps the bloody mary vendors and the trapeze/pond combo shouldn’t have been placed so close together?

Day 5:

Sobering pass through Parkersburg, site of an F5 tornado that leveled large parts of the town 2 years ago, and also the tragic and fatal shooting of the pillar-of-the-community football coach by one of his students just 1 year ago.  It looked like almost everything was rebuilt (though treeless) and spirits were high among the locals.

The town called Dike was selling “I biked through Dike” t-shirts.

Day 6:

Cold rain all morning, but I had one of my best and fastest days of riding.  First day that I met another person from Massachusetts.  Quick lunch stop in Quasqueton (Quasky, for short!), and took about 5 miles to warm up again.  Brrr!

Day 7:

On the final day we stopped at the Field of Dreams!  The one from the movie!  And then it was off to conquer the biggest and toughest hill of the entire ride.  A 1-mile beast with up to a 19% grade.   A lot of people walked it.  I made it up on two wheels!  The reward?  A bunch more hills until the finish, where we dipped our tires in the Mississippi river.  Final sweet corn tally:  only 7 of 10.  Next year I’ll have to shoot for 13 ears in 7 days!

So… Any takers for next year?

Posted by robyn on August 6th, 2010 under random

12 Responses to “RAGBRAI days 2 – 7 and home again”

  1. Dori Says:

    Congrats! Can’t wait to hear more!
    .-= Dori´s last blog ..Old News is Good News =-.

  2. Krystyn Says:

    Robyn! What an exciting bike trip…I wish I could do something like that (Id never get the time away). Can’t wait to hear more about it!!
    .-= Krystyn´s last blog ..orientation =-.

  3. Jabba Says:

    Congrats! What a great experience!! I love the corn tattoo.
    .-= Jabba´s last blog ..Sailing! =-.

  4. Kim Says:

    I loved reading this! Welcome home!

  5. Erika Says:

    Congrats! What a feat!

  6. Bruce Says:

    Sounds like you had a great time!

  7. Cherie Says:

    I can’t believe this — I found you because of Bernina (I have one), find out you’re a grammar fanatic (me too, occupational hazard!) You biked RAGBRAI (my kids and I have been talking about doing this for years) and you’re from New England (I’m in CT) Oh, and you’re funny (me too!) I’m a fan of yours until you write no more….

  8. robyn Says:

    Awww, Cherie! Thanks for the nice note! I’m glad you found me. We can be grammar-loving, crafty, biking friends online. (And, for the record, I love parentheses, too!)

  9. C. Lind Says:

    Hi– I own the Iowa farm with the streamers on the barn, in the trees, along the road–Mom’s cookies, and the pickles! Glad you had a good break with us! Yep, my brother-in-law has the great sounding voice. We raised over $700 for Haitian Relief and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Only wish I had more pickles to sell! Thanks for the nice blog! Good luck

  10. robyn Says:

    Wow, how funny! I’m so glad you found me here 🙂 I was the lucky recipient of your second-to-last pickle! That was such a hot day and such a great way to relax in the shade. Thank you for opening your yard to all of the riders, and for providing us such a welcoming and entertaining spot to rest!!


  11. G. Linn Says:

    Hi–I’m the farm guy with the “seriously radio-worthy voice.” Thanks for the compliment and glad you had a good time at Black Barn Farm. Enjoyed reading your blog about RAGBRAI.

  12. robyn Says:

    Ah, hello! We had a fantastic time at Black Barn Farm! I left there feeling like I would like to hire you to narrate the rest of my ride. Are you available for next year? 🙂 Thank you for the memorable and relaxing rest stop. It was great!


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I'm Robyn. Thanks for stopping by! This is my craft blog.

Contact me at robyn [at] dognamedbanjo [dot] com.

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