On Wednesday, we rode out to meet RAGBRAI. John had broken a spoke the day before and the only bike shop in Ottumwa was closed to work at RAGBRAI. So, he had to ride about 50'ish miles with a broken spoke and with his back brake disengaged. Eek!
We headed out of Ottumwa and headed to Blakesburg. We were almost on the exact same route we'd be riding the next day. The roads were nice and we had one family out in the country yelling from their farm, "Hey! Yea, RAGBRAI! WooooHooo!" It was pretty cute.
I love the old gas stations in these towns.
John and Burne got their coffee drinks, while I had my favorite, chocolate milk.
We were very close to the route and the woman at the gas station in Blakesburg was so great about telling us which roads would work best for us and giving us directions. She said she had done 5 RAGBRAI's but they had been a long time ago.
We made it to Unionville, which was the last town before we would hit RAGBRAI. As we were heading out of town, I saw two junior high aged girls with a 6 week old kitten. I jumped off my bike and asked if I could hold her. They were nice enough to let me and it made my day even better.
We caught RAGBRAI on the Karras Loop, which extends the route that day, to go close to 100 miles for the day. It was at Lake Rathbun and it was beautiful.
They actually had a full menu and full bar and I actually got a salad on RAGBRAI. That never happens. I also had some Arnold Palmers's, which I love.
We met our group along the way and headed to our first camp in Chariton, Iowa. This really nice couple housed ours and another team and it was really nice.
The next morning, we got to ride over Lake Rathbun again. I like to sing bad songs from the 70's and 80's and for some reason, John is not a fan of that. Of course, that just makes me and our friends want to do it more. So, on Thursday morning, as we were crossing the lake, a guy rode past us with "Dr Love" screeching out of his stereo. It was perfect, we all surrounded John on his bike and sang it to him. He may not have thought it was as perfect as we did, however...
We got to my sister and brother-in-law's place around 5. They spoiled the hell out of us. Some of the people on our team hadn't had a hot shower in many days. My family had three different houses on their street where we could get a hot shower AND they let us do all of our laundry and made sure we had tons of outlets to charge our phones. We made a ton of food and fed my sister's family and all of our troops. It was heavenly.
We rode to Washington the next day.
About halfway in, we went to Keota and caught a cool bike trail into Washington. Some if it was pretty rough, but I would definitely trade a smooth road for cooler views.
We did enjoy the craft brew tents this year. I don't drink a lot, but I like to have a few good beers and the craft brew tents are perfect for that. No more drinking warm Coors in unshaded alleys on RAGBRAI. Whew!
the last day of RAGBRAI, we chose to ride from Washington, with a stop for a very early lunch in Riverside and home to Iowa City. It was only 35 miles, but I didn't mind the break. While we were at Murphy's some friends, Andrea and Oliver asked if they could ride back with us. I told them we were going slow and they said that was just their speed. it was nice to chat with both of them. It had been a while. We got home around noon'ish, and had all day to do tons of laundry and unpacking and lawn mowing and take a much needed nap. It was a beautiful week.