Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Here Comes Your Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown

Hey, since it's getting close to the end of August, I thought I'd FINALLY write about OOBRAI/RAGBRAI.

It was eight days of riding, eating, drinking, minor nervous breakdowns, imaginary bike trails, pond swings, and run-ins with wild parsnip, and laughing with friends and kin. In other words, a fun Summer adventure.

The first day we rode from Iowa City to Waterloo, Iowa, mostly on bike trails. We had to bring bags on our bikes, but we only needed clothes, a few supplies and toiletries, since we were staying in hotels the first couple of days.

The bike trails were nice for the first part. We did have to fight off some wild life and I got to see a baby skunk for the first time in my life. Fortunately, we didn't scare him or piss him off, since we all smelled bad enough by the end of the day without getting sprayed by a baby skunk.

We made it quite a ways before we ran into some closed spots on the trail. Other people had gone around it so there was some single track trail to take. It was just hard to ride on with the heavy bags on our bikes. More adventure!

I also ran into some more cows in water this week. They thought I was weird, but didn't give me much grief. I did tell them I loved them I got the feeling they weren't all that impressed.

We finally made it to Brandon, Iowa. It was a cute little town but had the saddest gas station/convenience store I've ever been in. There was very little stock and what there was, seemed like it had gone long past its expiration date. The woman running the shop was one of the many cranky, old, curmudgeons with a heart of gold.

The most exciting thing about Brandon, Iowa is that it was the home of the World's Largest Frying Pan! You know how much I love kitsch. So, we took a bunch of goofy photos and got back on the trail.

Not long after, we found a beautiful field of wildflowers. Since John and will probably never have a real honeymoon, this was going to have to do.

Just before we got to La Porte City, we were all starting to fade a bit. We stopped at a park and found a pretty gazebo. You know you've been riding with your friends too long when you all sit as far apart as possible when you stop to even get a semblance of alone time.

The trail closed right after this area and there was no way around it but to ride on the road for a bit and find the trail down a ways.

Lucky for us, that road took us to ice cream. I blueberry shake was just what the doctor ordered.

We rode past a cool old gas station and hooked back up on the trail.

After 98 miles, we finally hit Waterloo. We were all exhausted, but glad that we made it.

Our hotel was in an area where there were just a bunch of other hotels, but there was a bar/restaurant across the street and they had lovely fired chicken and beer there. The good thing about riding 98 miles is that you can eat and drink whatever you want (at least in my head you can). Our bartender was another old curmudgeon. He practically threw our beers at us at first, but then we talked to him for a bit and he was very funny and nice. Iowans...

Our hotel didn't have a bar, but they had a little store where we could buy beer. They also had a nice patio. We had one more beer before we all hit the hay. I fell asleep immediately. I knew the next day was going to be at least 106 miles and I wanted to be ready for it. If it was going to be anything like this day, we would need our rest, but we'd have so much to look forward too...

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