The first day Started out in the rain riding 65 miles of bike trail out to Copper Iowa, then turning off the paved road to Carroll. The day was very hot or so my phone said with the heat index in the 110 range. I only made 2 stops one in Yale to eat the other on the side of a gravel road to lay down and rest for a couple minutes. I ate at a little place called Denny's cafe and had a couple beers there good food if your ever in Carroll. The overnight was bad friday and sort of shortened my trip overall. I wasn't able to sleep with the heat and then around 1am the thunderstorm kept me up the rest of the night. I decided at 4am I was going to take Saturday easy and not make Sioux City but hit day 2 of Ragbrai in storm lake.
The Second day I decided on the super milage of like 35 miles down the Saik rail trail from Carroll to Blackhawk lake in Lakeview Iowa. Met so of the Bad Monkey team in Brenda Iowa for several Beers (at 10am). Got into Lakeview Early and road around town after setting up my tent and dropping my gear at the state park. Had a good enough dinner in a bar (frozen pizza) and a couple drinks before heading back to the state park to hang out for like 6 hours. I did meet another rider headed to Ragbrai who was camping in the next 'site'. 35 miles makes for a very short day and leaves you bored at the end.
The Third day another impressive 40 miles to Storm Lake this is were I met Ragbrai finally. Rode a little while with another rider (last 15 miles or so) he said I kept seeing this motercycle coming but when it didn't catch up I realized it was a loaded touring bike, so I pulled off and waited. It is a very different experience to ride a loaded bike with a rider who is on an empty bike. My pace on a loaded bike is usually in the 12mph range were on an empty bike it is in the 17-18 range so major work out to keep up. Had dinner at a really good Mexican place the name I can't remember that is why I took a picture...so ask my house what it's called. Had some drinks with a group of people from several different states. I found that most of the people on Ragbrai were from other states.
The Forth day from Storm Lake to Algona I had the worst Mechanical Ever a Broke the stem in half and then rode 8 miles with my handlebars zip tied to my front rack. There was a lot to do in Algona and I walked around the Downtown area it was almost like the fair. Camped in an emtpy camp site in a city park with only one team there. Good night sleep and very refreshed.
Day five trying to make the wedding in clear lake at 2pm but I didn't take the short cut so I was late for Kim and Sue's wedding, but I had a good time at the after party at the tiki bar in clear lake. I think this bar could be on my vacation destination list. Dan met up with me at the tiki bar and we camped out at a house up the hill from the bar. The owner of the house had some great food for us and warm showers this is a good booster for the spirits.
Day six from Clear lake to Charles City I rode with Dan all day. We had a little of a dead line to make it there by 3pm so we didn't stop much on the 50ish mile day. There was a cool rope swing jump thing in one of the towns but as with everything Ragbrai the line was around the block. We got to Charles City I found a nice campsite next to the river in a city park. This was the only day I actually hung out in the beer garden for a while. Had some good food in the downtown area and went to bed early.
Day seven would be the last day I rode this year (thursday). It was very hot all day long and the 82 mile (95) route was starting to drag on me. Stopped in the last town Dike Iowa and had several (6 pack) beers. I felt drained the rest of the 25 miles to Waterloo. Got camp set up in Waterloo around 5pm and then found a Hy-vee. Hy-vee is like an oasis in the desert after all you seen for days has been Caseys stores. Grabbed a couple beers and headed to the mall to absorb the AC. Got gifts for all the kids and some dinner at a mexican place then back to camp for what turns out to be my last night in a tent for a while.
Day eight started off with pouring rain and a lightning storm that had me running for cover at around 6am. Somewhere in all this I decided I was done riding and really done camping so I phone for Sag-support. Anna picked me up around noon and we headed for Iowa City to pick up a bike frame and have a couple (alot) of beers at Old capital brewery
Next year I believe I will take a ride to the start and not carry all my gear so that I can finish from end to end. I did determine some limits. 7 nights is my camping limit, 106lbs is too heavy, 110 miles is too far with 106lbs, 1 person on ragbrai is too few (some boredom issues), 2000 miles is time to change the chain on my touring bike. Good times :) Oh ya and the Vortex spit my memory card back out so the next post will be all pictures.