Quite frankly, today was all about what we were doing after our ride. We were on a mission…get to Sioux Center, IA, get cleaned up and then drive to the Ice cream Capital of the World…Le Mars, IA. Who knew we’d be in the Kolache Capital of the World and the Ice Cream Capital of the World today! Part two of our mission after the ice cream in Le Mars was to get to Ed’s house in Omaha as soon as possible. Brenda is flying in today so you can only imagine how excited I am! In addition, tonight we’re going to have a BBQ at Beth & Ed’s to celebrate Ed’s birthday. As you can see, all our incentive today was to get done quickly and start the post ride festivities. We’ve been very good about experiencing the journey during our riding, but today we were focused on just riding the 83 miles and being done. Plus it was 83 miles of corn fields, soy beans and pig farms.
Today marked the half way point for us as it’s day 30 of our planned 60 day trip. Hard to believe we’ve been gone for 30 days and STILL have 30 days to go. We left Yankton at 6:40a and rode about 10 miles down the road when Matt said we were to turn left. We did and then in about 100 yards the road turned to dirt. Gotta talk to those people at ridewithGPS.com about having an option to route on just paved roads. Anyway, the 3 of us spent about 10 minutes looking at alternate routes on our phones and talking to a local women about the condition of the roads. Ultimately we decided on the new route and were all a little deflated when we figured it would add 8 miles to the day. Plus it routed us on a road that was under construction and we ended up having 15 miles of debris dodging.
We met Bob and Marilyn in Vermillion, SD for a water change and that’s where I took the picture of them celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary. Bet if you asked them a year ago what they were going to do to celebrate that wouldn’t have been the answer. From there we rode 20 more miles into Akron, IA our 7th state on the trip. You’ll notice there’s no picture of Matt and I at the “Welcome to Iowa” sigh as there was no sign. Maybe we’ll find one when we drive back from Omaha. We continued on the Hawarden for a quick lunch stop and then rode the final 20 miles to Sioux Center. Fortunately today we benefited from the morning storm in the area that never rained on us but provided cloud cover and kept the temperature in the 80’s. Once we were done riding the clouds left and the temp shot up to the high 90’s.
As we rolled into to Sioux Center (where we’ll start RAGBRAI on Sunday) we had a Black SUV honking at us and pulled over to see what was going on. Well it was my good friends Holly and Paula with Holly’s children all with homemade signs welcoming us to Iowa! It was a special moment and the perfect start to our RAGBRAI adventure! Holly and her father Pete are going to join us next week for RAGBRAI and Holly has made ALL of the housing arrangements for us in each town. After spending sometime with Holly we went over to the community center for a shower before our 2.5 hour drive to Omaha. Even on a cooler today like today the humidity is still higher than we’re used to so every inch of cycling clothing we have is drenched in sweat and a shower is always the first order of business when we finish the day’s ride.
On our way to Omaha we of course had to make a stop in Le Mars for Milkshakes and I’m sure will probably do the same tomorrow with Brenda when we drive back to Sioux Center. Now most of you’d probably never know this but I actually have a special memory of Le Mars, IA. Back when I ran an advertising agency one of my clients was the Iowa Chevy dealer association. We occasionally had board meetings in Le Mars and I was there for a meeting in May 1990. Well, I remember sitting in my hotel room when Brenda called on the hotel phone (this was before cell phones) and told me she was going into labor with our 2nd child. This was about 7 weeks before the baby was due and unexpected. Well let me tell you trying to get from Le Mars, IA to San Francisco late at night is basically impossible. I left my work colleague at the hotel and drove to Sioux City for the first flight out in the morning. Fortunately it turned out to be a false labor and my son Eric wasn’t born until June 17th.
Tonight we had a wonderful BBQ at the Brown’s! It was great to see Beth who I went to college with and her mom Barbara and daughters Erin and Ally. Bob and Marilyn were still with us and Brenda flew in and will be with us for the rest of the trip! Nothing like an fun evening sharing old stories, laughter and good food with great friends!
Finally, here’s a few stats from our first 30 days of our ride across America. We’ve ridden 2,116 miles which is 53.8% of our planned mileage and climbed 71,315 feet which is 62.1 of our planned climbing.
More corn fields….
Our great greeting upon arriving in Sioux Center!