Leon, Iowa to Centerville, Iowa
Distance: 67.1 miles
Ascent: 2,708 feet
Cyclemeter app not used
Cumulative Distance this tour: 265.6 miles
A lovely 24-hour vapor light illuminated my tent all night – land of the midnight sun. The 3 of us departed together this morning from Leon, but Jack and I separated from Phil leaving town.
Breakfast at Garden Grove – Farm Boys again. You go through a line and tell the servers each item you want in your bowl, like eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, onion, salsa, etc. When I got mine, I grabbed the edge and went to tote it away, but the Styrofoam suddenly cracked, and the bowl did an almost beautiful facedown flop onto the Farm Boys counter. I quickly called out 5-second rule, and started to shovel the contents back into the bowl, but the staffer says, you sure? In the end, she made me a full fresh bowl and we threw out the other – an action I appreciated. Good business – way to go Farm Boys!
Jack and I weren’t sure what to expect from today’s ride. My map showed almost 4000 feet of climbing, but Jack’s only 2700 or so. A mystery. So far the rollers were flatter than yesterday.
Lunch at the meeting town of Humeston. Everywhere were posters and signs celebrating Ole the Bull, who was posed in the center of hundreds of people for photo shoot opportunities. A more patient bull I have never seen. Jack and I spent a lot of time milling around, taking in a rope climb, a lasso corral, mechanical bull, the Google charging booth, and a variety of junk food.
The afternoon took us through 5 very tiny places with few services: Cambria, Millerton, New York, Bethlehem, Confidence. But the usual collection of RAGBRAI vendors kept everyone fed.
On the route was a sign for ice cold chocolate milk at the Jam Boys 8 miles ahead. Jack and I started to hallucinate about how good that was going to be. At the booth, however, the Jam Boys informed us that they were out (at only 1:30PM). What kind of lame operation is this (and Jack and I let ‘em know too)? In capitalist defiance, I refused to buy even a sandwich from them, although Jack said their PB&J was pretty good.
I took the opportunity to phone my mom. She is experiencing some medical issues and needed some moral support.
Fourteen miles later finally brought us both relief. Ice cold chocolate milk at 3 Blind Pigs!
Much easier ride today as we rolled into the overnight town of Centerville. We finally realized that the confusion in ascent total was the difference in doing the Karras Loop (an optional century route that we didn’t need). We found Phil quickly at the Community College, who again had saved us a couple of tent sites.
Phil had felt better today and had sagged only the last segment. He’d already had a cheeseburger and wasn’t interested in dinner, so Jack and I soon jumped onto the shuttle and headed into town.
At the shuttle stop, the folks in Centerville had elaborately decorated a long row of porta-potties, many in a Wizard of Oz theme. Wow ya gotta love it.
The town square of Centerville was decked out with a couple of sound stages and vendors everywhere. First stop: the Albia Brewery booth for a Summer Shandy – fantastic. Tasty Iowan craft beer perfect for a hot evening!
The towns had several games in progress on the square, including a Hula-Hoop contest and a human-sized foosball game. The biggest challenge of the foosball game seems to be keeping the ball inside the field.
Jack scored a slice of veggie pizza that looked so good I got one too. We sat on the curb enjoying a country band for a while. A chicken fit hit, and I soon came back with what looked like ½ a chicken on a stick. Follow-up: vanilla milkshakes for both of us. Man, stuffed!
What’s this? Cyclists talking and eventually writing about food? Nothing unusual about that.
Tonight’s feature band had set up their own large sound stage, but once again, we sleepy cyclists couldn’t stay up so late to wait for them, at least not these ones. I heard later they did all manner of cover tunes and were pretty good.
On the way back, Jack and I jumped off the shuttle wagon to visit the shower truck. This was a truly splendid idea, since toting around 4 days of grime was getting tedious. And here at this late hour, the lines were very short. Wow did that feel good.
We hiked back to the Community College and I got a few mosquito bites, one on the back of my neck. Inside the center were lots of bottles of water iced down – these kinds of simple things are a real pleasure. On the way out, a medical volunteer asked us if there was anything she could help us with. Half kidding, I asked if she had anything for a mosquito bite on my neck. “Nope, only alcohol. Do you want me to rub some on?” I quickly said, “Nah, that’s OK,” and started for the door, but then thought, “Wait, what am I saying??” Out loud, “Sure, you can rub my neck!” Oh, the simple pleasures.