Centerville, Iowa to Ottumwa, Iowa
Distance: 52.1 miles
Ascent: 1,999 feet
Cyclemeter app not used
Cumulative Distance this tour: 317.7 miles
RAGBRAI is great fun, but one of the annoyances is the plethora of novice cyclists and campers. To wit.
We tented last night next to a pickup truck parked on the grass, license plate from Illinois. Behind it was a big trailer. Yesterday afternoon its owners had erected a tremendous tent, reading the instructions all the while. Obviously novice, but ya gotta start somewhere.
To the distraction of adjacent campers, this party stayed up until the wee morning hours drinking beer and laughing it up, having fun, sure, but violating all camping guidelines. Chicago White Sox games, movie reviews, blather. Oh well…but then…
Around 6:30AM I hear these same nitwits conversing outside my tent. They’re ready to move their truck. To their dismay, because they’d parked on the tenting ground, they were surrounded by tenters. The dialog…”We need to move. What are we going to do?” “That tent there has got to move.” “He shouldn’t have tented there in the first place.” “Don’t worry, I’ll give him a warning.”
At this, I expect to hear tapping on the guy’s tent to ask him if he’ll move. Instead, these yahoos start their big stupid truck engine about 3 feet from the guy’s head (still inside the tent) and rev it up, then let it sit in idle. Mind you, I’m only about 10 feet away, so this is all pretty annoying to me (and everyone else) too.
The guy in the tent emerges, has only a few words with these bozos, then cooperatively starts tearing down his tent, tossing each piece out into the driveway with restrained disgust. RAGBRAI does have a cooperative spirit. Only our Illinois idiots can’t let it go. They start insulting the guy for setting up his tent in front of their truck. They call him selfish. They actually threaten him by reminding him that a tenter was killed by a pickup truck a couple nights back.
Talk about morons. Talk about assholes. From Illinois. If any readers know this party, please give them a link to this site.
The route took us on a run around and across Rathbun Lake this morning, including some hilly stretches, and then it flattened out a lot.
Breakfast in Moravia at Farm Boys again, where I regrouped with both Jack and Phil. From some posted signs there, we learned that a California chain had sued the Farm Boys for trademark infringement, and so they’ll soon be called the Farm Kids. Anyway, we ended up planted in the square listening to a local band, and watching 2 crazy cyclists dance in diapers. Jack might have stolen someone’s blue chair, but he did give it back.
In Unionville, now about 25 miles in, I again met up with Phil for another couple delicious Albia craft beers and then a light lunch of beans and chocolate milk.
We eventually took off in the afternoon and got separated. I was in front, and figured that Phil would want to stop at the craft beer booth before the day ended, and so stopped and waited for him. I must have waited at least 20 minutes nursing a beer and canvassing passing riders. Finally spied him and called out “Phil, you need a beer!!” but he replies, “Nah, I’m riding” and blew past. Well shit, Phil. The best laid plans.
Overnight town tonight is Ottumwa. I found Phil and then Jack in an absolutely beautiful park forest and set up while Phil took a shower. We all then hiked a mile or so in to town to find a long row of food vendors and two massive sound stages. For me: chicken and rice plus some incidental shrimp, a huge lemonade, and then a big tangerine slushie. I was also craving a hard ice cream milkshake, but none of the vendors offered one, and the walk was too far to a local ice cream shop (Graham’s).
Phil returned to his tent, so Jack and I meandered over to the soundstages. An opening act band called Sellout was putting on a great show. Seven in the group, dressed in costumes like Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Gale, Ace Frehley, Devo, and Clark Kent. They were a barrel of energetic fun covering various tunes.
While we listened, we edged slowly to our left to get in stagefront position for the follow-on act, Rick Springfield. Their set started with a produced video of facets of Rick’s career. The video included a brand new composition called Down, an appealing rock tune with heavy crossover to the country side.
Finally Rick and band hit the stage, and it was a wall of sound and light. Rick, at age 66, is a professional rocker teenybopper with all the right moves, and was really fun to see. His voice is excellent. The second song was I’ve Done Everything For You, one of his Top 40 hits. Everyone was singing along.
To my aging ears, the sound was at dangerously high levels up close, and so after 3 tunes and a few photographs Jack and I retreated to the distance of the mixer board, where the sound was perfect. We probably stayed about 45 minutes, then decided to start the long walk back to the tents. Nah, we didn’t wait for Jessie’s Girl <grin>.
Jack’s a smart guy, and proved it by producing an LED light he’d thought to bring. Even with it, it was a major chore trying to find our tents in a vast dark forest of tents. How we avoided all those stakes and guide ropes I don’t know.
Great RAGBRAI day, great evening. Comfortable ride today. As I leaned back into my pillow, I could hear the changes of Jessie’s Girl being belted out in the distance.