RA50: Supermen

Sioux City IA to Onawa IA

Super 8 continental breakfast this morning in Sioux City IA.  Uneventful except that they only had cereal as a main attraction, and they were out of spoons.  So I downed 4 bowls of raisin bran using a plastic fork.  The hardships of the road.

Jack and I were actually the first out on the road today, since Gary needed to retrace back north to Sioux City to pick up a wheel he’d ordered, and Bill was lingering for a while.  Southeast on county roads K29 and then K45, we rolled through Salix IA, Sloan IA, and then Whiting IA, stopping in each for cold drinks.  Heat index today was forecast even higher than yesterday, again up in the 110-115 range.  Heavy sticky heat, and we even had a headwind from the south.  Like yesterday, the headwinds actually helped keep us a little bit cooler than might be expected.

Decent graffiti, if there is such a thing

In Whiting we stopped and entered Goodtime Charlie’s Restaurant and Malt Shop and ordered a couple of vanilla shakes.  While we waited we yakked with the tables of retired farmers and locals.  Everyone here in Iowa is familiar with Ragbrai, but when they heard we’d crossed the Rockies to get here we got a few accolades.  In fact, the lady said something like, “Look, kids, see those two men over there?  They look like ordinary guys but they are really supermen.”

Goodtime Charlie's Restaurant and Malt Shop, Whiting IA

The milkshakes were excellent, made with real ice cream.   This caused them to be a little bit icier than if made with soft serve, and the vanilla balance was perfect, with just the right amount of liquid milk on the edges.  I’m detailing all this out so Jack will be groaning when he reads this.

We decided on a light lunch, and I ordered up a “tavern sandwich,” which is a version of the loose meat sandwiches served around here.  This too was very good – meat cooked just right, infused with onions and light seasonings but still with the beef taste shining through.  No saturation of sauce or catsup or mustard (or grease).  Soft fresh bun.  I’ve only had three such sandwiches and this was the best so far.

In addition to the good food, we really enjoyed talking to the staff and customers.  We talked for a while with a mom sitting with her kids.  She and her husband had been displaced from their home in Blencoe IA by the flood, had lost their crop this year, and were trying to get on with things, but her attitude was supremely upbeat.  I’m really glad we stopped here in Whiting – the highlight of the day.

Another half hour in the swelter took us to Onawa, our destination for the night.  With it still early in the afternoon, we spun around town to see if the city park allowed camping (no), and generally farted around town in various stores trying to stay cool.  Eventually we took off west about 3 miles out of town to find the Lewis and Clark State Park for camping options.  Unfortunately, the park was flooded, so a nearby KOA would have to suffice.  Bill was already here and Gary eventually joined us, sporting his new rear wheel.

KOA in Onawa IA

As earlier stated, I don’t care for RV parks for tent camping.  This one is a little expensive, the wifi is too slow to be usable, and (as Jesse termed it) the place is gnat-infested.  Still, the grounds are pretty and there is a good shower and pool.  I’ve already taken 2 showers and spent some minutes in the pool, so I guess I’m trying to get my money’s worth.   IMO, since they’re on a national bike route, the town of Onawa really loses out for not allowing touring cyclists to tent in town.  Instead of shopping and eating there tonight, Jack and I simply rode to the nearest source of food, a Subway by the interstate exit, then returned to camp.

KOA in Onawa IA

48 miles total, another excellent day touring.  Very hot and sticky again, with more of the same expected tomorrow.