Thursday, July 31, 2008

The fun never ends...

Tore out of work 30 minutes early last night, did a quick Monkey prep and met Tom Anderson on route for 100.2 miles of gravelly goodness. Took a fairly flat route to Granger, Woodward and Ogden then back. I took a detour west towards Dallas Center to get the requisite 80 or more miles of gravel in to keep my "One a Month" streak alive for the Cup O' Dirt Challenge.

Commuting excluded, I have 1020 miles on bikes this month. I'm pretty sure I have a good amount of base miles at this point. Time to start talking to one or two of the local hotshots and get some ideas for some more intense workouts that I can fit in a short amount of time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back Home

Combine 10 days on the road, a 100 lb touring bike, 650 miles of riding and you have a heck of a vacation. I'm back. More to come as I sort through the 500 photos and try to recall the details.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The pilgrimage

Leaving tomorrow to make the annual trek across the state. My Long Haul Trucker will be the trusty steed that gets me to the start and through the event. All loaded up, the LHT comes in at right around 100 lbs for this trip. Tomorrow we ride to Redfield, meet with more of the sandal class, and work our way to Marne on Friday.

Monday, July 14, 2008

IMBCS #5 - A camel is not a mountain goat

Headed out early on Sunday with Kent Carlson to IMBCS #5 at Sunderbrunch Park in Davenport. The drive over to the park was uneventful, other than neither one of us bringing directions with us. A quick hit of the web with my phone and google maps and we were set. Kent and I arrived around 8:30, quickly registered and headed off for a recon lap of the course before the Novice race. I got a good taste for the course which had almost no flat sections at all. Andy Leuk said that the course reminded him of a cross between Boone and Sugarbottom. Not having been to either of those places, it's hard for me to say. Unfortunately, the course was set for the novice race, so I'd be in for some surprises once the race started. I spent some time riding around with Kent and Ben Shockey trying to keep the blood flowing. The sport, single speed, and women's open classes started the race together. The paved 1/4 mile climb help string people out a bit, but there were still some issues entering the single track. The course flowed really well and made excellent use of the terrain. I was really starting to feel bad about 2/3 of the way through the first lap. I happened to glance down at my HRM and saw 180 on the face. Knowing I couldn't keep that up for another eight miles, I backed off a bit and tried to recover. The second lap was better. I was getting a good feel for the course, but I was still trying to manage my heart rate so I could finish. I lost momentum a few times this lap and fell over. Unfortunately, I fell away from the bench cut in one spot and came down on a tree. I also managed to catch my bars on a tree on a short downhill section and throw myself ass over handlebars. By the time the third lap came around, I was in survival mode, wanting to make sure I finished the race. I stopped briefly to tie what was left of the shoelace on my right shoe, take a drink, and got back on the wagon. I finished with a time of 2:04, which was to the back of the finishers and 30 minutes behind the class winner. Not the result I was hoping for. However, I haven't been putting a lot of miles in on the mountain bike the last few months, and I certainly haven't been going out and riding that hard for any period of time recently. Too much camel in my training, not enough mountain goat. My results reflected that. I wanted to race the IMBCS series this year and get a taste of what it was like. I've learned that it's damn hard and you have to have some dedication and discipline if you are going to do well. I have a huge amount of respect for guys like Cam and Lou that can stay focused on their training and have the results to show for it. Riding in sport my first year may not have been the best choice, but it has been a good challenge, and I think that I am a better rider for doing so. The next race is August 3rd at Seven Oaks. Another course that I have not ridden, and it's supposed to be one of the tougher ones in the area as far as climbing is concerned. Should be a good time.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Packing List

Not that anyone has asked for this, but I figured I would post a list of what I took with me on this first trip as a record for myself and anyone else that was interested. I will start by saying that I packed like I would pack for a week of RAGBRAI and not like I would pack for a three day trip. There are definitely some things on the list that were not needed, but they were also nice to have, or they would be things I would consider taking, so I went ahead and packed them. I did not manage to weigh the bike with everything on it. I will definitely get a weight as I pack up again for RAGBRAI, and try and post it before I leave. 

Some other notes. I had a handling problem for most of the trip. Nothing major, but I would occasionally get an oscillation in the front end at certain speeds or at a certain cadence. I tried tracking this down before I left, and had only narrowed it down to something involving the tent and the sleeping bag. Moving them around didn't seem to make it any better. On the trip, I looked at it a bit more, and I think that I need some additional bungees to hold the tent and sleeping bag to the front rack. The X that I'm currently using allows the end of the rolls to be too loose, resulting in the oscillation and weird handling at certain combinations of speed, cadence and wind

RF - Right Front Pannier
LF - Left Front Pannier
RR - Right Rear Pannier
LR - Left Rear Pannier
BB - Handlebar Bag
TR - Rack Top Bag
TT - Top Tube Bag
BK - Bike

Bike Stuff
Dinotte headlight & battery - BK / - BB
Dinotte helmetlight & battery - TR
Dinotte taillight & battery - BK / - TR
spare tubes x 3 - TR
patch kit - TR
multi tool - TR
water bottles x 2 - BK
chain tool - TR
Iowa bike map - RR
Illinois bike map - RR
printed cue sheets - BB
spoke tool - TR
spare chain links - TR
quick link - TR
first aid kit - RR
zip ties - TR
pump - TR
CO2 carts x 3 - TR
inflator head - TR
bike lock chain - RR
plastic bag for seat - TR
planet bike blinkie - TR
rain covers for panniers - RR
spare bungees - TR
piece of duct tape - TR
spare rack screws - TR
chain ring wrench - TR
chain ring bolts - TR
Chain lube - TR
Light charger - TR
Side cutters - TR

Camping stuff
Tent - RF
ground cloth - RF
rain tarp - RF
poles - RR
stakes - RR
thermarest - RR
chair - RR
sleeping bag - LF
pillow - LF
koozies x 2 - RR
book - LR
petzl headlamp - LR

underwear x 5 - RF
socks x 6 - RF
shorts x 2 - LR
t shirts x 4 - RF
jeans - LR
baseball hat - LR
flip flops - LR
tennis shoes - LR
swim trunks - LR

Bike Clothing
bike jersey x 3 - RR
bike shorts x 3 - RR
bike sandals
arm warmers - RR
uninsulated tights - RR
windbreaker - RR
bike gloves
rain suit - RR

Personal Effects
Towel - LR
washcloth - LR
toothbrush - LR
toothpaste - LR
soap - LR
deodorant - LR
nail clippers - LR
tweezers - LR
wallet - BB
sunscreen - LF
cash - BB
eye glasses - BB
bug spray - BB
toilet paper - LR

phone - TT
phone headset - BB
laptop - LF
laptop charger - LF
camera - TT
solar panel - RR
camera charger - BB
charger adapter - BK

nalgene bottle - LR
granola bars - BB
flask w booze - LR

freezer bags x 2 - RR
plastic bags x 2 - RR

Somewhat boring now

Things are somewhat boring around here now that my bike trip is done.  Commuting to work again. Dealing with impatient drivers, all the normal stuff now. Just not anything that's really exciting.

Gravel grinder on Thursday night leaving from Bike World West. I may get in on that as the Karate Monkey is looking a bit lonely. IMBCS race #5 is coming up this weekend. We haven't had a mountain bike race around here in a long time due to rain and floods. Hopefully I can find some people that want to carpool over. If I can't find anyone to go, I might take a raincheck. It's a long way to drive, and it will take at least a tank of gas plus the entry fees in order to race.

RAGBRAI is just around the corner as well. I am planning on riding out to the start of the event at Missouri Valley and riding into LeClaire. That will make two cross state crossings for me this month.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 3: Tipton to Galesburg, IL

I woke up about 5:00 AM Thursday. My concern about someone discovering my stealth campsite and the constant noise courtesy of the local avian population meant that I was done sleeping. At least the early morning call of the ring-necked pheasant made it feel somewhat like home. In 20 minutes, I broke camp, packed, cleaned the mud off of my cleats, and headed into town in search of food and a place to clean up a bit. Thankfully, the Tipton Family Restaurant opens at 5 AM during the week. I parked my bike on the sidewalk, grabbed a change of clothes along with my camera charger, and sat down in a booth close to the front door. I was the cafe's third customer of the morning. The others were two local farmers having breakfast before making their rounds for the day. I was feeling fairly hungry, so I ordered coffee, orange juice, two pancakes, and a side of corned beef hash. While my order was being prepared, I plugged in the battery charger then went to the rest room to splash a bit of water on my face and change into some new riding clothes. I had a quick chat with one of the farmers about my planned route to Muscatine. He confirmed that I shouldn't have any issues with road closures on the roads I was taking. A few minutes after I sat down in the booth, my breakfast arrived. A nice sized plate of hash and two of the largest pancakes I've seen in recent months. I opted to eat slow and try and get as much food in me as possible to fuel today's ride. This had the side benefit of giving my camera battery some additional time to charge.

Riding into town, I happened to look up and notice that Tipton had already installed their RAGBRAI banner at the entrance to town. Tipton is one of the overnight stops on RAGBRAI this year and the residents are quite excited about the event. While I was finishing my breakfast, more of the locals were coming in for their morning coffee or breakfast meetings. There was interest in my trip and whether I was going to be back again at the end of the month. One person walked in and commented that my bike appeared to be loaded up and ready to head to Sturgis for Bike Week.

Leaving the restaurant, I noted the still cool and humid air along with the northeast wind. Since I was a bit chilled riding into town, I decided to give my new arm warmers a try. I had discussed the merits of arm warmers with Chuck from Kyle's bikes on our night time gravel ride just a few days earlier. Hopefully, they'd both keep me warm and keep the sun off my arms. Fueled and clothed, I headed south out of Tipton on IA Hwy 38 and was immediately greeted with more rolling hills. The good news was the grades were a gentler since this was a main route to I-80 and beyond. The bad news was this was a main route to I-80 and beyond, so the first few miles were filled with cars and a number of semi trucks heading both north and south. After crossing the I-80, the road flattened considerably since I was close to the flood plain of the Iowa River. The ride into Muscatine was pleasant and non-eventful. I did run into a three mile stretch of gravel not too far outside of town. At this point, the appearance of a gravel road didn't require anything other than a downshift and slightly looser grip on the handle bars. At 8:30 AM, I found myself descending into Muscatine. The route was considerably flatter than last year's trek from Dyersville during RAGBRAI. I had planned on stopping for a snack of some sort in Muscatine. Once I arrived, I wasn't hungry and I wanted to keep moving so I could reach Galesburg by a reasonable hour. I headed north a few blocks to the Hwy 92 bridge and started to cross the Mississippi river. Traffic on the bridge was much lighter than I expected. I stopped on the bridge for a number of minutes and took a number of photos without any concern for my safety. Another nice feature of this bridge was the metal plates on the shoulders that covered the expansion joints. This allowed me to ride across the bridge without catching a tire in the joint itself.

After crossing the bridge, Illinois 92 has a nice paved shoulder that made for comfortable riding without needing to be concerned about traffic. About 2 miles from the river, I turned south onto a very smooth county road and cruised with the tail wind. Before I turned east to the climb up the bluff, I stopped to have a drink and a Clif bar. At this point, the gnats descended on me. Recent rains have caused the gnat populations to explode everywhere in the midwest. I decided that I should minimize any further stops to keep the insects at bay. I climbed back on the bike and started the climb. It was long, but not as steep as I was expecting considering I was on a county road. With the load I was carrying, it was still a solid bit of work and I was happy to reach the top. There's nothing like a friend to greet you at the end of a hard effort. Today, my friend was the northeast headwind, flowing unchecked across the corn and soybean fields of western Illinois. Since I was heading primarily east and south today, I decided the best thing to do was find a comfortable gear and keep spinning. For today, this turned out to be a 36x23 or a 36x20. I continued riding east to the town of Buffalo Prairie, cursing the headwind but rolling along at a steady 12.5 - 13.5 MPH.

Once in Buffalo Prairie, I stopped for a cold Coke and a short rest. Buffalo Prairie is the quintessential small rural town. The building I stopped at was a combination feed store, grocery store and post office. The town's other business was a combination meat locker, elevator and sandwich shop. I drank my Coke while talking with some of the other store patrons about my trip. They found it hard to believe that they were halfway between Tipton and Galesburg, or that I had covered close to 45 miles on a bicycle already that morning. After some additional talk, I bought another Coke for the road hit the road again. After enjoying the tailwind for a few miles, I made the next turn on my cue sheet which took me on to a gravel road. After pausing for a couple of minutes to make sure my directions were correct, and to take some more photos, I started down the road into the valley below. Crossing a small bridge, I came to an intersection and turned right to scout the next section of road. I was going to be riding a beautiful tree shaded section of gravel. Unfortunately, it was also going to be up a hill that was soon to peak at 10% grade. I am used to riding a 2.1" tire on gravel, not the 37 mm Continentals that came on my LHT. The tires, combined with the weight of all my "stuff" made for a challenging ride. As I rode onto the slope of the hill I quickly shifted into a 36x34 and kept my legs moving while wandering around to stay on the firmest part of the road. Eventually, I made it to a flatter section near the top of the climb. On my left, I noted a very poorly maintained mobile home with a yard full of junk, some long forgotten cars, and a large dumpster. Forging ahead, I rode up one more short, steep section of gravel before being deposited back onto the chipseal roads that are common in this part of rural Illinois. The remainder of the morning was uneventful, finishing with some additional east and south segments and depositing me into Aledo. It was almost noon, I was tired, and it was time for lunch.

I took a quick loop through the business district surrounding the town square, noting any eating establishments. I finally settled on The Garden Family Restaurant, not far from where I entered the square. Judging by the number of cars pulling up as I dismounted, I had picked a good place to eat. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with swiss, a small bowl of beef and noodle soup, fries and a glass of Mountain Dew. The soup was salty, which I found quite enjoyable after the morning's effort. Once the main course was finished, I had a piece of apple pie with ice cream. Nothing spectacular, but it was certainly edible. Looking at the staff, it was obvious that this was a family owned and operated business. The father and one other man were running the kitchen, while the mother and daughter waited on customers, with the help of one young man who obviously was not related to any of them. I drank a glass of water, had another refill of Mountain Dew and then headed back outside to apply some sunscreen and continue my journey. I had a brief chat with a rather wildly bearded man in overalls and a wide brimmed hat about the flooding that had hit the western part of the county. He seemed somewhat accepting of the hand that fate had dealt him. He said something to me in what I am pretty sure was Klingon, and wandered up the street. I guess my friend Bill was right when he said Aledo was an interesting town.

I rode south out of Aledo, past the high school, the country club, and other points south. Soon I would find myself riding on chip seal into the east wind. I passed through the town of Sunbeam and almost missed it. I am pretty sure that it consisted of a church and a house. Further east, I found myself on the outskirts of Burgess, a town consisting of three north-south avenues and two cross streets. There are many small towns in this part of Illinois. Not long after passing Burgess, I turned south and few minutes later, rode into the town of Alexis, the penultimate town on my journey. I found a convenience store, and bought some Gatorade (2 for $3 here too). During the time I was in the store, three other customers came in, and all of them, including a woman in her 60's, left the store with at least one case of beer in their arms. People in Alexis evidently know how to celebrate the 4th in style. The road out of Alexis wandered south and east with a couple of small hills and eventually I found myself on Illinois Route 164, headed into Galesburg.

Cyclists are rare in Galesburg, other than those that are riding to or from a bar. Cyclists that are assertive and take the entire lane confuse people. I had a lot of people giving me dirty looks as they had to use the left lane to get around me while I was riding down Main Street. While I was riding in the left hand lane due to a right lane closure, I had one driver who decided he'd rather cross the double yellow on the four lane street rather than wait the 30 seconds for me to clear the construction zone.

As I got closer to my sister's house, I decided to stop at a grocery store to get some tasty adult beverages to celebrate the end of my journey. As I was loading a case of beer on my front rack, an older gentleman walked up and asked me about my ride. He's retired, and one of the things he does to pass the time is look for people with stories to tell. Fully loaded touring bikes mean a story of some sort. He assumed initially that I was on a cross country trip. I gave him the Cliff's Notes version of the last few days, and after a few more minutes of conversation, I thanked him for the conversation and excused myself. A few minutes, and a few side streets later, I arrived at my final destination, not more that 30 minutes after my wife had arrived in one of our vehicles.

I relaxed with a couple of cold beers, took a shower, and then took my sister and brother-in-law out for tacos and margaritas at a local taco house. The night air was perfect, so we sat on the patio to eat. A couple of hours later, I was laying in a comfortable bed, already thinking ahead to RAGBRAI later this month, as well as other opportunities to take more trips like this in the future.

Route for the day is here.

Photos from the day are here.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 2: Montezuma to Tipton

I woke up around 5:30 AM Wednesday. I went through my normal morning routing of changing into my biking clothes and brushing my teeth. Damn. Pulled the toothpaste out of the drawer and didn't pack it in my kit. Oh well. Broke camp, packed everything up and headed out of the park. Exiting the park, I was greeted by a beautiful sunrise. After snapping some photos and swatting away the gnats, I headed into Montezuma for some breakfast. A couple of pancakes, some scrambled eggs and coffee allowed me to get the morning started properly. I had some conversations with the locals about my bike trip. I encouraged the waitress to think about a day of RAGBRAI, and just think about it as a series of 8 - 10 mile rides with breaks in between. It makes the day within reach of people that normally don't ride a lot.

I headed east out of Montezuma with a SW wind helping to push me along. The road was fairly flat and boring until the highway climbed onto a ridge, dove down over a small stream and then quickly climbed into the town of Deep River. Exiting Deep River, I kept heading east at a steady comfortable pace, the overcast skies keeping me comfortable as I rolled along. I managed to pick a fairly uninteresting route for this portion of the trip. I followed the same road for close to 40 miles. There were no towns of any remarkable size, and, with a few exceptions, not much along the route that was really photo worthy. I took a brief break in Parnell to eat a doughnut, drink some water, and put sunscreen on my face, hands and my now oddly striped feet. I continued rolling along near the flood plain of Old Man's Creek, enjoying the tail wind and the flat roads. A couple of miles outside of Iowa City, the road turned northeast, climbed out of the valley, and followed a ridge. Looking ahead, I spied another cyclist coming towards me. It was then that I saw the valley he was climbing out of. I quickly shifted into a 36x30 before diving down the hill. After the speed bled off I found myself standing on the pedals, refusing to let myself walk my bike up what turned out to be a 10% grade. After a brief break at the top to catch my breath, rest my legs and take a photo of a cool abandoned house, I finished the ride into town.

I stopped at a convenience store for a drink (2 Gatorades for $3 is the deal this summer), checked my email and eventually located the address for Geoff's Bike and Ski. I cruised down Gilbert Street to meet the infamous Steve "GPickle" Goetzelman, whom I had failed to cross paths with in May at the Dirty Kanza. With the shop buried in repairs due to the short week, Steve had no time for a mid-day lunch or beer. However, Ira Ryan was in town. Both he and Steve were planning on heading to West Branch at 6 to visit Tom Teesdale's shop. Since I was heading the same direction, I decided told Steve I'd give him a call if I decided not to go for some reason. I headed up to the Dubuque street mall for a tasty Panchero's burrito, and spent a couple of hours in the public library working on the previous blog post, uploading photos, and taking a short nap. About 4 PM, I went across the mall to the grocery store, pulled my book out of my panniers and sat under the shaded veranda and read while drinking a couple of beers. I met Steve and Ira back at Geoff's around 5:30. The shop closed at 6 and all of us (shop staff included) hung out while waiting for the approaching storms to hit. After an hour or so of waiting, and not a drop of rain, we decided to head out to West Branch. We decided to take some gravel since it was the most direct route to West Branch. The conversation on the way out was entertaining, with G Pickle and Ira sharing numerous stories about the cycling culture and events around the Iowa City area. About 2 miles from West Branch our luck ran out and I started to feel rain drops smacking my helmet. This quickly turned into a complete deluge and the gravel immediately started looking more like a river than a road. We took shelter in a granary at the top of a hill and waited for the line of storms to pass. Once they were finished, we continued on and arrived at Teesdale's shop, wet but happy.

Tom Teesdale has been building bike frames for close to 30 years. Ira has been building bike frames for a number of years, and Steve is a bike shop wrench. I was definitely the odd man out once the three of them got together, but it was extremely cool listening to Tom and Ira talk about the merits of filleting vs brazing and various issues that are encountered when building and designing frames. We watched Tom quickly install two braze-ons into holes that Ira had previously drilled into Steve's fork Afterwards, Tom looked at both Ira's bike and asked me some questions about mine. Dark was quickly approaching, thus we left Tom's shop so Steve and Ira could make it back to Iowa City before dark. I parted ways with Steve and Ira soon after leaving Tom's shop and headed north out of West Branch.

With my Dinotte lights blazing and blinking, I rode over the rolling hills that lay north of West Branch. With only one of the three bridges allowing access into Tipton still operational, I made my right turn onto Cedar county F36 and was confronted with a road of damp gravel. After double checking my maps and ensuring that I was on the right road, I soldiered on to the east. I met a number of oncoming cars on this road, and almost every one slowed considerably once they got close to me. I'm sure the sight of a single slow moving light approaching got the drivers' curiosity awakened. A few miles and a number of soft muddy spots later, I was back on pavement. I made a quick left hand turn and soon I was plunging down into the darkness towards one of the few passable bridges remaining over the Iowa River. After crossing the dark watery chasm, I started the long climb out of the valley and kept marching on toward Tipton.

After 6 more miles of long rolling hills, I reached Tipton around 10:30 PM. A quick spin around downtown showed that the only places to eat at were Hardees and a bar. I was too tired to think about drinking, so trudged into Hardees with 30 minutes left before closing. After a quick burger and a large Powerade, I headed back to the motel I spied entering town. The lights were out, and the manager did not answer the doorbell. Not good. I rode around around town for a bit looking for alternatives. A campground was located five miles east of town, but I had no desire to ride one more mile, let alone five. I attempted setting up camp behind the glare of the security lights at the high school, but the spot was directly at the business end of a downspout. I cruised back to the motel and tried the motel one more time. No luck. By this point, I was tired and getting cold and I needed to find a spot to sleep, so I started riding towards Muscatine, figuring that I could find a quiet spot somewhere along Highway 38. About a 1/2 mile outside of town, I located a paved road that dead ended in a freshly mowed field. I set up my tent, spread the ground cloth out inside and quickly crawled into my sleeping bag, hoping that the county sheriff didn't wake me up in the middle of the night. The night was cool and comfortable, though a bit humid. I quickly fell asleep, attempting to rest for the next day's long ride across the Mississippi and into Illinois.

So 50 or so easy miles, 12 miles of hills and about 10 miles of gravel. The Long Haul Trucker is handling it all with aplomb. I love this bike.

My route for today is here.

Photos are here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Day 1: Johnston to Montezuma

I left the house around 8:30 after packing the final couple of things in my panniers and topping off the tire pressure. I took a steady but easy pace as I headed east towards Saylorville. This is supposed to be a vacation and I have nothing else to do other than ride my bike. I might as well make the day last. After a couple of hours of riding, I stopped at the Mitchellville Casey's and ran into Richard who was out for a 50 miler. We had a good chat about touring bikes and the LHT in particular. He was interested in getting a touring bike for RAGBRAI as well as some other rides he has planned for the next year. I really have nothing but praise for mine so far and had no issues recommending that he purchase one.

Leaving Mitchellville I headed towards Colfax and then into Newton, following the route from RAGBRAI in 2006 (other than skipping the big hill in Colfax). This was a good route to take considering how hilly they are saying this years RAGBRAI is going to be. The road from Mitchellville to Newton is filled with rollers and some long hills. It was a good opportunity to practice my spinning, as well as getting used to seeing single digit speeds while climbing. I had to keep reminding myself that I had no particular time to get to Montezuma, other than "before dark". I stopped at the Midtown Cafe in Newton around noon for lunch on the recommendation of two guys I talked to at a stoplight. Turned out to be a good recommendation. The service was quick, my chicken sandwich was quite good and the malt I ordered was top notch.

Leaving Newton, I tuned south towards Reasnor. More rollers and a bit of a quartering wind since it was blowing out of the SW. I took a quick spin through town to look for a convenience store. Striking out, I headed east and started the climb out of town and worked my way towards Sully. More rollers and big hills on this section of road, with some really nice scenery at the tops of a few of the climbs. I stopped in a church parking lot and put on some sunblock after I noticed my arms and hands getting very red. I opted for the SPF80 to minimize the amount of damage for the rest of the day.

I arrived in Sully around 2PM and was really looking forward to finding a bar and having a beer. The weather was in the mid 80s and it was a bit on the humid side. I was shocked to find out that neither Sully nor Lynnville further up the road has a bar. With this bit of information in hand, I headed for the Casey's and grabbed a Gatorade along with a tasty adult beverage and re-hydrated myself. The ride into Lynnville was pretty uneventful. More rollers and hills and more heat, although the sun was starting to lose a bit of it's punch late in the day. The final stretch into Montezuma was, again, full of hills, as well as a number of concrete trucks. I could hear them coming up behind me from a distance, and usually pulled over onto the shoulder if I thought I was going to have them behind me going up a hill. I'm all for taking my lane, but the drivers were generally in no mood to slow down or give me a lot of extra room as they went by. I opted for living to fight another day, rather than try and make my point on the roads of rural Poweshiek county. The last bit of road going into Montezuma was nice, as the shoulders were fully paved on both sides of the road. I kept the bike in the middle of the lane going downhill and then moved to the shoulder once I started reaching "minimal velocity" on the climb.

I stopped at Diamond Head park and registered for a camping spot. $10 for a site with no power, which seemed in line with what I had heard others paying on their trips. After registering for my camp spot, I opted to head to town and find someplace with a cold beer (or two). I ended up at the County Line bar on the square. Talk of the evening centered around the smoking ban (which went into place yesterday) and how long people were going to last before they needed to go outside for a smoke. Quite a bit of curiosity about me being a lone biker out for a trip that's not RAGBRAI. All the typical questions were asked and answered. One or two cold beers turned into quite a few more after the owner and others decided that I needed another one before hitting the road. I finally left around 7:30, grabbed a quick sandwich and something to drink at the local quick mart and headed to the park to set up my campground for the evening. After setting up my tent and camp chair, I took a well earned shower, applied bug spray, checked in with the wife and sister and ate dinner.

I had a nice conversation with some other campers that had ridden a a few days of RAGBRAI and some other other of the social / party rides around the state. Afterwards, I snagged a couple of pictures of the lake at sunset, read a book for a bit and then turned in for the night. After a few minutes the noises of the other campers (and their air conditioners) faded into the distance and I was fast asleep.

My route for the day is here.

Photos are here