Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bike Ride Report - Pre RAGBRAI - N. Sioux City, SD to Rock Rapids, IA

Here's the story of our last day of riding to the start of RAGBRAI. I'm writing this the next day in Spencer, Iowa, under the Quest tent using the free wi-fi. That's because we faced many challenges yesterday which made it impossible to make a blog entry before the Iowa Telecom trailer packed up at 11:00.

We started out by heading north on the beautiful and scenic Iowa Route 12, which was also devoid of traffic because it was closed.

But not for us.

Lunch was in Hawarden, at a convenience store where they had tasty pizza bites. Laura and I spent some time there waiting for Jim. He was dawdling behind us and he had a flat tire. It was an omen.

At Hawarden, we turned east to go to Sioux Center, where there was a Wal-Mart, where I accomplished my birthday mission of acquiring the new Harry Potter book.

Laura and I rode in to town for a late lunch at Taco Johns, and waited for Jim. He was dawdling behind, and he had a flat tire.

But it's worse. He fixed his flat again, and was out of tubes, and he got another flat. He limped in to Wal-Mart, and I rode back with one of Laura's extra tubes.

But it's EVEN WORSE. When we were fixing he wheel we noticed that there were cracks on most of the points where the spokes come through the rim. And there was one point where the sidewall was cracked open. Basically the wheels that came with his year-old Trek are utter crap. And he had a broken spoke on his front wheel, which was wobbling all over.

Jim got to spend some serious time at the Bike Expo getting his bike road-worthy. Suddenly, with his opportunity for visiting the Beer Garden in jeopardy, Jim becomes the Tower of Power, and leaves Laura and I way behind. (Total damage: new rim, two new spokes, wheel build on original hub, $120. Done by 10:00 pm. Iowa rocks.)

Jim's girlfriend Suzanne had ridden out with his friend Murray from Chicago, and they brought Laura's camping gear. Since I carried my own camping gear, I got all set up, no problem.

But Laura doesn't know where Jim or Murray or Suzanne are, or where her tent is. She addressed this dilemmma by going to church for Saturday evening mass, and praying that she would be able to figure out how to set her tent up.

Mass gets out, we look all over for Jim and Murray and Suzanne and her gear. No luck. It's getting dark, so she decides to ride downtown to the beer garden where Jim most likely is. I go take a shower. When I get back, Jim is back, Laura is not. Jim and I set up her tent. It is now 11:00.

Bottom line, Laura gets no shower or dinner, but does get here tent set up. I get no dinner, but Laura gives me a bag of goldfish and a stuffed frog doll that croaks when you squeeze it for my birthday. Jim, whose crap Trek bike is the cause of all this, is just fine, because Suzanne set his tent up and he spent the time they were working on his bike partying in the beer garden.

Raccoon, cats

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