Thursday, July 29, 2010

RAGBRAI Day 3 - Algona to Clear Lake

(This is the report from Tuesday, but I'm writing it on Thursday because I've been obsessively reading the Swedish trilogy about the Girl who Did Various Things.)

It was only 60 miles. It was also only in the 90s with a head index around 104. In other words, a brutal day, even though I started early.

I think the next two pictures are in Garner, but Garner isn't so far from Eagle Grove (the best RAGBRAI pass-through town ever) that the crowd from Eagle Grove couldn't spend 45 minutes driving up with their props. Eagle Grove is the town where they have a guy in an eagle costume waving from the top of a tree when you ride in, and they have people play-acting the whole cast from Mayberry, RFD, and some guy working a sound board broadcasting Barney Fife quotes.

So here is Barney on a trailer, putting RAGBRAI riders in jail with Otis the drunk.

And here is Aunt Bea with a fresh pie, in front of Sheriff Taylor's police cruiser.

And here is where I got some incredibly good ribs for breakfast.

I was to busy wilting in the heat to take more pictures until I got to our campsite. Our charter, Brancell, usually does an exceptional job getting prime camping areas in the overnight towns. Well not this night. We were way far from downtown, behind the school bus maintenance garage, on a lumpy field that had just been mowed for the first time this year. On one end was a railroad track. The train came through just after midnight. On the other end was this:

It's a temporary cell tower just for RAGBRAI, powered by a diesel generator. Which ran all night. Thanks, ATT. You could at least have set up a temporary tower with 3g so I could get on the net with my iPhone.

When it's in the 90s and humid you know what's coming. The thunderstorms were quite severe. I watched the lightning in the distance for about an hour before bed. It was pretty spectacular. The storm hit Clear Lake about 2:00 am. I'm pretty sure lightning hit the temporary cell tower. I did not sleep much between the diesel generator, the trains, and the storm.

I also didn't eat well, because I waited for Jim and Suzanne to take the bus into town for food. By the time we got there all the church suppers and restaurants were out of food. So we ate food from vendor booths. I had this amazing thing called a "Prairie Dog". They take a brat, wrap it in dough, and deep fry it. The thick dough keeps any of the grease from the brat from escaping. It's really something.

Here is the route for today.

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