Good morning! Nate here. I got an early jump on the morning, catching the sunrise over the lake that we camped next to last night. As Michael pointed out in yesterday’s evening update, the showers here and overall camping accommodations have been phenomenal.
Today we’re on for a regularly scheduled 57 mile day, which puts us just outside of Des Moines, the capital of Iowa. We’re staying in a cheap hotel, so we can do (much needed) laundry, and charge our spare batteries up.
As of this writing, Michael is rolling out of bed, so he should be following pretty closely!
Update (4:00 p.m.): Battled lots of headwinds and more hills today, making the ride tough. As of this writing, Michael is still out on the road, but should be here around dinner time. I’ll update this again should he have any exciting stories from the day.
My day was pretty uneventful overall, however there are a few points that are worth mentioning! About 17 miles into the ride I stopped for a second breakfast at “Casey’s” which is a general store/gas station in the Midwest. They’re everywhere. I had a slice of breakfast pizza (which was exactly what I needed).
The next 25 miles were good, mostly secondary roads with minimal traffic, but lots and lots of hills. Each one wasn’t too bad on its own, but it was pretty much rolling hills for the entire ride. I put on some Billy Joel for music, and kept spinning.
In Prairie City, Iowa–15 miles from the finish–I stopped for an ice cream. They had a pretty extensive diner menu, but I could get by without a full meal. It actually was the only photo I took during the ride today (sorry about that!). It was delicious. I got the typical “are you crazy?!” questions when I told the folks working about the ride.
Okay, here’s my highlight of the day: When I got to the hotel (Best Western, Altoona), the lady working the front desk asked what all my bags were for. I gave her the whole lowdown about the ride, and she was amazed. It seemed like she had an exhausting day up to that point, but I just kept a smile on my face, said please and thank you where I could, and she disappeared behind the counter so she could “find me a room.” She comes out a few minutes later, and gave me a free room upgrade! So now, not only do we have two queen beds, but we also have a small area to store our bikes!
I’m working on getting laundry done now, and generally cleaning everything up with my bags while I wait for Michael to arrive. I’ll likely also make a trip to Walmart to grab some essentials in the meantime.
I’ll likely update this later once Michael gets here.
Update (7:30 p.m.): Michael rolled into Altoona at about 7:00 pm today. His ride was “just like yesterday, only more wind, a little less climbing, and five dog encounters,” he says. He seems satisfied with his two ice cream stops and a lunch spot in Sully (it was famous for pies, but he opted for a burger instead). Lance Armstrong apparently stopped there for coconut cream pie during the 2006 RAGBRAI, Michael learned.
I ate some fantastic Italian food for dinner. There was delivery right to my hotel room, which was beyond convenient.
Tomorrow, we’ll be on a rail trail for about 30 miles, and off the road (yay!) as we exit west of of Des Moines.