Ed Senn '79 - 7/19-22/2009Sunday, July 19, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
- 52.6 miles. Up and out at 6am.
- After several pieces of pie -- and Kelly's pies are the best - strawberry/rhubarb...
- After meeting the fainting goats outside of Mineola (and no, they didn't faint)...
- After sweet corn and homemade ice cream in Emerson...
- We rolled into Red Oak and had dinner at the Cattleman's Association. We went on an extended pie hunt before settling on blackberry and sitting in the shade.
- And please shoot the next person who says 'Oh Iowa, it’s just as flat as Nebraska.'
- And remind me to tell you about the person selling 'Obama Lemonade' where he was barking 'if you're rich, you pay more.' I didn't stop, but wanted to shout, 'Hey, how's your health care!?' but thought that it would have been pushing my luck.)
- On to Greenfield!!
- Logistical highlights: Left Red Oak at 6am. Rode 72.6 hilly miles, climbing 5,096 feet, and arrived in Greenfield around 4:30pm. Stopped in Stanton, Villisca, Corning and Fontanelle. Drizzly rain for the last 35 miles.
- Culinary highlights: pork loin and egg sandwich with berry pie (excellent) in Stanton, cherry pie (so-so) in Villisca, pork on a stick, Iowa sweet corn, gooseberry pie from the Presbyterian ladies (interesting, with an excellent crust -- got the recipe) and fried ice cream from the Methodists (I threw mine away) and a smoothee in Corning, and a ham dinner at the First Methodist Church in Greenfield -- ham, green beans (wonderful; I wanted seconds but didn't want to seem like a pig!), potato salad (ick), and rhubarb cobbler with ice cream (it wasn't up to what the Presbyterians offered).
- Social highlights:
- Stanton, a small Swedish community, wins today’s highlight with Swedish dancing (no we didn't jump on stage but should have), photographed on the Swedish horse, the Dahla, Swedish jewelry (!) and a challenge from the Stanton High School Viqueens to hit a free throw on Main Street and win a kiss. I sunk my third shot and said, 'Ok, who is going give me my kiss?' At which point the young lady leaned over and gave me three Hershey kisses. All the houses in Stanton are painted white (or so they said) and the water towers are in the shape of a coffee pot and a coffee cup!
- Following my rule for always stopping for royalty I met the 'prom queen' of Villisca (crown and everything) who was actually the mother of a high school student raising funds for an after-prom party. As I posed for pictures and asked her about the history of Villisca's Axe Murder House (it's a long story, trust me), I also managed to fit in my shameless quest for publicity by continuing my conversation with her majesty until a photographer from the Des Moines Register came over to see what was going on (and to take our picture). Ok, ok, so I said I was from York, SC, but it made a better story and is technically not untrue.
- Finally, under the 'stop for all farm animals especially if there is something unusual,' I saw a 900lbs (very, very dirty) boar (maybe Yorkshire?), had my picture taken with the largest bull in Adams County (a Charolais), and searched for 'Brooster the Rooster' in Fontanelle -- they had plenty of signs saying, 'Meet Brooster in Fontanelle.' So I went up to everyone I saw and asked, 'OK, where's the rooster?' And they'd say, 'He's over in the park.' After numerous tries and no rooster, I finally said, 'Well, is he in a cage, on a leash, or being held by someone?' And they said, 'Oh, that rooster's been stuffed since the '20s and is in Des Moines at the museum. We've just got a young gal running around in a rooster outfit.'
And you wonder why I love this state?!
77 miles tomorrow to Indianola!!Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Please grab your pens or pencils. Today there will be a true-or-false quiz (answers to follow).
- Today was this week's longest ride -- 77.1 miles. (T/F)
- Ed won the skillet-tossing contest in Macksburg. (T/F)
- Ed uses 'Monkey Butter' to ease the ride. (T/F)
- East Peru 'invented' the 'Delicious' apple and is pronounced 'east PEE-row.' (T/F)
- Had their picture taken with Elvis in Prole, Iowa. (T/F)
- Had dinner at the Simpson College dining hall with other Grinnell alums who are riding RAGBRAI. (T/F)
- Ed ate 3 pieces of pie today including one at breakfast. (T/F)
- Ed goes to bed by 9:30pm. (T/F)
Ok. Pens and pencils down. Now for the answers. Grade yourself.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
- True: We left at 6am in a light rain and arrived in Indianola around 5pm with the sun shining. And no, I'm not planning on doing the century on Thursday (which would change the answer to this question.)
- True: Tossing a cast-iron (large) skillet from probably 25 feet, in two tosses I knocked the basketball head off a dummy, was asked to sign their guest book, and invited back to the national contest in 2010 with a 5 dollar coupon for the entry fee. There are pictures.
- False: I'm a corn starch guy.
- True: Who knew?
- True: And young Mr. Calvin Dane, son of fellow classmates of mine, Jack and Michele, joined us. And he admitted that he once was able to recite 'O Captain, My Captain.'
- False: I ate four. One at breakfast and three during the day including one from the Madison County Democrats in St. Charles. And another one from Kelly's pies!!
- False: Are you kidding! This is too much fun!
Shortest day and shortest ride: 44.4 miles leaving Indianola, home of the IHS Indians, at 6am in fog. Arriving in Chariton (pronounced CHER-re-ton), home of the CHS Chargers, around 11:30. Had a 'beef burger' (which was more of a sloppy joe, or as they say in Iowa, a Maid-rite). This might have been a risky purchase. Showered with HOT water and am sitting under our communal tent, having a beer, debating our options for dinner -- a 'traditional Amish Country Dinner Served on an Amish Family Farm' of fried chicken, homemade noodles, mashed potatoes/gravy, salad and vegetable, choice of pie and beverage -- $16 for riders, $18 for others. But we would have needed to catch a bus from downtown and it sounds like a hassle. (You'd think we could just ride our bikes!)
Today's highlight: My niece’s rock star karaoke performance in Milo. She had everyone screaming, waving hands and stomping feet for 'Don't Stop Believing' by Journey.
Answers to common questions:
- We usually shower at the high school (last night at Simpson College with very, very poor water pressure) -- 5 dollars if you bring your own towel, but today I opted to support the private sector, where this company 'trucks' in showers (and they were the closest to our campgrounds).
- The price of a piece of pie is usually 2 dollars but Kelly charges 3 and her's are worth it. (a teammate disagrees, but his palate is very immature.)
- Out here, they call porta-potties 'KYBOs' (pronounced 'KIE-bows'). Some say that it stands for 'Keep Your Bowels Open' but there is some debate on this point/translation.
Tomorrow: 76.9 miles (with the Century Loop for the younger crowd). And we will continue our discussion on the topic of 'High School mascots: What does Iowa say about the subject?'
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Louise Desjardins '76 - 7/22/2009
Sitting in the lobby of the Chariton Middle School watching the sunset blaze mauves and pinks across the western sky we've been pedaling away from for 4 days. The one constant for my first RAGBRAI is the warmth and open-heartedness of Iowans, the same generosity that greeted me on my arrival at Bo Battey's gas and bus station in Grinnell in 1972. Would any other state tolerate 18,000 cyclists of all ages, sizes and abilities on its roads, in its churches, schools, homes and back yards? Is there another state where towns are conveniently separated 10 to 12 miles apart -- the ideal distance for the average rider to pedal in one hour? Is there another event in the U.S. Where the organization is seamless, invisible and apparently lacking in hierarchy?
The beauty and success of RAGBRAI must lie in the constitution of the Iowan. Towit, the Mennonite woman with two daughters selling expertly crafted peach, blueberry, raisin and apple turnovers by the side of the road. The man who volunteers to drive a shuttle from the campground to the town square for hours at a time. The Iowan who discovered RAGBRAI as a teenager and returns repeatedly. The veteran rider from northwestern Iowa with his 7 year old grandson. The woman in her late 50's who's never done anything "athletic" before, but is riding 440 miles across her state.
Maybe it's just the pork and the pie.
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Mark Butterman '76 - 7/20/2009
I am riding with 8 friends from the Class of 1976 and with the greater group of all alumni, professors, townies and hangers-on. We had a blast today, starting out with a force of 13,000 riders from Council Bluffs and traveling through rolling farm country through several small towns, all of which were excited to be on the RAGBRAI route this year and who treated us with a warm welcome. We arrived in Red Oak to find our tents set up, our bags unloaded and showers awaiting us. With so little work to do, we've been able to joke away the afternoon under a shady tent. The big event of the afternoon was when a dust devil came along and lifted up a tent and deposited it on a church steeple. The Red Oak Fire Department came along and with their ladders at full extension to "rescue" the tent from the church steeple, which engendered a long epistological discussion on miracles and a few bad puns on por"tent"ious omens.
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