'Today in a nutshell' (as my/our intrepid traveling companion, Merrie Squirrels, would say: 54.4 miles in blistering heat even though Sheryl Walter (my Grinnell classmate and veteran of the last two RAGBRAIs) left Sioux Center at 5:50am and got into Cherokee around 2pm. The key is staying hydrated. When you see someone taking a drink, take a drink. If you see someone selling watermelon, buy a slice. And if you see someone selling pickles, ask if you can buy the juice! (The juice is a great pick-me-up! Trust me -- it's the electrolytes or something!)
News items of interest:
1. Royal Sighting: Photo with the Queen of the Cherokee County fair at the booth for the junior class of MMC Jr-Sr High School (Marcus, Meriden and Cleghorn), home of the fighting eagles, where she and her friends sang the fight song (complete with gestures). They were raising money for the prom. (Two pieces of watermelon with a $20 contribution for the song.)
2. Pie Report from Day One: Kelly's blackberry pie -- hands down; no contest. Sheryl opted for cherry-rhubarb (also a winner). And for the record, she has never heard of a pie recipe with bacon in it.).
3. Best Marketing Effort: The Alton Volunteer Fire Department who came around our campsite in Sioux Center last night and convinced us to by-pass breakfast in Orange City -- 'we're only 4 miles past Orange City and we need a new fire truck and a new playground!'. We ran into some of our Grinnell cohorts (Mark Haverly '79, Gus Moreno '80, Dan Kaplan '80, and Rod Schultz) for a fine sausage, egg and cheese sandwich.
4. Best Improvement on a Barker's Sales Pitch: When we suggested the Marcus United Methodist Women on the street infront of their church saying 'Methodist pie! Methodist pie! Methodist pie' adjust their call to either 'Methodist pie -- it's sinfully good!' or 'Methodist pie -- it's heavenly! Or 'Methodist pie -- it's divine!'
Oh, and their apple pie? Well, let's just say that they still had 250 (of their 300) remaining when we cycled away at noon. Just saying.
5. Best church sign (since it is Sunday): United Methodist in Cherokee -- 'If you see a fire, it's because our choir is smoking hot.'
6. Key Elected Official Encounter: Mayor Downs of Marcus. He sends his best regards to Craig Takes. (We couldn't find the Mayor of Orange City even though everyone said he was wearing a red cape and had a big gold medallion around his neck. It's RAGBRAI for heaven's sake; how's he going to stand out in something like that?)
7. Best jewelry: The tire spoke guy whom I met 5 years ago. www.brokenspoke.com
8. Best beer: The gals from Lake Okoboji who stopped us in front of the United Methodist Church in Cherokee said 'hey, want to try our new beer we are brewing in Lake Okoboji?' They were not in a stand or anything and just opened up a portable cooler and said 'try this.' As they poured the beer from an unmarked glass jar into two cups, the welcoming lady on the corner suggested they make themselves scarce.
9. Biggest Disappoint: They ran out of the dutch hats they were selling in Orange City (and the cell coverage isn't anything to brag about)! We are not going to complain about the heat, but Sheryl says that one lady in the shower line said her bike computer registered 104 degrees.
10. Highlight from Sioux Center gathering point: excellent fireworks show enjoyed by Sheryl and ignored by Ed (because he though that it couldn't possibly last that long)!
On to Lake View tomorrow -- 62 miles.
(And it's on a lake!)
Please send a tail wind or some cloud cover! At least no one out here is saying 'it's not the heat; it's the humidity!'