RAGBRAI 2004 - Day Six - Friday, July 30
77.3 miles - Hiawatha to Maquoketa - 2,357 feet of climb
Friday dawned rainy too, but the worse part was that it was flat-out cold. Remember how Wednesday was my personal hell day? Well, Friday was Jeff's, between the rain, the cold, the hills, and the gravel that we had to ride on later in the day. By the time we rolled into the meeting town, he was ready to give up for the day - just like I was on Wednesday. But anyhow, this is the first rain-soaked town of the day, Whittier. Notice how the first town is always packed with people - everyone is hungry and looking for some breakfast.
Apparently taken through a rather festive bike, this is the collection of tents that comprises Viola. Since this town and the next two are only about three or four miles away from each other, we decided not to stop.
This is Fairview. And yes, this is all there is to the town of Fairview.
This was a cool place. We stopped and chilled for awhile in the very nice, though very wet, town of Anamosa. They had all kinds of tents and food vendors set up all along the main street, and it didn't seem like anyone was kept inside by the rain.
And then there were these fellows, prancing around the street and playing music. They were pretty crazy, especially the guy on the left; he's playing a guitar and a flute-like thing at the same time.
Besides the part where they misspelled 'screwdrivers', Jeff wanted this picture for Erin. Apparently, the previous night, she met someone very drunk off of Bloody Marys, who wanted to give her a temporary tattoo with his team name on it. I guess he ended up slobbering all over Erin's arm in the course of putting this tattoo on, and it traumatized her away from Bloody Marys forever.
After Anamosa, we rode for about two and a half miles on a gravel road. And by gravel, I really mean more like 'slightly runny cream of chicken soup on top of loosely packed sand'. With the rain still coming down, the entire road was covered in a nasty, tan goo - and so was everyone who rode through it. All the way up everyone's back, into their hair, helmets, all over the bikes ... everything was covered in brown goo. That led to a lot of scenes like this, where dozens of people lined up behind someone's garden hose for a chance to rinse their bikes off. Incidentally, this is the thriving metropolis of Morley.
Next came the meeting town of Olin; this place was very busy, since most people used it as a place to dry off and take a rest from the challenging morning's ride. We hopped over to a local bar and got an awesome hot beef sandwich for lunch. On such a cold and dreary day, it was a most welcome break.
This is Hale. If I remember right (all the small towns tend to blend together, but I think this is the one), this town had a sign saying "Population: 84" as we rode in.
Somewhere between Hale and Oxford Junction was this incredible hill. Named Cobalt Hill, it was easily the steepest and one of the longest hills we rode the entire week. I'm pretty sure I would have traded my firstborn child for more gears as I was climbing this one, but eventually, both Jeff and I made it up this monster.
Oxford Junction, a sleepy little town. Another place we didn't want to stop, so another shot taken from the bike.
The second-to-last town of Lost Nation. This place was hopping, with a beer garden and a lot of entertainment. We were so tired at this point that we just wanted to get a root beer float and move on with it to get the day over with, so we didn't stay for very long.
The path coming into Maquoketa, on the very outskirts of town. This was my favorite town to come in to, because there were multiple houses that bought kegs and gave free beer to anyone who rode by, and there were people handing cans of Busch Light to riders also. For some reason, thsi just seems like a bad idea to me, but it cracked me up anyways.
A view from the inside of the beer garden in Maquoketa. For the record, this was the only beer garden we went into the entire week. The prospect of $3 beers scared King and Jeff away, and I was already so tired that I certainly didn't need any more help. Jeff said that every time he looked at me, he thought I was going to keel over and die. What can I say, it was a rough week.
And this is me, relaxing across Jeff, Steve, Erin, and King, in our very friendly accomodations in Maquoketa. It was very nice to have a hot shower, change clothes, and watch the Cubs game. Unfortunately, I was too tired to join the gang when they returned to the downtown area at about 10:00.
On to day seven -->