Sunday, August 07, 2016

RAGBRAI - Day 5 - Centerville to Ottumwa - 57.6 miles, 1999 feet of climb)

ADDENDUM: I can't believe I forgot to add this, but Adam reminded me I left out one of the best parts of RAGBRAI Day 5.  While we were at the Ottumwa bridge, a nice couple on a golf cart offered to give the three of us a ride back to the camp site.  We piled onto the suicide seat and....the golf cart just sat there, the front wheels almost lifting off the ground.  With dozens of people watching, the cart slowly moved forward about a foot.  Then another.  Then just wouldn't do it anymore, much to the amusement of a few who shouted encouragement and advice.  That's what precipitated our long walk back past the McDonalds.

Day 5, Centerville to Ottumwa.  Other than the last day, this may have been our fastest day of cycling.  We flew through the route and ended up getting to the campground in Ottumwa ahead of the truck.  We spent a lot of time just hanging out where we intended to camp and talking to Tun about his $8000+ loaner bike.

Here's Ming using the porta potty in Rathbun.  These seems obviously to be color coded for men and women.  Sexist porta porties.  Ming defied color convention and used the pink one as Adam was already occupying blue.  A following day one of the stops had multi-colored porta potties - much more PC.

This is the Rathbun Dam on Rathbun Lake.  Beautiful.  But I couldn't get cyclists not to pedal in front of me and stop to take photos as they didn't want someone in their photo taking a picture.  Sort of dickish behavior. I was tempted to just wander ahead of this guy, but then I decided if I ever need a better picture I can just crop him out.  A beautiful place to catch the sunrise.  Reminded me a bit of the really long bridge Adam and I crossed during the 2013 RAGBRAI.

We stopped in Moravia for breakfast.  It was a nice little town.

Ming and I were excited to have something different for breakfast and the biscuits and gravy at the church with fruit was delicious.  Adam wasn't having it - he went for lighter fare.

My geotags aren't doing this service because this probably wasn't Troy, IA. I think it was Unionville.  This is the pie spread that greeted us.  One of the ladies had made something like 113 or 130 pies leading up to RAGBRAI in the last 24 hours.  $2 for pie.  $1 for ice cream.  Endless coffee was free.  An amazing set up - fruit pies, cream pies...I wish I hadn't eaten that heavy breakfast and could have done seconds.  Ming later opined that he should have just eaten half of two slices instead of a whole slice.

Look at it.  It is beautiful. That's the RAGBRAI pie experience you hope to find.

The campgrounds in Ottuma were excellent.  Huge park with old trees near a loop in the river.  Cool.  Quiet (comparatively).  Shady.  So nice compared to the open hot fields we usually inhabited.  After our tents were set up and we found a shower truck, we told Tun we'd meet him at the local BBQ place.  He biked over there - we chose to use the shuttle.  In retrospect, waiting 30-some minutes (or more) for the shuttle to go about a mile wasn't the best plan.  By the time we got to the BBQ joint, Tun had eaten his food.  But he stayed to chat while we ate.  And if we hadn't taken the shuttle Ming wouldn't have struck up his friendship with the Hyvee lady and we wouldn't have seen the guy who sat down at the shuttle stop in his bibs with a whole large pizza, and folded two slices in half like a sandwich and ate them, rinse and repeat, until he had one piece left he gave away.  That was a big appetite.

After BBQ we headed over to the local theater.  Ming and Adam went to the Star Trek flick I'd already seen, so I went to Lights Out, which was boring (and reminded me of a story in my George Saunder's book, just longer and with less capable acting). Lot of cyclists came in to use the A/C.  One guy came in speaking another language and the teenage ticket guy started talking to him in an Eastern language.  Apparently the guy was Polish and the ticket taker knew Russian and Ukrainian.  They talked, remarked how stupid each other sounded in their own language selection, and then got down to figuring out for the price of a ticket how the Polish guy could optimize his movie-watching experience so he didn't have to leave the theater for the next six hours.  Some very good natured theater staff.

This was a bigger town, so they had bigger entertainment.  On their bridge, Rick Springfield performed later.  We didn't catch that, but we wandered around, shopped for t-shirts for kids (found Eryn a tie dye one to replace the Elroy Sparta one she had as a little kid), found some food, and watch the entertainment prior to Rick.

The number of people downtown was fairly sparse, but if you got over to the bridge it was pretty solidly packed.

The pre-Springfield show was a bunch of folks dressed up like famous entertainers (Adam had to point out to me that the woman in the skirt was Katy Perry).  We watched them and all the "dancers" (quotes intended for irony) on a big screen right near where they were playing.  I think we could have turned around to see them if the food vendors hadn't been behind us.  At one point one of the guys sitting near us said (paraphrase), "Is it just me, or have they been playing the same song for the last 20 minutes?"  I don't think he was wrong - they were sort of jamming and dancing for a long time at one point.

We took the long path back when we got routed around the river and stopped at a McDonald's for a cone and fries.  They were out of cones, so I settled for more soda than any human should drink just to rehydrate.  A lady on RAGBRAI stopped at our table and asked why we were eating at McDonald's given all the RAGBRAI options.  She was there for a cone as well, so our goals were similar.  We told her we generally hit the churches and stands or local places.  We saw her again a day or two later and noted we were eating local.  There were a lot of people we saw multiple times - Dan K from Minneapolis who pulled a trailer behind him every morning, the McDonald's Lady, the aeroshell bike guy, MBA Trek woman, Ms. San Antonio, Ms Panties (Adam's nickname), the not-dressed-as-much-as-other-riders-and-very-tan pair (of women), some of the Cuisine riders, Tun (almost every day - he finished near the front of the pack)...sort of like being in a new town for a week.

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