Get Peaceful. Get Going. (Or Get Both).
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On the map, the routes for RAGBRAI Days 6 & 7 seem to meander arbitrarily to create 50-60 mile paths where 20-30 would suffice. But as MTV used to say about itself, “too much is never enough”–these are some great days of RAGBRAI. Northeast Iowa, aka The Driftless Area, is actually Big Sky Country–and I should know since I’m from Montana.
Day 5 was an Introduction to Hills, but on Day 6 the grades were the real deal. The hill immediately after Decorah was probably the hardest hill of the entire 2017 ride, because it started up abruptly and continued relentlessly. Also, we’d just left Nordicfest and the Toppling Goliath Brewery where the draft oatmeal stout was a truly fine breakfast beer in my opinion. Sadly I missed out on the Nordic Waffles topped with salmon.
The route south and east out of Decorah passed beautiful rolling hills and picturesque clouds.
Anne and I arrived in Castalia in time to get one of the last slices of homemade pie, served by another angel, this time disguised as a local high school girl, once again confirming my belief that Iowa is Heaven.After Castalia was Postville, a diverse and interesting town with challenging recent history. It was also a town with a great brisket sandwich and as luck would have it we were ravenous by the time we arrived.
There was still a ways to go after Postville but as usual there were interesting sights along the way (the Mondrian-styled recumbent trike was much faster than any road bike on downhills but I caught up on an upgrade; more views here).
I doubt many geologists in my part of the country would guess “Iowa” for some of my Day 6-7 pictures.
The Day ended with another fine dinner (though the Waukon Presbyterians struck us as being just slightly greedy charging an extra $2 for pie on top of the $10 dinner–all our other dinners cost $8 or $9 and most included dessert…. It was OK since the pie was excellent and put me within easy reach of my goal for the week–this was piece #17!).
We also got back to camp in time to hit Joe’s Wet Shack, our favorite purveyor of “showers in a truck”. And what day would be complete without a few covers by Hairball, who it turns out have quite an enthusiastic following!
Hard to remember where you parked your bike after a show like that.
Sad that there’s only one day left. But as a silver lining, it has more hills than any of our previous 13 combined days of RAGBRAI, so it’ll be memorable.