GRABAAWR – Home Again

After starting out in Council Bluffs, IA, we headed for home.We got as far as North Platte, NE, and when I went to start Bob’s Infinity SUV, I couldn’t get the key to turn. Unfortunately we were the 4th car in the caravan, and the other 3 cars had
already gotten on Interstate 80 by the time we figured out we had a problem and the next exit was about 15 minutes drive. Bob called AAA and they sent out a locksmith, but he decided that he couldn’t fix it because there was a possibility of messing up the cars computer and it would be costly to replace. After lot’s of discussion we decided that the rest of us would continue to Boulder, and Bob would stay overnight in North Platte, and get the car fixed and then drive it to Snowmass on Monday. We had lunch at Ole’s in Paxton.

The rest of our drive was uneventful, except for the huge detour we took because the previous day a cloudburst washed two interstate 80 bridges out and we had to go way out of our way to get home. Also we had a Dairy Queen stop in Sterling. We made it home about 7:00pm Sunday evening.

I got an update that Bob had trouble getting his car fixed, so he rented a car and was home by 6:00pm Monday night.

We had a great bike ride, but it is good to be home!

2002 GRABAAWR – Day 7

Today was the last day of our ride. We had breakfast at the motel at 5:30 and were off shortly after 6:00am. (picture 1) It looked like it was going to be a nice day with a cool temperature and fairly strong cloud cover. We went a different route than anyone had been before, and were surprised by some fairly steep hills early on. Things were going well, we were making great time, and then we started hearing thunder in the direction we were going, then seeing lightning, then it started to sprinkle, then rain lightly. The road was quickly soaked and starting to splatter on our feet, and for those who didn’t have any covering on our back tires, splatter on our backs. Those of us who planned ahead for all eventualities, put on our rain gear. Those who decided to risk it either took shelter or kept going. The rain would stop and then start up again. We would make forward progress when the rain was less, and then take shelter again when the rain got stronger. Stores along the route that had something hot to drink or eat were inundated with riders seeking warmth or sustenance. I did not pack my rain gear so I stopped at an Ace Hardware in Muscoda and bought a bright orange rain outfit. The jacket fit fine, but I ripped one of the legs putting it on and then ripped the crotch when I put my leg over the bicycle. But it served the purpose of keeping me warm but not dry. We all rode one way or another the 31 miles from Richland Center into Boskobell and found the restaurant we said we would meet in for lunch. At this point we were all completely soaked. We all had a second breakfast or brunch to help warm us up. (picture 2 and picture 3)

After a lot of discussion we decided to call it a day and used the two sag wagons to send drivers for all our cars into Prarie du Chien and bring all the cars back, while the rest of us waited at the restaurant. Since we were 30 miles away from Prarie du Chien, and it was raining pretty hard it took a while. We then drove back to the shower area at the end of the ride, changed clothes, said our goodbyes, and started for home. We caravanned to Grinnell IA and had dinner at an excellent restaurant there. I am writing this from Council Bluffs

IA where we are staying at a Days Inn for the night. We will be up for breakfast at 7:00am and be off to Colorado by 7:30!

I want to publicly thank Patti and Ruth for their magnificent job supporting our ride with delicious lunches and many other ways they assisted us in making our ride easier, safer, and more fun. (picture 4)

Also I want to recognize the ringleader without whom this ride would not have happened, and the winner of our naming contest last night, and champion water gun shooter at all us dry hot people, demonstrating his prize from the Devil’s Head Lodge – John Jensen! (picture 5) (I had an even better one but somehow it got erased!)

Your loyal and tired reporter,

2002 GRABAAWR – Day 6

It is hard to believe that this was our next to last day on our ride. We ate breakfast at 6:30 at the Devil’s Head Lodge (Picture 1) and were on the road a little after 7:00am. Ginni Hackney had a flat after 1.5 miles. (Picture 2) How many engineers does it take to change a tire? We rode 14 miles to get to the start of the ride in Sauk City. So while everyone else had a longer ride yesterday, we had it today. We crossed the river on a ferry (Picture 3) and got to Sauk City about 8:45am. We bought a bunch of banana’s and started off on the real course for today, and it started sprinkling. Several of us had checked the forecast and there was no rain in sight. It never really rained hard on us, but it had rained harder on some parts of the road we were riding, and we had to watch out for splash back from cars and other bikers. We had some surprise hills since we were on a route that none of us had been on before. In other areas it was very flat and we made very good time. We got to Spring Green and the Frank Lloyd Wright school where we had lunch prepared by Patti and Ruth. John Taska rode with us for much of the morning (see picture 4), and Patti Taska and Heidi joined us at lunch time. (picture 5)

Ingrid had a flat tire just as we started out after lunch. Picture 6 After lunch the cloud cover we had all morning disappeared and he temperature got markedly hotter. We figured we still had 30 miles to go to get to Richland Center. Luckily the rest of the route was very flat and we made good time. Part of the group went on an old railroad bed that has been covered with crushed limestone and packed to allow small tired bikes to be able to ride on it. We got some great pictures of some of the farms in the distance. (The other part of the group took the standard route. Luckily we all ended up at the same place – the White House Travelodge in Richland Center. After cleaning up we all went to eat at a nearby Mexican restaurant that was suggested by some locals. The food was great – some of the service was slow – but we had a good time. We have decided to eat breakfast here at 5:30am, leave at 6:00am and go to the end of the ride before we try to take showers. After we get cleaned up nd say our goodbyes, we will be driving back towards Colorado in a caravan. Nick and Martha will be heading to Annapolis, MD, and Herb and Ruth will be going back to Minneapolis, MN. We plan to overnight at a Day’s Inn near Council Bluffs IA tomorrow night, and then drive on into Boulder Sunday afternoon.

Tomorrow we will ride 64.7 miles from Richland Center to Prarie du Chien. The journal article tomorrow night may be very short. I hope you have enjoyed these capsules of our progress. There are many more pictures than I am able to send with these emails. If you are interested I could send you a CD to view the other pictures.

Picture 1

Picture 2

2002 GRABAAWR – Day 5

Happy Fourth of July! We all added small American Flags to our bikes or personal decoration today as part of our celebration of the day.

I got separated from the group and didn’t get as many pictures as normal, plus some of the narrative is second hand.

We started off at 6:00am – bright and early – with scouts out for the first open cafe that was serving breakfast. We saw one in Friendship that claimed to have the “Best Breakfast in Town” and the smells oozing from the building seemed to verify its claim, but it didn’t open until 7:00am. The next one was open and we parked our bikes and entered. One way we could tell it was open was that there were a bunch of other bikes parked out front. The food was great, the portions heaping. Those who ordered hash browns got mounds “twice as large as any human should need, but he ate them all anyway” according to Dick Burkley. (see picture 1) {{popup day5breakfast.jpg day5breakfast 1490×870}}Breakfast in Friendship

So we didn’t really get started on our ride until about 7:10. But for the first morning this week, the air was actually cool and some people actually put on long sleeve shirts for a while. Food must have been on our mind today, because about an hour and a half later, we spotted an ice cream delivery truck. We flagged it down and asked if we could buy some ice cream bars. He said the smallest amount he could sell us was a box of 24. John Jensen bought a box for $10 gave bars for free to our group and then sold the rest for $1 each to other riders who had stopped and cleared $5 on the deal. – Thanks John! (see picture 2) {{popup day5icecream.jpg day5icecream 1355×666}}John the Ice Cream Bar Man!

The next town was the Wisconsin Dells. The 4th of July traffic was heavy, but the route this year got us through town and back out in the country faster than last and soon we were at Mirror Lake state park for lunch. Patti and Ruth picked a lovely spot near a swimming beach, with running water and facilities. Bob Boylan and John Taska joined us. Patti Taska and their dog Heidi arrived before we all finished. It was a nice, restful, delicious lunch, but when we started out again the temperature was no longer cool. Twelve miles later we were in Baraboo, where we had planned to stop for ice cream. I looked all over for the place but didn’t find it. The rest of the group did find it and said it was as good as last year.

Next we climbed up and down into Devil’s Lake. Some people went swimming at the South Beach. Then we rode a few more miles to the Devil’s Head Lodge where we are staying tonight. By staying here we cut 12 miles off our ride today of 77 miles, but we will add 12 miles to tomorrow’s route. It also moved our ferry crossing from today to tomorrow. After showering many of us went swimming at the Lodge’s pool. I wish I had gotten a picture of the laundry drying area. It was quite a site to see everybody’s biking attire hanging out to dry. At this point we are all washing each day to have something to wear and hoping we have something that is dry. Many of the riders had on red, white, and blue jerseys or some other decoration to help celebrated the 4th. {{popup day5bae2.jpg day5bae2 1176×904}}Ingrid and Martha show one example in the 3rd picture.

We had a great dinner in the main dinning room of the lodge. John and Patti Taska joined us. Tomorrow we will have breakfast here at 6:30am and try to be off by 7:00am. It will be a 79 mile ride tomorrow to Richland Center. It seems amazing that we only have two days left. Hope you all had a great Fourth of July!