After submitting my article Monday night in Jefferson, I rode to the top of the Mahoney Bell Tower to take in the views. Jefferson’s theme was “Highway to Bells.” The 168-foot tower recently turned 50 years old. It was given to the city of Jefferson as a gift from Floyd Mahanay in 1962.
Then I ate a Burrito the size of a small football while enjoying some music on the courthouse lawn. While there, a sudden, unexpected downpour occurred. I went back to camp to wring out the laundry spread out over my tent to dry.
After visiting with people around camp, I called it a night at 9:30. The very moment my head hit the pillow, they cranked the amp on the band, a train went through, sirens went off, and there were fireworks. Despite all that, it was by best night of sleep.
Today was a welcome lighter day than yesterday. At 62.4 miles and 997 feet of elevation change, it was both shorter and flatter.
We departed at 5:50 AM and passed through Grand Junction and Dana. After riding
through a huge windfarm east of Dana, I realized a RAGBRAI rite of passage, Mr. Porkchop. It was 7:30 and 22 miles into our ride. Not a bad breakfast and a 35-year RAGBRAI staple. I talked Matt Bernhard, second generation owner, who said they go through about 800 chops a day.
While enjoying our breakfast, I took more pictures of of some of the crazy costumes, contraptions and helmet toppers. I’d love to capture more of them, but these bikers just won’t stand still.
We headed on to Ogden where we filled our tires and fluids.
About 4 miles east of Ogden, we descended into beautiful views of the Des Moines River valley. After going down, you know you must go up. Our pre-ride information said, “Big Hill” and they were right. Some bikers had to dismount and walk. The ride up was also beautiful and well worth the effort.
We arrived in Boone. Boone is the birthplace of Mamie Eisenhower, wife of our 34th President, Dwight David Eisenhower. We took some pictures of the Freedom Rock by the courthouse, stopped to visit with the locals a couple of times, and ate some watermelon.
Our host city for tonight is Ames. Ames is home to the Iowa State Cyclones and my Alma mater (’83 and ’86). Ames theme is “Cycling Power, taking the state by storm.”
As we turned north for the final stretch into Ames, it seems apropos we rode in the strongest headwinds of the entire ride. Signs along the route warned about the “Storm Brewing.”
Approaching the Cyclones, Jack Trice Stadium, we had a thrilling experience, at least for this Cyclone. The path was lined with a cheering squad. They directed us to ride down the tunnel into the stadium where we got to do a Cyclone Loop.
Tonight I’ll be living the high life. I’m giving up my tenting to stay with friends Brian and Deb Mastbergen. Brian and Deb were long time Sioux City residents before relocating to Ames a couple of years ago. I’ve already had my first real shower in 4 days. Deb did my laundry and gave me a choice of pillows. There are chocolates on my nightstand. It’s going to be a good night!