Friday, September 2, 2011
Ragbrai and I Survive
August 30: Thursday is named after the Norwegian deity Thor, the God of kicking ass. Tuesday must have been named for the Iowa rain God because the clouds seem to darken that day of the week consistently of late. Having seen the doom and gloom forecast in the morning I was well-prepared. I rigged my poncho to cover the pack in addition to myself, preventing another soaking of my gear.
Despite the precipitation a good deal of forward progress was made today. I had gone thirteen miles already before the weather soured. Once the rain started I sheltered at the Center Point museum until there was a break.
Only thirty minutes later another band of showers struck and I was forced into seclusion under the Highway 380 underpass. A fellow hobo had been there recently and had marked his territory. The stench combined with the rain water slowly entering the culvert convinced me not to dally further. Less than a mile on I found a less noxious shelter on a roofed bench where I delayed another hour until only a drizzle still fell.
I finished the last bit of trail to Urbana late in the afternoon. I've noticed a penchant in this part of the Midwest for naming towns by taking a word and adding an "a" to the end. Tonica, Colona, Urbana, and Vagina are just some recent examples I have come across of late.
Moving on...I've noticed Iowans have a great love for bicycling. The many trails, including the Cedar Valley Nature Trail I'm currently frolicking about upon prove their ardor.
The greatest expression of their love, however, is a yearly ride around the state known as Ragbrai, which traverses Hawkeyeland, visiting different hamlets and villages along the way each year. I learned from one source how the event always takes place during the hottest week of the year, meaning the ride was going on while I was broiling on Indiana pavement around July 20th.
I also discovered that some Ragbrai bikers train year-round, often sleeping at town pavilions. Therefore, I could do so as well without being bothered. A free place to stay is as good as gold right now. Well, maybe not gold, I could probably use that to pay for a motel room.
19 miles/1446 total miles