It was mid-morning last Sunday when we stopped on our way north from Gladbrook at a picnic shelter on the Pioneer Trail. There were two people sitting together and chatting at one of the other tables who unbeknownst to us, were holding their quarterly meeting of the Central Iowa’s Dowsers Association. This did not truly become evident until I witnessed a gentleman swinging a pendulum over a set of cards and asked – “What are you doing?” Thus, ensued a brief conversation that touched on Reiki and long distance healing energy. I mentioned that the last time anyone swung a pendulum over my head, 24 years ago, it was because they were attempting to coax my body into labor.
Our next stop was in Hudson, whose main street screamed – block party aftermath. It was time for our daily dose of a sugar sweetened beverage to give us a jolt of energy. We spotted a local bar and parked our bicycles, maneuvering through the sea of motorcyclists taking a smoke break. It was at that moment I made the error of saying to them, “You don’t have to wear helmets in this state?”, which was a less than smooth comment and prompted plenty of biker swagger from the group. Sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut.
On our way once again, we cycled along the Sergeant Road Trail to the outskirts of Waterloo, then the Cedar Prairie Trail into downtown Cedar Falls, then across the Cedar River to North Cedar, the home of Warm Showers hosts, Randy and Laura Hashman. We were ecstatic to meet each other and they quickly made us feel at home, offering a variety of beverages and appetizers while we relaxed and conversed in their beautifully landscaped patio and back yard.
“Our daughter, Linden, and her partner, Jake, convinced us that we should be Warm Showers hosts”, Laura said. Linden and Jake were the recipient of many Warm Showers hosts during their cycling adventure, which began in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska with their 55-pound dog. Their originally intended destination was Argentina, but the trip was cut short in Baja because of the pandemic. Linden, Jake and Jane, Laura’s mom, joined us for a fabulous dinner of rib-eyes, sweet corn, potatoes, cucumbers, Jake’s home brew and plenty of laughter.
After Randy’s and Laura’s gracious hospitality, it was difficult to want to leave the next morning. Corey, my son, who lives in Decorah with his partner, Kyra, had made an early morning call proposing he pick us up in Sumner, Iowa. We readily agreed as we wanted to spend more time with them. Forty miles later, after sharing some chips and a soda and some fruit from a small general store, we converged in one of Sumner’s local parks.
The last two times I have been in Decorah they were overnight visits; first during RAGBRAI in 1993 and then once again after RAGBRAI in 2012. Pat and I love this community and Corey and Kyra’s Victorian dwelling. They live a few blocks from town with three cats who have the run of the neighborhood.
We are impressed with Decorah’s topography, parks and trails and how happy and relaxed everyone seems.Corey cycled the 11-mile Trout Run trail with us one morning, which took us along the river to the hatchery and then up and over several good hills.
We have made repairs and substitutions to our gear to prepare for the rest of our journey east. We’ve checked out the Toppling Goliath brewery, the Seed Saver’s property, and learned much about how the Norwegians came to settle in the US by spending a morning at the Vesterheim Museum. We are presently partaking of Decorah’s annual Nordic Fest that is chock full of new foods to try, music to appreciate and Nordic dancing. Alas, tomorrow morning we are back on the trails, this time through a section of southeastern Minnesota.
And thanks to Michelle and June who sent us a care package of healthy cycling treats to get us the rest of the way home!
Shevonne and Pat
Follow us as we spin our wheels