When we arrived in Lorah a few days ago yesterday after a significantly challenging day on relentless Iowa hills and gravel roads, my rear tire had a psi of 27. And a few hours later, it was down to 8 psi. Obviously, it was time to face the music and replace the tube.
Last April, I spent a week with David Morganwalp, my brother-in-law in Virginia, doing some cycling trips, attending his class on tire changing and learning about Green Goop. David has been providing significant guidance to us for over a year as he, too, is in the process of cycling the USA but he is doing so on the Transamerica Trail on the Five-Year Plan rather than our 80 Day Plan.
Turns out that April was a really long time ago; thus, we put in three life line calls to David early in the morning while in the process of getting the inner tube changed. With his expertise, we were able to change the inner tube successfully. THANK YOU, David and thanks for conversing with us earlier on this trip from your canoe in New York. With your assistance, I know we can pull this off.
The day of bicycle mishaps wasn’t over. We put our wheels to the T-Bone trail (a paved trail christened as such because once upon a time the farmers rode with their steers to market on the former rail line). When Pat hit a bump, his pannier fell to the ground (this is not the first time) and the outside clasps sheared off. Frustrating we patched it back together with rope until we reached a hardware store in Audubon where Pat purchased bungee cords.
Why is this town called Audubon? For John James Audubon, the famous ornithologist. There are statutes of him and several ceramic tile pieces that line the sidewalks in his honor. Audubon, is also the home of Albert, the world’s largest bull. When we stopped to take a photo of Albert, we found that he is in the process of getting a refresh so he can look prim and proper for the next 30 years. The rest of the day’s trip tested our mojo and Pat was crushing it as I got further and further behind. As we got closer to our planned destination in Guthrie Center we checked on the weather and learned that 30 counties in Iowa were under a tornado watch. Rather than camp, we found a room at the Mid-Town Motel.
As we travel on many gravel and paved roads (when trails aren’t available) we are stunned by the number of truckers hauling 30 foot trailers filled with rocks. Where are they all going? To build roads for wind turbines which are growing at a furious pace among the corn and soybean fields. And we are also being exposed to crop dusters and helicopters who are out spraying the fields. Occasionally they get a kick out of buzzing us as we cycle by.
Thursday’s ride was one for the books. After negotiating truck traffic and sand strewn shoulders for seven miles, we arrived in the town of Panora. While having some iced coffees, we struck up a conversation with two former teachers and a local farmer who has a thousand-acre farm. I am learning that a thousand acres is about what one needs to make it and that the corn and soybeans are processed and travel throughout the world.
From Panora, we found our way to the paved Raccoon River Valley Trail (in total this trail is 89 miles in length) to Perry and eventually to dinner and camping at the Whistling Donkey restaurant and campground in Woodward. Best of all, it was an easier day (very flat) though I recognize this may be short lived when we head further north.
Shevonne and Pat
Follow us as we spin our wheels across the USA