Day 3 - South Sioux City, Nebraska to La Mars, Iowa - RAGBRAI Has Begun
I am camped at the County Fairground in La Mars, Iowa, with thousands of other people. I have just enjoyed a Busch from the cooler in the back of the Des Moines Cycle Club (DMCC) box truck.
It is sweltering. The DMCC has an area roped off by the Swine Barn. When I got in around
10:30 this morning, I went straight to the RAGBRAI Information booth, and asked if the DMCC
truck had arrived. They told me no, but they pointed out on the map the area where clubs like
the DMCC would set up camp.
"There by the Hog Barn?" I say looking at the map.
"The good news is the hogs aren't here until next weekend."
"The hogs come Wednesday."
It is unbelievably hot today. It was around 100. I was out in it all day. It was nice this morning. I was on the road at 7:30, riding across the river to Iowa.
I ate breakfast on the way out of Sioux City at a coffee shop in a strip mall. After Sioux City, you are on US 75 for 20 miles to La Mars. US 75 is dead flat expressway alongside a railroad track, with a big wide shoulder. At first.
The picture above shows what happens after Hinton, for about 8 miles until the outskirts of La Mars. No shoulder. Speed Limit 65. Side roads are all unpaved. This was a real horror show. Yes, I rode it. At least the traffic was light.
It sure was nice to finally get to La Mars, the Ice Cream Capital of the World.
"Why is La Mars the Ice Cream Capital of the World?" you probably wonder. Do they make Haagen Daz? Do they make Ben & Jerry's? Well, no. The make Blue Bunny Ice Cream.
I also rode by the Jiffy Pop factory outside Sioux City. Maybe Sioux City is the Popcorn Capital of the World and I missed the sign.
One cool thing at the fairgrounds here is they have a round barn.
You can go inside the round barn. The idea is the middle of the round barn is a silo, and the pens for the cows are around the outside. That way it is very efficient to feed the cows. The round barn is pretty impressive. I think it took more effort to make the round barn round than could have possibly be saved by feeding the cows more efficiently. Also, I learned from the displays inside the round barn that the round barn wasn't always here. They moved it from the other side of La Mars. All in one piece, on a trailer. It weighs 35 tons, because the silo is concrete.
La Mars, the Ice Cream Capital of the World, has made special art for RAGBRAI. It is an Ice Cream Cone made of old bicycles gathered during the big clean-up campaign they did to prepare.
I got in to La Mars early, and I had the whole afternoon to entertain myself in 100 degree heat until the DMCC bus arrived. After I had exhausted the possibilities of the round barn and Art, I started assembling bikes. We shipped our bikes to an Auto Shop in La Mars, and then a local bike shop brought them to the fairground. It explains how to do this on the La Mars web page for RAGBRAI. First was my Cobrabikes Royale carbon fiber super cool front wheel drive ultra low recumbent.
Then since I am a devoted husband, I put together Debra's bike.
The DMCC bus was not there yet, so I called Debra and inquired which of my friends would be most greatful if I put their bike together. Mark didn't care, Kevin was in the restroom, Laura was embarassed because I packed her bike to ship it out, which left Shannon. After her bike was together, I still got to Laura's. That's four bikes in 100 degree heat. Everyone will have to be super-nice to me now. Maybe Monkey will have a lot of dog-sitting volunteers.
I should have known when I went to see the Art that Laura would make us all go down there again for a group photo.
Here is the death-defying route on expressways without shoulders for today.