Monday, August 24, 2009

If you bike it, they will come. . .

We three had head a lot of things about Iowa, "Its completely flat and full of corn", but none of us had seen much of the state for ourselves. As we crossed the Missouri we discovered that you can't always trust the impressions of others. . .

The first myth busted is that Iowa is flat. It is indeed very hilly. Nothing too high or too steep, but the countryside rolls on and on. We pedaled across the hills and through the corn until Panorama Lake, where we were taken in by some very kind people, fed some very good corn and the next morning-gosh golly!-we got to ride all day on a bike path!

It was a huge treat to be away from the cars, the noise, and the blazing sun. And after a relaxing day of biking we were deposited in the city of Des Moines.Des Moines is a great city; small enough to travel easily by bike, big enough to offer the variety of city life like great Vietnamese food, contemporary art, and cool people like our host Aaron, a musician and fellow cyclist. 

We spoke with the kids at the Des Moines Boys and Girls Club and showed them our loaded bikes, which always draw attention. After Des Moines it was back on the road towards Davenport. On the way there we were lucky enough to stay with two of Melissa's cousins, who both happen to be big fans of Ragbrai, the largest bike tour in the country! In fact, it was the topic of discussion everywhere we went, considering that we passed through Iowa just two weeks after thousands of riders crossed the state for the event.
We arrived in Davenport hot, hungry, and with lots of phonecalls to make. Our great host Eric and daughter Kayla made sure we didn't spent too much time on the phone and showed us some of Davenport's sights. We took a nighttime visit to the skybridge, an elevated corridor with a constantly-changing lightshow. We also watched Field of Dreams, the classic movie about baseball and Iowa, and we saw a Backwater Gamblers waterski show which was tons of fun! To round out our visit in Iowa, Eric's father Bruce, a lifelong cyclist, led us out of Davenport and into Illinois. . .


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