Finally, I am on my own two feet and soon on my own two wheels. Thursday and Friday consisted of 19hours of driving northwest to Council Bluffs, Iowa. The “Chattanooga Teasdales” plus dog rendezvoused with the “Indianola Teasdales” at Pete’s Pizza a local hang-out for them as well as friends. Its one of those places that the table next to you is the bug-man or your old high school teacher, chocked full of memorabilia from the past state-champs or catch-of-the-day newspaper articles. The pizza is so homemade and so good that it is cut into squares instead of slices. Everything is different. Ha.
This morning was game-time, The 15-passenger van was leaving at 11am with full trailer in hot pursuit. We grab a ride with this group out to the start of the ride which will start tomorrow morning. No seat was empty, full of Iowans except 3 Tennessee boys. A tradition of this group is to sit in on a Pizza-Hut and stuff the face with dough and sauce to burn off on the saddle the next day, so we did.
Council Bluffs is on the west end of Iowa (the ride goes west to east across the state.) When we arrive we set up camp around the Mid-American Center (MAC), a meca of entertain from hockey to concerts. On this campus is a Bass Pro Shop (to my surprise) and several Casinos (also to my surprise.) The riders of this 10k people ride have taken up every piece of turf around this campus. To tell ya the truth, the grass isn’t in the best condition but we made due with air mattresses.
The parking lot of the MAC is stuffed full of bike vendors (Trek, Giant, Specialized,) local bike shops, and active sport vendors (Energy Drinks to ChamoisCream.) These vendors will follow the route of this ride setting up in every overnight town, and usually the T-shirts get cheaper the farther the trip goes along. Beyond them is Ribfest, a festival devoted to the pig who is a popular livestock choice of Iowa. In Ribfest are luscious ribs (duh) and other assorted pig fixin’s/food. But the maindraw for Ribfest is the stage which Barenaked Ladies will play on later this evening. (No, not actually naked ladies, but a band. Google ’em.) With them playin’ their encore, will conclude the festivities for the start town on RAGBRAI XXXVII.
The protocol for tomorrow’s morning will consist of waking up at 8ish, brief personal hygiene (a brush of the teeth and places the eyeballs in), dress in full cycling garb (lycra from head to toe), dismantle the tent and pack all belongings into a large duffel, haul duffel into large tractor-trailer, get on bike and get outta town. Let the fun begin.
I am beyond ready for the morning.
As this blog comes to a close I have still so much more to tell yall. So stayed tuned and I’ll try my best to convey one of the best American experiences to you through out the week. If ya just can’t wait for me, then check out ragbrai.com for the real-deal.
Thanks and see ya later with a few miles under my belt.