The biggest regret of being away for two months is missing things with the family. I’m missing hanging at the beach with Sue and Abby. I’m missing the three minutes Ethan would allocate to us this summer. I’m missing Sammy’s high school graduation ( still haven’t seen proof she got the diploma). Missing my mother and my mother in laws bday. And I don’t know if I will be back for my parents 49th wedding anniversary.
But most importantly, I am missing Matt’s big 21st birthday.
Spirit Lake IA to Mason City IA
Travel Time 11:30
Saddle Time 8:11
Had a great dinner with Pam’s brother and sister-in-law, Brian and Gina, plus Pam’s mom, Fran. Local steak and corn, plus beans and kohlrabi from their garden. I brought out my Iowa map and asked for suggestions on what would be an interesting way to go across Iowa. They all studied the map and said the same thing……..corn. Nothing to see but corn! Then their 7th grade nephew Christopher walked in. He was a finalist in the state geography contest. He looked at the map and then said, “what about Field of Dreams”. And so it was written! Duh.
I was loaded up and ready to go at 6am. I walk into the garage and standing there is Fran. Obviously she was on assignment to get footage of my push off and had gotten up early and driven over to her son’s house. I started on my ride. About 5 miles in, I hear click click click. I look across the street, and camouflaged as a corn stalk is Fran taking more pictures of me. She was stalking me. Get it.
Everyone had said Iowa is really boring to bike thru. Corn. Corn. Corn. But truthfully it was beautiful. Pacific Northwest was amazing with their mountains. Montana was beautiful with their rolling hills of nothing and tons of cattle and hay. South Dakota was unique with the badlands and huge tracks of cattle land. But as soon as you enter Iowa, the landscape changes to agriculture. It’s not boring. Corn. Soybeans. Hogs. Grain elevators, Ethanol plants. There is life in Iowa. The towns in the prior states have died. But here, the Agra biz seems to sustain the towns. Also got an email from Janet Wells on where to find her family in Iowa if necessary. Didn’t know she grew up here.
I entered Winnebago County and wondered if there was a connection. Sure enough, 10 miles later I came to the Winnebago factory and headquarters. I had missed the last factory tour of the day which really disappointed me, but I did go to their museum. The town was seeing a steady inflow of RVs today because Wednesday starts their annual rally. As I biked on, I must have past 50 Winnebagos pulling into town.
The wind was at my back so I made great time. But if you weren’t going east or south, the wind would stop you in your tracks! And sometimes the road took me north or west and it was ugly. The roads were pretty bumpy at points and I could hear that my back wheel was again knocked out of alignment. I googled bike stores in Mason City and there were two. So if I made it to either store, I would have them true my wheel. I made it to Mason City at 4pm and then mapped out bike stores. They were two miles west. Ugh. I fought the wind and got to the first store. He showed me I had a broken spoke on back wheel. So he replaced it and trued the wheel. He commented that I am carrying a lot of weight in the rear (laugh now). It was at that point that I remembered my original plan to ship home my camping stuff once I had passed the areas I would be camping at. So I got to my hotel and got a box. Goodbye tent!