Each year the Des Moines Register sponsors RAGBRAI or the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Some of you may remember that last year the route went through my sister's town of Dyersville. The ride runs from Sunday - Saturday and the riders ride from 50 - 100 miles each day depending on what their overnight town is that day. Once the riders get into town, eat and relax, there is usually a big party with lots of beer and great music. It's a bicycle riders version of Sturgis. One cool thing is each rider dips the tire of their bicycle into the Missouri River on the first day and on the last day of the ride they dip their tire into the Mississippi River when they finish.
Sunday, Dan and I decided to ride down to Red Oak, which was the first overnight stop on the riders' first day. It was a really nice ride and I can't recall ever visiting Red Oak. It was a very nice town and a good place to stop on the first night. People from all over the United States and the World ride in this event each year. The past couple years the ride even had a visit from Lance Armstrong. He didn't make it this year because he has been competing in the Tour De France but he did tell the bicyclist through a press release to drink lots of beers and eat lots of pie. The churches always have amazing pies at each stop. Can't beat homemade pie!
We were watching the riders come in and there was this girl that was telling everyone as they entered town about the good eats and the water balloons her school was selling to raise money for prom. I believe the school was in Clarinda. I would be honestly shocked if this girl doesn't run for office someday. She had no fear. I wish I would have had a tape recorder so I could have taped her yelling through her bullhorn. She would be standing there and all of a sudden she would say...Hey you with the yellow helmet...you need to go down the block and right at the corner and get a brisket sandwich, chips and water for 5 dollars. She shouted at the Red Oak Police Officer...Hey officer, after your shift you better get down there and buy that brisket sandwich. And the funniest was...hey you all need to stop at our booth down the block and right at the corner to purchase 12 water balloons for 3 dollars because it's 80 degrees out and you all look really hot. Dan and I were rolling. In the picture I got of her she was taking a little break but she was still shouting out what she had to sell.
I turned around at one point and there was this amazing bicycle right behind me. I asked the kid that built it if I could take pictures of it and told him I'd post them on my blog. This bike was pretty damn cool. I bet he had some bucks in it. You can't tell from the photos but when you changed angles the paint on it would change colors of purple. It reminded me of a bicycle Jesse James might build and had a theme similar to Jesse's Pay Up Suckers saying and logo.
That girl yelling into her bullhorn sold us on the brisket sandwiches so we went down and ate some lunch. We watched a few more hundred riders come into Red Oak and then we got back on the road and headed back toward Des Moines. As we were riding along Dan stops at this stop sign and says, I'm going back that way because I saw a cool picture opportunity. So we did a U-Turn and went back to this cool country road in South East Iowa.
If you live in Central Iowa or ever come and ride here stay away from East 44 to the West of Dallas Center. AWFUL ROAD for motorcycle riders. Geesh Dallas County...FIX IT! That was the only negative part of the entire trip. Dan and I had a great day and when we got home we'd riden about 300 miles. I'd say our asses are ready to make the trip to Sturgis! :)