Friday, January 21, 2005

sleeping with the fan on

Why we decided to do RAGBRAI I have no idea, getting back in shape is one thing, but neither of us is ready for a 7 day bike ride across Iowa in the middle of July with 90+ temps and 90%+ humidity? I left that crazy place for a reason you know! But either way, there we were.

We didn’t have to leave right away, we could actually start at any point during the day so we figured as long as we were there we’d take in some sights real quick (not that there are a lot of sights to take in in Iowa, but I did live there for nearly 10 years, and Noland has never been there, so I figured I’d show him around a bit anyhow.

First we went to the statue lady’s house – she has more lawn art then you have ever seen in one place outside one of those yard fountain and lawn art stores. There have to be a dozen or more cement fountains, half a dozen statues of cherubs and angels and cute little girls lifting there skirts, those colored balls that go on pedestals – I think there was one of every available size and color, then there are the random one off’s - deer statues, the gargoyles, the squirrels…..throw in some Edward Scissorhands style bushes and a Koi pond and I think you’ve got the picture. It was pretty amazing. Midwest art at it’s finest!

We were just leaving there when a whole herd of cyclists went past us telling that we’d better get going or they were going to disqualify us, so we headed back to the station. By this time of course it was starting to rain – and for my friends in the NW – rain when it’s 90+ outside and in the Midwest is NOT the pleasant cooling rain that we get in Oregon. No, when it rains in the summer time it doesn’t cool things down, it makes them worse – the rain itself is warm and it just hangs in the air like a thick warm fog making everything heavy and slow.

I think that’s one of the reasons that people from other place don’t get how wonderful the weather here in the NW really is. It never really gets hot, never really gets cold (if it does do either it’s a week max, more likely a day) and while it rains a fair numbers of days, it’s usually just that nice refreshing cool mist – when people in the Midwest, south or east here that it rained every day from Dec 1 – March 1 they think of their rain. Heavy downpours flooding roads and freezing into ice, or when they hear that it doesn’t stop raining until Fourth of July (although in the 8 years I’ve been here the summers have always been nicer then that) they think of that sticky, hot heavy rain that they get, not the (again) nice, cool refreshing mist that you can walk in for 30 minutes before you can even tell that you’re wet.

Ok – so enough weather analysis – we go to start the ride and remember that we left our sleeping bags, backpacks and the rest of our gear someplace else – so now it’s a scavenger hunt for our stuff – at least that’s more interesting way to ride! We get our first clue from the guy with the started gun, but he doesn’t warn us that there are already other teams out there – and they’re looking for our stuff too! We take off and thin that we probably have a pretty good lead since it’s our stuff so we’re more likely to know where it’s ended up – but just when we’re hitting our stride ready to really jump into action – the buzzer sounds and it’s all over.

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