The "Race Against Death Tour" leaves Barnum, Iowa on Day Two.........
Tuesday, August 8th- Barnum, Iowa: We awoke from the labors of our first days riding to a very humid, warm, and uncomfortable morning. Having spent most of the night warding off mosquito attacks, setting up our tent, and tossing and turning trying to get comfortable in the stifling air of the enclosure, we were all a bit slow to get going. The day looked to be starting out overcast, with a heaviness from the humidity and temperature that made moving through the air seem like a greater effort than it should have been.
Once packed up, we found our way along a highway headed directly west. This road was a State highway, but seemed to have little traffic. After agreeing upon our route, Troy took the job of setting the pace once again. I found his early morning pace a bit fast, but Ryan seemed to be okay with it, so I just kept to myself and dug in. The road was mainly flat with a few rollers thrown in, but I was not fully rested from the day before and I felt tired yet.
Soon the State highway took a turn, but a county blacktop continued onward in a direction we wanted. Namely- due west! The road was a bit boring. The only thing we found that broke up the monotony was a huge grain bin that was being constructed near an intersection we passed by. The weather was clearing up and heating up. This was going to be a hot day. A hot, humid day with little to no wind.
As noon approached we reached the little town of Nemeha, Iowa which was halfway to Sioux City. We were hungry and hoping for a convenience store. We turned off into the small town but were disappointed to find only a small cafe' named "Hazel's" that seemed to be run out of a residence with a "business addition" in a white clapboard building. Having no other choice, we dismounted and walked inside.
It was a small cafe' with maybe five booths, some of which hadn't seen use in a long time judging from the piles of boxes and things in their seats. We found an elderly lady there and she asked us to be seated and "What would you guys want?". We politely asked if she had any menus to look at. Instead she explained that she'd have to check and see what she had on hand to cook. She dug around and told us all she had were some hamburgers. Well.......hamburgers all around then!
As Hazel cooked up our burgers the story had to be told of what we were up to. Hazel listened and asked a few questions, marveling that we would be taking on such a challenge. She also gave us some back round on her little town. As we munched our burgers, she went about doing some tidying up. Afterwards, we payed our bill, but we couldn't go until Hazel had her picture taken with all of us. We obliged her. It was a kind of quirky lunch, but I think we were amazed as much as Hazel was by each others oddness.
As we left town, Hazel bade us farewell, and we turned our faces westward into the sweltering heat and incessant sunshine.
Next week: Hamburgers and Heat!, Part II