The event started out with me setting up the tent in Hickory Hills on Friday evening. Wasn't long before Courtney showed up and we ended up chatting for several hours until the sun had set and we both were feeling it was about time to "head for the shed" as the old Iowa farmers would say. Just about then, I noticed a bright LED light coming our way, and then Scott and Ken emerged from behind the blazing generator light on Ken's Curt Goodrich bike to greet us.
It wasn't long before we were all bedded down for the night in anticipation of our 6am start time. The night was pretty uneventful, and by 5am, I had already gotten up and was getting prepared for the day's ride, Courtney, Ken, and Scott soon followed suit. We rolled down to the start and found a few other riders awaiting us. By the time we were all assembled, there were 12 of us, including Robert who rode down from Waterloo to join us for the first leg of the ride. He would then have to ride back home to attend to some other obligations, but it was great having him along for the start.
(Reminder: Click on any photo to enlarge it)
|Looking out from Hickory Hills at the onset of the GTDRI|
|A Range Of Emotions On The Rider's Faces At The Start|
We got off to a decent start into a foggy, humid, coolish morning. The morning is a great time to be on a bike, and especially on a weekend. Not many people are out and about just after 6am, and watching the sunrise on our easterly depart was fantastic. Everyone immediately settled into a comfortable, if not slightly rapid pace. I figured we were all either a bit excited, nervous, or a combination of both, as we crunched the gravel underneath our tires.
It wasn't too long into the ride before we hit on our first little adventure. The county deemed a wooden bridge, a span of about 50 feet, unsafe for vehicular travel, and so had set up a road closed sign at the head of our second B Maintenance road. The first B Road was so good, smooth, and fast, I was hoping we'd not have to miss the respite from the chunky gravel, and I think the others were of the same mind, so on we went by, against the will of the sign and the authority behind it. (It wouldn't be the last time this happened on this day!)
|Riding along and watching the sun rise.|
|Our "Scout" Sent Up The Road To Check On The Closure.|
|Bridge crossing in the sunlit mist.|
|Local Woman Enters Unscathed! (Nothing To Fear, Ma'am!)|
|Stories Told- Waiting On Adam|
This signaled the start of another part of the day, which was pleasant. Probably the most chatty, laid back part of the ride. We took in some of the damaged countryside, and the earlier stories set in with those that were unfamiliar previous to the ride. It is still a heart wrenching scene in Clutier, and on many farmsteads in Tama County. Still, there were several highlights, like the steeply descending B Maintenance road north of Clutier, and lots of cool scenery from high atop some of the tallest hills in Tama County.
Next: Part II of the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational Report