|A Guitar Ted Productions series|
Thanks for joining me again on another adventure in "The Touring Series". This tour was dubbed the "Race Against Death Tour". This tour occurred in August of 1995. The three participants, Ryan, Troy, and your's truly, left from Cedar Falls, Iowa to try and get to Winter Park, Colorado in two weeks. Here I am reproducing the tale as it was posted on the blog in 2009. I also will add new remarks and memories where appropriate at the end of each post.
Once again, there were no cell phones, internet, social media platforms, or digital cameras in use by we tourers in 1995. I will post images where I can, but this tour wasn't well documented in images, so there probably will be very few sprinkled throughout. A modern image will be used only where it depicts things I want to clarify, like where we were in that part of the tour via a map image, or the like.
The "Touring Series" will appear every Sunday until it ends. Look for past entries by scrolling back to a previous Sunday's post, or type in "Touring Series" in the search box to find more.
After a brutal 83 miles on Day Two, the "Race Against Death Tour" riders depart Correctionville, Iowa to cross the border.....
Wednesday, August 9th, Correctionville, Iowa: We awake to cloudy skies and warm, humid air. Getting packed up and ready to go doesn't take too long. I am informed that until I can show that I am recovered, Troy and Ryan will carry one of my front panniers each. We get settled in without much conversation and try to get back on track with the tour route.
Troy was getting a bit frustrated with the route and with the direction we were heading in, so he made a call to stop at Moville, Iowa to wash clothes and figure out some alternative route. Originally we were going to go slightly north to include Tim's hometown on the ride, but since he wasn't with us, it didn't make sense anymore. Troy suggested running straight into Sioux City on Highway 20, which was a four lane at this point with a wide paved shoulder. I wasn't too keen on it, but Ryan didn't think it would be too bad, so after the clothes were dry, we were off again on the road.
Of course, we didn't get in too much conversation on this busy, noisy road. Troy led at his usual fast pace up the long grades. This was actually a good route from the standpoint of the grade of this road versus the county roads, which would have been steeper and had more climbing.
Once we reached the outskirts of Sioux City, the intensity level went way up. Adrenaline caused about a five to ten mile an hour increase in our already fast speed. Shouts and responses were given as commands and suggestions were made in haste to avoid traffic and get us downtown where we hoped to find food. Once off the main highway, we were all breathless and needed a stop. We wandered a bit to come right by a Godfather's Pizza at about the noon hour. Troy used to work at a Godfather's and knew about the noon buffet that they had. It was cheap, we were right there, so we went in.
It was quite a sight, as we three grubby travelers were rubbing shoulders with businessmen and office girls on their lunch hours. Lots of weird sideways glances, but we took it all in stride. We figured on being a bit different, on sticking out, so it wasn't any big deal.
Upon leaving Sioux City, the intensity level shot back up for a bit. The road we took was a major highway across the Missouri. We were out of Iowa, but no time to take note of that right then. We had our hands full with getting through traffic, navigating, and trying to keep up maximum speed right after plowing through a buffet line.
We got across the river, off on a side street, and we were lost. Consulting the maps a bit, we decided we were in South Sioux City, and that we needed to resupply our grub at the next supermarket. So we opted to head up a major through way to see if we could find something. On the way, we had to stop for the passage of a rather long freight train. Troy was nonplussed. After the train went by, we got to a grocery store within a few blocks.
After resupply, I was getting mounted up and as I started rolling away, I noted a fine looking lass at the vending machines, so I impersonated Butthead, from the then popular "Beavis and Butthead Show", and spouted out, " Hey Baby! uhh....heh heh!" To which a flabbergasted Ryan responded with a burst of laughter. This started a theme for the rest of the trip: Comedic relief, which would rear it's head at the oddest of times.
It was amazing that I could wake up a day after nearly having died from heat stroke and pedal as hard as we did through Sioux City. The stop in Moville at the laundry was probably helpful in that way, but we literally were riding fully loaded touring bikes like we weren't loaded up in a desperate move to avoid becoming fodder for a 18 wheeler's crushing weight. Not to mention the various speeding cars and smaller trucks.
The escape from the Sioux City area seemed nigh unto impossible, and that train, the grocery store stop, and unsure route finding made things worse. We finally got out of there though, and the absurdity of our situation probably accounted for my outburst when I saw the pretty young lady. I didn't mention it in the original posting, but Troy was embarrassed by my remark, despite his thinking it was funny. This would continue all throughout the rest of the tour at random times- either Ryan or myself would make some off-hand commentary or impersonation which would help us to blow off steam and made the trip a lot easier to bear.
Next: Time Trial On A Touring Bike