|Good people, blue skies, and a ribbon of gravel road- What could be better?|
So we rolled out of Wadena on Herriman Street. I noted the spot where I had seen Ira Ryan and Brian Hannon ride by me during Trans Iowa V3. I also noted the road that the old Trans Iowa route took off across the Volga River over a cool, old steel gabled bridge. I mentioned it to Tony, and he said he knew of it. He is a pretty well traveled Iowan, when it comes to the rural areas.
So, we headed North. I'm pretty sure T.I.V4 came down this road towards Wadena, and I was thinking a lot about that too. These roads are like old friends to me, sometimes. Well.....maybe more like old memory reminders. Anyway, I didn't dwell on that too long, as there were hills to climb and people to chat with. I found myself riding with Derek a bit through here, and Jeremy, of course. Jeremy, who rode with me at Odin's, and had been on the GTDRI the previous year, was determined to see this course completed and to see me do that as well. Sort of making a statement against what had happened last year, I guess. At least I was feeling like that was part of our determination to get this knocked out with no questions.
|Any place that was shaded became a coveted riding line. Any respite from the heat was appreciated!|
This was the beginning of our "river bottoms" portion of the ride, and was a good section to get in some miles and see scenery before we reached Elkader, ate lunch, and really threw ourselves into the teeth of the lions! Those would be some brutal hills, but for now it was about having fun and riding bicycles without a care in the world. At least, I tried not to think too much about what had happened to my money.
|We drafted this combine into Elgin, Iowa.|
|Two by two along the Turkey River just Southeast of Elgin, Iowa|
So we were cruising onward toward Elkader, and suddenly Marty whoas up a bit. It appeared he had a phone call. My interest was piqued, sensing it may be news about my wallet and money. I soft pedaled and Derek slowed up with me, as we were chatting about Steb's Amusement and other such sundry Cedar Falls Iowa trivia as we rode. Eventually, Marty gets back up with us. Unfortunately, the news was not good. The Park personnel had cruised the lots and had seen no evidence of my belongings on any bumper. I kind of suspected that would be the answer. Marty apologized for being the bearer of bad news. But hey! It wasn't his fault at all.
|Joe flatted and Jeremy photobombed me!|
The others seemed to understand what was up and asked what the outcome was when we caught up to them. I relayed that it wasn't good news, and then they all tried to encourage me with thoughts of good people doing the right thing, which was really appreciated, but ya know..... In my heart I figured it was a done deal. I texted my wife when I heard a text come in from her, signalling me that I had a good signal. (Or something like that!) Anyway, I let her know she should cancel the cards and that the others were willing to cover me for the day on expenses.
On we went until Joe sat up and said, "I've got a flat!", along with a few other choice words. We yelled for those up ahead to stop, found some nice shady spots, and took our ease as Joe repaired his tire. Apparently Lance had Joe on the clock, because I heard Lance say "Six minutes and change....", and we were off again on our way to lunch. I needed lunch too, as I was getting quite hungry. Otherwise I was feeling great, and Jeremy was encouraging me all along.
|The policeman stopped the parade and waved us through!|
We parked in the shade of some low trees behind a building adjacent to 2Mit and I thought we would be eating 2Mit burgers but Lance suggested we try the local Irish themed pub and get a meal there in the coolness of their A/C. This sounded wonderful, as I was cooking in the now 90-ish degree heat. It was much warmer than the forecast led me to believe it would be! Air conditioning sounded heavenly. So we marched in, ordered, and waited way too long for our meals, but it was good stuff.
Then we reconnected with those who did have a 2Mit burger, got our stuff topped off- water, food, and whatever else needed attending to.....and what the heck! I pulled out a water bottle to get it filled up out of my Bike Bag Dude Chaff Bag, and saw something odd way down inside the bag at the bottom. I reached in, and pulled out my wallet and money! I payed Lance off for my lunch and Tony too! I was so happy to have that off my mind. I texted my wife the good news, and off we went........right into a parade! The parade had just begun, or so it would seem, since the fire engines typically lead off parades in Iowa, and they had just passed by. Suddenly, a gap in the parade line occurred and an officer waved us through. We waved to the onlookers as we hastily made our way up the street and to the gravel East of Elkader.
Next: Part 3- Slow Cooked