Sunday, November 27, 2022

The GTDRI Stories: A Year With No Summer

T.I.v4 pre-race: Steve Fuller is to my right here.
"The GTDRI Stories" is a series telling the history, untold tales, and showing the sights from the run of Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitationals. This series will run on Sundays. Thanks for reading!

During Trans Iowa v4, I had a request from one of the early readers of this blog, Steve Fuller, to allow him to be a volunteer for Trans Iowa that year. Steve brought a laptop computer and tabulated results for me, which was an unprecedented thing for Trans Iowa. So fancy! But the important thing for this story is that this is how I began my friendship with Steve. 

Once the time came up to do the GTDRI again, I was contacted by Steve as he wanted to come through from Des Moines, pick me up, and head on North to Echo Valley State Park for the ride that year. It had been an oddly cool, overcast year for the most part, and "Summer", at least how we understood that season in Iowa, seemed a whole lot more like Spring. 

This meant that for the camp-out, I had to bring some warm clothes because it was supposed to dip down into the 40's at night, an unprecedented cool overnight temperature for July in Iowa. Steve came through and picked me up at around 5:00pm on July 19th, a Friday, and we headed up HWY 63, which was under construction or repair at that time. The right lanes of the 4 lane highway were blocked off for some reason. 

This meant that we were stuck behind slower vehicles with no way to pass. At that time Steve was following a pick-up truck pulling a utility trailer with a brand new mattress on it. The mattress was unsecured. You guessed it......the mattress flipped up into the air! We watched it sail off into the blocked off lane, skid down the pavement, and stop. We slowed down as the vehicle towing the trailer noticed the issue and stopped in the right lane. We pulled over to assist if we could. 

While that scare was no big deal in the end, it turned out to be the highlight of the trip up. Which was a good thing, you know. We had enough excitement for one trip! Now it was time to set up camp and get a fire going as it was cooling off in a hurry already as the Sun was going down in the West.

It was hard to get a good fire going until David Pals showed up with some real campfire wood!

Once again, I fell into the trap of having a few too many beers before bed and a big ride the next day. But these were rare occasions and prudence wasn't a part of the plan. Having camaraderie and conversations was the thing for me. I did not get to experience such things often in life and I wasn't going to miss any opportunity. 

I remember having a conversation with David Pals later on in the evening where we both agreed that we needed to move the socializing to after the event and maybe then we'd actually have a decent start to the ride. Ha! It would take many years for that idea to work itself out. 

I ended up spending my time talking with then co-worker, Craig Severson, until the wee hours of the night. This was going to put me in a bind as far as riding, but as I said, I knew these times were precious then, and since then, I've only been proven correct on that point. 

Next: The Fourth GTDRI

1 comment:

john said...

Nice to hear about the real reason for the camp out.