Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tour de Kota 2012: Day 2 Redemption

The first day kicked our asses.  There would be no drinking tonight.  If the wind would switch and come from the north we would be hosed AGAIN.  Brent Cohrs, blogger for ChicagoNow claims that the winds were steady at 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.  The first day there were moments that I thought that I had wasted $300 and a week of vacation to be here.   We refueled, rehydrated, recharged mobile phones and got to bed early.

Another night of poor sleep.  Too hot.  Up several times to check phone charge and visit the kybo.  But soon the wind seemed calm.  and then EVERY ALARM IN EVERY TENT WENT OFF AT 430 AM!!!  All at the same time.  I looked at the time and groaned.  Really?  This is a vacation.  62 miles.  No real need to leave so early unless the wind was from the north.  Since the much rumored storm never materialized the wind would be from the south.  8 hours total time max including stops.  I started the joke, "How do you know when it its 430 am on TdK??  Don't worry, you will find out!"

We had little choice but to get up.  My earplugs were buried and joe was nervous about the wind.  Before everything was put away two Christian kids pulled up in a golf cart to take our bags to the drop off.  Nice!

Mary and I consumed Powerbars and water for breakfast.  Easy to digest, just what we needed, no line and we paid for them a long time ago at 25 cents each at Hy Vee.  Donnie, Joe and Tom had the $5 breakfast sandwich and coffee.  Since they dress and pack faster than we do they were fed and ready to roll when we walked the bike up to the route.

The route was similar to Day One.  Opposite direction.  Instead of skirting the west of Sioux Falls we would do the east side.  North and east in steps.  Today we would cross the Sioux into Iowa for lunch and afterwards enter minnesota before turning west to Brandon, South Dakota.  Canton would be the first town on the route.  27 miles out but there would be stops at mile 14 and mile 21.

Only one I have seen.  Near Moe Land Lutheran Church, designated rest stop at mile 14

The ride to Canton was easy.  I lagged behind my friends.  I caught up with Harvey near this sign.  harvey was one of the bikers at the Monkey Bar.  Today he was having issues with a tire.  his bike was an old Gitane touring rig with gumwalled 27" tires.  Said he needed a pump but I think he needed a tube and possibly a tire.  None were found on my bike, just CO2 and a skinny tube.  I informed his support vehicle that he had a flat.  He was not far from help.

So far the road was flat thus far.  When we turned north small hills appeared.  Nothing to fret.  And when I was lamenting that I'd never hit 40+ mph this week I found my self doing 38 with a steep climb.  Newton Hills park with a Boy Scout reserve on the bottom.  At the top of the park I looked ahead and only saw the tops of trees.  Time to fly.  I got my 40 not once but twice on this curvey descent.  And to have my cake and eat it too, I did not have to climb anything afterwards.  Biker's paradise.  Soon we were in Canton.

A Powerbar does not last more than 27 miles so I hit the local gas station.  PumpNPac.  No relation to Kum&Go.  I bought a delicious breakfast burrito and a cherry pastry here and a liter of Mountain Dew.  Refuel.  While waiting for the restroom I noticed that there was a casino in this establishment.  Strange idea to this Iowa boy.  I did not enter.

Part of our week was these rest stops.  And when we would be ready to leave Tom would pull up on his recumbent.  I do not care what they say about 'bents being faster than upright bikes.  For every recumbent that passes me I pass 200 'bents.  Tom mentioned that his chain was skipping and Donnie found the culprit immediately.  His chain was falling apart.  An appropiate length of chain was removed and Tom was ready to roll again.

See how the chain is breaking.  Could have been nasty on the road at 40 mph.

We crossed into Iowa not long after this stop.  I noticed hills to our right and correctly assumed that it was part of a river valley.  But it was not until we turned east and crossed the Big Sioux that I knew for sure.  Once in Iowa I noticed 3 things that made my eyes swell up with pride for being back on home turf.  First there were hills.  Second, immediately after crossing the river there was a state park with a sign shaped like Iowa.  Third, a Jeep Grand Cheorkee got on the road, accelerated too quickly and had to brake heavily.  yes, this was Iowa!  Hills and asshole SUV drivers.  In South Dakota they practically drive in the ditch to keep away from bicycles.

Iowa, our liberties we prize, our flag we swiped from France.

Lunch today was provided by the Norvartis Company.  Located near Larchwood, Iowa, this pharmacutical business specializes in large animal medicine, the animals that we eat.  Our visit to their facility coincided with their company picnic.  Mary and I did not eat.  The PumpNPac breakfast was filling.  but I was thirsty so we headed into Larchwood proper.  had to go off route to the business district.

This one is for Craig Lein, photos in the Beer Cave.  Joe and Mary while we cooled off in Larchwood, Iowa.

Not a glamor shot.

A good place to cool down

Mary, Joe and I had one beer each.  The woman running the place allowed up to stay inside and drink at the table.  Nice!  Not sure how legal that was but better than standing outside drinking 16 oz of Miller Lite.  BTW, Larxhwood's Buweiser comes from Spenser, Iowa.  Next stop Minnesota.

Glad we rolled forward not to the right.  Just north of the Iowa border.

North of town we crossed state lines again.  Nothing big.  Barely a sign.  We would roll north until we hit a tire place where I bought a can of Dew and a bag of chips for a $1.  They had the cooler and shelving of a convenience store but sold tires instead.  I could hardly fathom how cheap that was.  But maybe because there was a large cross on the wall and "TO GOD BE THE GLORY."  I  could forgive them for not selling beer.

From there it was a 5 mile ride to Brandon, SD, at high speed.  Nothing to note but a large woman holding a sign  seeking riders to visit a waterslide in Valley Springs.  But we were cruising and almost to the overnight.

Brandon had us camp Mc Hardy Park down in the bottom.  Shuttle service to the high school for showers and later to Pizza Ranch for lunch.  Hours later Besty Hildreth, Joe's daughter, picked us up in a small Honda and took us to doug Hoff's house for a lasagne dinner and beer.  Two large meals today.  A good ride and a happy ending.  I was beginning to enjoy Tour de Kota.  Endure Dakota, heck, I was thriving!

All I really needed.  Shades, a map, a pint and a table to rest at and think things over.  Larchwood, Iowa.  What a shame the other TdK riders did not experience this.

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