September 19, 2008
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Been thinking about one of the greatest rides I ever rode. Newton to Grinnell on a beautiful September night. Perfect weather, perfect riding partners, perfect attitude. Bad new resurfaced road and a giant blood red harvest moon plus a destination of all encompassing awesomeness. We had loaded touring bikes and no cares in the world.
Long day at work until I could throw the 520 in back of the F150 and drive to Altoona and pick up Eric Crabb and his 520. Then the drive to Newton to Shawn's house where we unloaded and took off on bikes. Well, sat around and drank beer and then left for a bar. Someone else whose name escapes me joined us. He had a Cannondale racer pulling a Bob Trailer. IIRC Shawn's parents owned the bar and he had a shedload of drink tickets.
After nearly consuming our fill and making sure it was dark out, we headed out for the road. A quick stop at a big box store for batteries for the CycleSound and to adjust the front pannier that fell off my bike were the only delays. Crabby was very concerned about the pannier since a similar incident nearly killed him.
Finally we hit highway 6. The road was just resurfaced and striped. Smooth black asphalt and fresh painted lines all illuminated by a giant red/orange moon. Picture perfect!. Smoke from a bonfire drifted occasionally across the highway adding to the mood. Autumn in Iowa on an empty highway. Does not get much better than this for a night ride.
Barely 3 miles out of town, on top of a hill Shawn and Eric pull off at the farm house that was the source of the bonfire. "We know the people that used to live here," said Shawn. "I bet these people party, too. We stopped here last year."
Well we did not know these people, two young men throwing logs into a large fire but they did not mind us dropping in and sharing a beer or two. They gave us a bag of jerky before we left. Two or three beer stop. Eventually we resumed eastward.
Just an empty highway lit up by a giant moon. Our next stop would be in Kellogg. I think we hit both bars but preferred the one lower on the hill. Only stayed for two and then walked out to the bikes and had a bike beer. Just as we were leaving a local hippy chick with an old man walked past and flashed us her boobies as she bid us farewell. She had been friendly to us when we were inside. I wont be too descriptive but Crabby put it best when he said "it was like two pepperonis and some bacon."
Back on the road was good riding until I noticed that the ass end of my bike felt a bit loose on curves. Sure enough I had a flat tire. Everyone stopped and opened a beer. The dude with the Cannondale and Bob produced a floor pump. Wow, that saved time. Two beers and we were rolling again. Never ever put 28s on a touring bike. 32s are much better.
Oakland Acres was the next stop. I have a fondness for this place dated back to The Ragbrai 1991. That was my first Ragbrai. Somehow this golf course is noted on Iowa maps as a town. We sat in parked golf carts and Shawn poured us Moscow Mules. We were almost to Grinnell. Like an idiot I left the copper cup Shawn loaned me on the golf cart. Fortunately, it was still there when we rode back in the morning.
Eventually we reached Grinnell and the park where people were staying for the Fall Equinox Ride. IIRC, Human Bike In and Fall Equinox Ride all blend together, Stretch was still awake. We must have rolled in at 1 am. Sleep was not on our agenda at that moment. Set up tent and have another beer among friends in preparation for tomorrow's adventure. It would be another great ride but as they say the journey is the best part.
Crabby, get your fat ass back on your bike. We need to do things like this again.