Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day 1: Glenwood to Shenandoah

I hit the road at 6:30 and headed out of Glenwood under mostly sunny skies. It was great to be back on ragbrai. We had the road to ourselves for the first 10 miles but then we got put on to a state highway with a fair amount of car traffic. This was a bit of a surprise, especially in southwestern Iowa. It was only a 2 lane road so when the cars started backing up from the bike traffic, the bikes behind the cars spread out to the left lane. That worked great until the oncoming traffic arrived. Then we all tried to squeeze between the two lanes. Cyclists that would normally take up more than one lane width tried to fit in to a space that barely allowed one bike across. It was kinda scary going for awhile.

We eventually turned off that road and headed towards our first pass-thru town, Malvern. We had to walk downhill to the main part of town (understandable) then enjoyed their hospitality. I met one little girl who was not riding, but was there awed to see so many cyclists. She seemed like she wanted to ask me something so i said "do you want to ask me a question?" She continued to look at me dumbstruck and her mother said "its so funny because she had a ton of questions a minute ago."  I finally coaxed a question out of her and that seemed to break the ice. Then she got talkative!

On the next section of road, ragbrai designated a section as the "mile of silence" to pay tribute to all the cyclists who have died this year in accidents with automobiles. Everyone rode quietly through the stretch. It was a very nice touch and a good way to honor those victims. There were signs during the mile with various facts and other information.

In the next town, Tabor, i met a woman (not riding) who was waiting for her family to show up. Her young daughter was on the back of a tandem with dad, while her older son was on his own bike. The mom said she figured her daughter would be "done" by that point (25 miles in to the ride). I didn't stay long enough to see the family arrive, so I don't know the outcome. From there I moved on to the town square to grab a bite to eat.  They featured an inflatable waterslide as well as "chicken poop bingo." Yes that is pretty much what it sounds like: wait for a chicken to drop something on your number. While eating lunch i overheard a family conversation with a dad and his two daughters, the older was probably 14 or so. They were discussing today's "gravel loop" which was an optional section of the route that was partly on gravel roads. The dad and the younger daughter wanted to ride it, but the older daughter clearly did not. As a way to encourage her to get on board the dad said "but if you don't go you will miss the town of Imogen. Her response was "DAD, they don't put towns on gravel roads!"

I didn't spend much time in the third town, Randolph, but quickly started the last stretch of 17 miles in to Shenandoah. It was nearly noon and was getting hot! I couldn't do the whole section in one stretch like i had hoped, and I had to take a break partway due to the heat. Finally arrived in Shenandoah and found the campsite. It was a successful 50 mile day.

Tomorrow's ride is much longer and a bit more challenging.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Headed to RAGBRAI

After a few years away from the blog, I am back. And I am getting ready to ride RAGBRAI once again. Look for daily posts here as I ride the roads across southern Iowa and soak in the hospitality of the midwest. You will also be able to track me on my ride by visiting my personal tracking site: We start early Sunday morning in Glenwood. See you there!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Flirting with a Nor'easter

Last weekend we wanted to visit someone in Lexington, KY. This was a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the freedom and flexibility that personal airplane travel offers. Rather than spend 5½ hours in a car, we fly for 1:45 and spend a little more time driving to and from airports.

As the week last week progressed, the weather got cloudy. Disappointing to some, this can be very exciting for an instrument rated pilot ("oh boy we get to fly in the clouds!"). Saturday dawned with a great deal of promise. Low ceilings and lots of clouds dominated the area along our route. I might get a whole bunch of cloud time. I checked the weather and saw that a cold front was draped across our route, but it didn't look like it was generating any severe weather. What I didn't see was the early stages of a Nor'easter.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Back in the Saddle

This year my riding season started late. Through a combination of weather and life factors I was unable to get the bicycle back on the road until the 16th of March. My original intent was to restart my Monday evening Silver Comet rides the day after we changed back to daylight savings time (the 12th) but the weather had other plans. After an initial Friday morning ride on the 16th I got out again on the 17th and was able to do my first Monday evening ride on the 19th. 3 out of 4 days riding was a good way to jumpstart the season.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weekend Trip to Florida

I probably fly to Clearwater, Florida more often than anywhere else. It helps to have relatives in the area, and it helps that I can fly in to a small airport just 20 minutes from their house. Last week my daughter had some time off school so it was a good time to make the trip and spend a few days in sunny Florida with the family.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Theater Connections

It didn't take long after we first opened the theater before one of our children asked if she could connect her game console to it. This was such a great idea that I immediately came up with a plan to make it happen. The cabinets at the front of the theater have three compartments. One is used by the subwoofer and another by the center speaker. That left one position open for a game console, and the obvious choice for adding external connections to the theater.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Theater Thoughts: Making it Better

I haven't posted an update about the theater in quite some time. We have been enjoying our home theater with both new and old titles. The Roku has provided us with access to the Netflix streaming library, and we have been watching TV shows as well as movies. But I still feel like the room is only about 90% done. There are a handful of nagging little things that can make the space even better, and I obsess about these changes constantly