I spent the night in a hotel near O'Hare airport. The organizers were adamant that the bus would leave Niles at 6 am and not wait for latecomers. I set two alarms just to make sure I woke up on time, and went to bed at a reasonable hour.
At 12:30 I awoke to the sound of thunder and stayed that way as the entire region was pummeled with storms for over 2 hours. I finally got back to sleep but the alarm still woke me before 5. I got ready and called the front desk for a cab. But when I got to the front they told me the cab was not there yet due to flooding. I waited 20 minutes before one was finally able to get through. My cabbie was an interesting fellow with some very colorful language, but he got me to the bus with 5 minutes to spare. As it turned out, the organizers did wait for latecomers as some folks were having difficulty getting there. Some roads were completely flooded out.
We are on our way now, somewhere in western Illinois. I see another thunderstorm in front of us and I sincerely hope they all stay away from Iowa. I am sitting next to a sheet metal worker who retired in May and has ridden 2000 miles since. He is ready for RAGBRAI. With my 600 miles I feel inadequate.