Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 4: Boone to Altoona

It is hot in Iowa this week. Really hot. Very very hot. Almost as hot as Atlanta. Maybe even hotter. Did I mention it is hot?

At the beginning of the week I would get up and get moving at my leisure, usually getting on the road between 7 and 7:30. But this kept putting me out on the road in the heat of the day, struggling to finish. So last night I set everything out, woke up this morning at 5:15 and got out on the road by 6. This made a huge difference, and my ride was very enjoyable.

Today was flat and short, making it easy to get to Altoona before noon and the worst of the heat. We also had good cloud cover until about 10:30 and by then I was close to the end. It's a shame that I have to rush through the route to beat the heat, as there are plenty of interesting things to see in the towns along the way. But I minimized my stopping time to be done early.

Still, I saw an alpaca, a lady playing an electric piano outside (with a large fan keeping her cool), a Cessna airplane for sale, children throwing buckets of water on the riders, and a large model airplane flying over the route.

One thing that fascinates me as a bicyclist is the variety of cycles I have seen on the road. There are many recumbents, quite a few tandems, some recumbent tandems, some recumbent tricycles (usually called trikes to distinguish them from the child's toy), a triple tandem (3 seats), and even a 2-seater surrey. There was also a rider with two prosthetic legs on a recumbent that is powered with hands.

I even saw a bike that was a tandem with a recumbent seat up front and a regular seat in the back. I talked with the riders of this last bike for awhile. They tried a regular tandem and the wife hated it. The heavier rider has to be up front to improve stability, and life can get pretty boring for the woman stuck in back. But this tandem puts the lighter rider up front in a reclined position with the head in front of and below the other rider. This couple love the arrangement because she has a great view and they can easily talk to each other. I understand this is only made in one place in the world, and it takes a year to build one.

Tomorrow will be a bit longer and a bit hillier, and probably just as hot.


William Watson said...

I suspect you might have enough entertainment available, but if you want, you could probably make your way over to Adventureland, a family-run amusement park there in Altoona. It lies just south of I-80 and east of US 6, equivalently just south of Altoona's NW 9th Street and West of NW 25th Avenue. We've taken our niece and nephew there from their home in Oskaloosa.

wnl256 said...

We were actually camped very close to Adventureland. But it was hot and we were tired. I'm afraid the only thing we did that evening was to sit around and watch each other sweat, then walk to Jethro's BBQ for some air conditioned dinner.

wnl256 said...

I have cleaned up the extraneous markup in this post. The Android blogger app did something weird and inserted all of those for me. Sorry about that.