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Saturday, July 21, 2007


The RAGBRAI’ers have arrived.  We caught the town shuttle for a ride to Ride Right, First Time Rider, and Vehicle Support presentations.  Shuttle dumped us off half way and told us to catch the North Shuttle for another buck to get to the Expo area where the presentations were being held.  Decided to hoof it as the shuttle air-conditioning was not on and it was HOT!  

Ate lasagna dinner at the Lutheran Church after waiting in line for an hour. Decided we would rank our dinners from 1-10 throughout the week, with 10 being excellent….gave this dinner a #1. 

Dipped our back tires in the Rock River that flows to the Missouri River.  Enjoyed watching the fireflies flitting around at dusk.  Ready to Ride!!!

dipping tire
Traditional dipping of rear tire in 'Missouri River'
aka Rock River
Largest steer head in South Dakota, I-90

Friday, July 20, 2007


Checked out of motel at 11:00 a.m. after spending the morning uploading our travels on the computer after finding WI-FI, finally.  Saw the Corn Palace www.cornpalace.com .  Stopped by Cabella’s, www.cabelas.com,  big time hunting store for real men of the midwest, here in Mitchell, S.D.  Had lunch, including regional cheese curds, stocked up on essentials and hit the road finally by 2:00 p.m. 

  corn palace

By 4:30 p.m. we arrived to our destination and scouted the entire town.  At 4:35 p.m. we were setting up camp.

Met Fit and Fat as they were riding into camp from Oregon (they live in Sacramento).  We have been following their travels on www.crazyguyonabike.com so it was exciting to actually meet them in person. They posted a picture of us on their journal at this site http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=QzzM&page_id=59105&v=2q

Enjoyed a great meal with the locals and other bicyclists at the Sportsman’s Lounge. Great food, great prices….we’re moving to Iowa.


All afternoon we enjoyed watching the locals cruising through the campground watching us with the three generations of family in the car taking in the action.  We pulled our chairs next to the road and watched the watchers.  We felt like celebrities.

  lady's art

We are camping by the beautiful Rock River, weather is great, dozed off to the unmuffled drag boat engines racing nearby.

Ed & Helen
  Rock River

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Breakfast at West Side Café and by 8:00 a.m. we were heading
north on Hwy 25 out of Casper to hook up with I-90 to our destination tonight in Mitchell, South Dakota.  Started the day off tired as no one slept well.

Stopped for gas in Buffalo, WY and Bill bought some elk and buffalo jerky and agreed that it was very tasty. Took a small detour to Deadwood to show Bill the start of the Mickelson Trail  http://www.mickelsontrail.com and visited the nearby bicycle shop to ask about services along the 108 mile trail through the Black Hills.

Ed & Helen
  Bill at Mickleson

Enjoyed lunch at the Iron Horse Cafe where loose change managed to get swallowed up in the slots and enjoyed Buffalo Burgers. Ask us about the strange behavior of the couple seated nearby.  They kept staring at us, like we were from...uh, California. We thought they were going to rob the place, but then we were in the wild west, er, east, and home of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane.

Deadwood, SD
Bill's breakfast company at West Side Cafe, Casper, WY
Tourist town full of retirees, Deadwood, SD
Then on to Sturgis where the guys enjoyed perusing through souvenirs.  City is busy preparing for their upcoming 67th annual motorcycle rally in early August.   Did a quick drive by of Wall Drug and then on to the very scenic Badlands Loop.

Arrived in Mitchell approx. 10:00 p.m. and checked into the Best Western where Ed had reserved a room earlier in the day thanks to Bill’s insistence.  Good thing as the Corn Palace is having a rodeo this weekend.  We will be in Rock Rapids, Iowa tomorrow!!!  Hope to get a good night sleep. 

Finally we have internet connection in our room so tomorrow morning will upload our daily journal and pictures and hopefully we will be able to upload on daily basis throughout RAGBRAI. 

We have enjoyed all the e-mails.

Update Friday morning:  Sitting in Bill’s cooler room editing as our room is stifling.  Will be heading off to drive by the Corn Palace in Mitchell and Ed’s favorite store, Cabela’s.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007 


Late start today.  Began with Bloody Mary’s at the casino bar….grabbed a quick breakfast and on the road by 10:00 a.m. across the salt flats to Salt Lake City.   Safely made it up Parley Pass and into Wyoming.  Entertained for some time by lightning and then a down pour which was not so entertaining.  Rain was behind us by the time we stopped for lunch in Rock Springs, WY about
3 p.m.  Decided to head north from Rawlins on Hwy 220 to Casper for the night.  Antelope everywhere along the roadside….not as lovely as they are in the Fall as their coats are molting.  Passed the first bicyclist tourist of the trip (trike bike with panniers) on Hwy 220, also known as the scenic Joseph Washakie Trail.  Temp. around 97 degrees. Felt sorry for him in the heat, then remembered we will be riding across Iowa next week.  Guess I can’t draw a comparison since we will have pies and root beer floats available every few miles. Took in some sites….pictures below.

  devil's gate

Arrived in Casper and headed to the Best Western to get a room.  Oh, oh!  Not only no rooms but receptionist said there was only one motel (out of 39 in town according to GPS) that still had rooms available.  It was the very old looking motel that we had passed on the outskirts of town.  Bill asked, “What’s going on in town.”  Front desk, “Just Casper in the summer”.  We really weren’t up to driving another two hours to Gillette so headed back to the old motel.  Lots of rooms available….good news?  Checked in at 8:00 p.m.  If you are ever in Casper, WY check out the old West Side Motel; $59/night.  For dinner we all enjoyed Bill's Golden Delicious apples that he picked up during our stop at Albertsons for a Starbucks at the top of Parley Pass in Utah.

Bill has suggested we consider making room reservations for tomorrow night.   Sounds like a good idea!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Picked Bill up approx. 6:30 a.m. and headed for Wendover, Ut. via I-80. As we approached Reno we noticed the haze in the sky from heavy smoke due to fires in nearby hills. Since it was already 11:30 a.m. we stopped for lunch and also filled up with gas.  Wiped the smoke soot off the outdoor table and chairs, gobbled our sandwiches, and quickly got on our way.  Didn’t want all that smoke in our lungs before our big ride.

We continued to see smoke in the hills as we traveled along I-80.  Sign on the road in the middle of nowhere, “Fire Event 57 miles ahead; take alternate route. Event?  Made a mental note to ask our CDF neighbor about wording.  We continue on.

As we approach the town of Battle Mtn. all of the traffic on I-80 is stopped!  How can this be; it’s Eishenhower’s Great Highway across the Nation, a main artery.  Now what!

We are lucky to get off I-80 and ask a local if they know what is going on.  Told I-80 was closed, yes CLOSED, due to fire and prediction is that it could be closed for at least 8 or 9 hours, maybe all day tomorrow.  Alternative is to stay put in Battle Mtn. and wait it out….we drove through town and noticed two rinky dink motels and a fast food restaurant and since it was only 3:30 p.m. decided to top off the gas tank and take option B…..drive south and connect to Hwy. 50, described by Life magazine in June 1986 as the “Loneliest Road in America”.  Life also recommended that drivers have “survival skills” to travel the route.  Good thing Bill brought along an apple we could share and we had plenty of water.  Cell service was iffy

Drove by the Pony Express Trail on Hwy. 305 but didn’t stop to look around as fires were all around us.  After 87 miles of thrilling riding we finally reached the “Loneliest Hwy”.  Stopped for lunch in Eureka and then decided we would spend the night in Ely, NV instead of Wendover, UT.  Checked with every motel in Ely around 9:00 p.m.; no rooms!  Finally, found a shady looking motel that had one room with two beds.  Bill and I decided we better have a look-see before plunking down our credit cards.  Quickly agreed, “No Way”, would rather pitch a tent in a ditch then pay $65.00 for a disgustingly filthy room.  So 9:00 p.m. headed to Wendover, UT.  Got a room at midnight at the Rainbow Casino for $55.00.  Huge room, clean, very nice and such a deal!

The weatherman on evening news station out of Salt Lake City is reporting that there will be “Possible fire activities tomorrow.”  Where?  What kind of activities?  Mental note to ask CDF neighbor about “activities.”  Such non-pulsed language…..like, no big deal.  Hey, we are trying to get to RAGBRAI.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Counting down to RAGBRAI XXXV (www.ragbrai.com)

Greetings family and friends,

We hope you enjoy following our bicycle ride across Iowa during RAGBRAI.  Although you likely don’t get what RAGBRAI is all about…..the miles, the heat, the hordes of bicyclists (10,000/day), Iowa small towns, camping…..then there is the pie, the pork, corn on the cob, hamballs, walking tacos, the Iowan hospitality, Lance, and being surrounded by bicyclists who do ‘get it’.…..and it’s my (Helen) mother’s home state. 

RAGBRAI is the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa and the week of July 22nd through the 28th, always the last full week of July, will be RAGBRAI XXXV (they number them like the Super Bowl).  Last year was our first RAGBRAI and Ida Grove (hometown to my mom) was the second overnight town and where Aunt Barb (91 years young) still resides, so there are many memories.

This year my brother, Bill, has decided to join us.  He was in Iowa one summer as RAGBRAI was passing through and thought it looked like fun and that someday he, too, would like do the ride.  That “someday” is now since he recently retired.  Since February he has ridden more than 1000 miles on his bicycle training for RAGBRAI, including his Almaden Cycling Touring Club (www.actc.org) Academy rides.   To quote him, “Going through Academy was like being shot out of a cannon”.  He hadn’t been on a bicycle since he was a kid and within 12 weeks he was completing a 63 mile Graduation ride…..woo-hoo!!!


Please check back for updates and send your comments or questions to ed@es1digital.com
Ed will try to keep the computer running and the website up ….I just type.

Ed's tent
Bill's tent