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scrottie and I made it back to the home base in CA on Friday, after a solid 11 days of traveling for me. I don't know that I'll do a detailed blow-by-blow chronological recounting of our various adventures, but here are some initial thoughts and memorable moments. Also, a photo album with descriptions under the pictures.

We participated in the final two days of RAGBRAI, first from Ottumwa to Washington, then Washington to Muscatine a week from Saturday. We reached Muscatine in the early afternoon, with enough time to watch people wade into the Mississippi River and hoist their bikes over their heads for a victory photograph. Then we had some food and drinks at Contrary Brewing's brewpub while waiting out some of the afternoon heat and sun, pointed our bikes west, and pedaled back to Washington Saturday evening. Sunday evening, we made it back to Princess TinyHouse, parked in Ottumwa, IA. Monday, we drove from Ottumwa to Lincoln, and spent the evening and following morning catching up with my old boss and his family. Tuesday morning, we parked Princess TinyHouse and picked up a rental car, which we drove to Denver to visit with A and meet S. We spent a good part of Wednesday around Denver, then carried on to Fruita overnight. From Fruita, we took I-70 over to Highway 50, the Loneliest Road in America, and crossed mountain passes and desert valleys all the way out to Austin, Nevada, where we soaked in Spencer Hot Springs and flopped out for a nap in the scrub desert. On our last day, we reconnected with I-80 just outside of Reno and made it back to the house by midafternoon Friday.

They call RAGBRAI "Woodstock on Wheels." Overall, I found it to be more pleasant than the Seattle-to-Portland, for multiple reasons. For one thing, certain groups leapfrog along the route to sell foods and beverages to the riders. We appreciated the Iowa Craft Brewing tent in particular, although on a warm afternoon the hand-churned ice cream also hit the spot. For another thing, the distances are gentler on RAGBRAI, so it encourages riders with a broader range of aptitudes. Then there are the friendly people in the small towns, who pull out all the stops.

Originally, we had planned to roadtrip back to California in Princess TinyHouse, but as he thought things over, scrottie decided it would probably be best to keep her in the Midwest, where storage is more affordable/less risky and from where he would be in a better position to bring her up to his mother's mechanic in Minneapolis. We considered various different options for the return trip, and eventually settled on renting a car to roadtrip back. That made for a lot of driving on my part, mostly counterbalanced by the fact that we took a different route from when we drove the moving truck out from Nebraska to California.

I don't know if I'll ever take the same route again, along Highway 50, but I'm so very glad that we went that way this time. It evoked some of the sense that I get during visits to Montana, that whole "big sky and wide-open spaces" sensation, and I was also deeply happy to see more of the wild and crazy geology in Utah. If you ever have a chance, I highly recommend the drive along Highway 50.

And now, back to the lab.

Also, the Jolly Roger feels super light and responsive after riding around with a full load for touring for a couple of days. Which is hilarious when you consider that it weighs at least 40 pounds unloaded.


( 1 remark — Remark )
Aug. 9th, 2016 04:07 am (UTC)
Random small world coincidence: one of my friends grew up in Muscatine.
( 1 remark — Remark )

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