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|Friday - Hiawatha to Maquoketa|
|Morning in Hiawatha
When Rick wakes up early today he decides to do some work. Time to cut off some miles. After pouring over the maps he comes up with taking the slightly busy highway. It will be dangerous, but it could cut off a dozen miles or so. A little tour through the Cedar Rapids suburbs was fine until Mother Nature started hating us. Rain, a little more rain, light gear falling off bike and crashing to pavement, steady rain, pouring rain.
Springville, Martelle, Morley, Olin
Time to add another town to our alternate route. Hello Springville, mind if we turn your car wash into our garage? A Kwik Shop is the ideal spot for some coffee, jerky and dry shirt buying. Time and the rain both disappear. We finally make it off the big highway and onto the smaller, no shoulder one. By the time we get to Martelle, Babs is there with a dry van. This was good since it decided to rain again. Eventually the clouds moved out and so did we. In a few short miles we rejoin the ride. What is all of that crap up and down everybody's backs. Not only did we miss about a dozen miles, we missed trudging through the a mile of mud. The alternate route wins again. Once in Olin, most of the team finds a bar while Rick finds a café with real food. Real hot food. Why are there so many tables open at the bar and so few at the diner? Oh that's right, we're with the "real" riders. We'll just have to stay long enough to let these losers vacate the town and our folks to populate it. A member of Team Pink Floyd tells us that they've been listening to our CD all week. Rick goes out to grab some backstage passes off his bike and he hears some familiar music in a very familiar order. Looking up he sees the Pink Floyd bus ahead and sure enough they are listening to our CD all week. Back in the bar the crowd is staring to look more like our crowd. Just what does S.N.I.F.F. mean? Since they won't tell us we came up with the following:
Is that Brad from Echo Farm? He finally found the time to make the ride after being a talker for years. Rick plans on playing a little of his former band's music once they hit the road.
Hale, Oxford Junction, Lost Nation, Elwood
The trip to Oxford Junction goes quickly by and like clockwork, Babs has the place scouted. There is wireless internet access somewhere. Why can't we find it? We might make it an entire week cut off from the outside world. Our little corner of town that we claimed proved to be popular with a young local, Dylan. His little bike has some problems that Rick attempts to fix. Once he is able, Dylan races everyone into town. Kids never run out of energy. We're sure that he was just trying to charm the team's hotties. (FYI: TeaMartini is stocked only by hotties.) Just down the road from us is that team with the shitty music. Steve, Laurie and Heidi seem to forget how bad their music is when they are getting shots poured down their gullets. On the way out of town we run into Chickenman and some Die Hards. Where have these guys been keeping themselves? We will have a few in the next town. Keeping true to his word, he has an Echo Farm song ready for Brad the bassist just outside of Lost Nation. It was there in Lost Nation that most of the rogues found each other. Was that Johnny Paco? Twice in one week. Just about the whole Die Hard squad is here. Their plans are to end the ride in Lost Nation tonight and they would love for us to join them. Very tempting. Rick inquires about an old classmate of his that now lives in town. Some of the beer folk know of the Ritterbush, but none have seen him. We also can't get ahold of Babs on her cell. Hope her roaming charges don't get to be too much. Well, we'll have to get to Maquoketa tonight. Just one more beer with our good friends. And then one more. Now let's see if Heidi can show off her beer can disposal trick. Can her former RAGBRAI husband duplicate the feat? Maybe that's why the union failed. Elwood was good enough to change the iPod set list, but that's about it. We saw locals having a cold one, but no one pulled us in with the magic word: free.
We get into Maquoketa late and find Babs. She finds us a house, but she is only going to offer us the back yard. No indoor facilities. At least we have a park next door. Why can't we find Anna-Banana's/A-spot J-spot's mother? City Girl surprises all and has glowing gifts for all. Rick opts to not set up his tent and just inflates the air mattress on the cement slab. At least our host will let us steal electricity to charge batteries. One night without showering will be okay. Unless your name is Rick. He heads off to find cleanliness; the others to find drunkenness. The school has some shower trucks out back, but they turned off the heaters. They should still be okay. That should be gauged on whether or not the showering subject is warm- or cold-blooded. Once Rick is deloused he makes the trek into town to find the others. Upstairs in a bar with an unmanned back door, Todd (with his found wallet) and Guinness. It's getting a bit to crowded and the waitress, as Mensa-ish as she is, just can't seem to make it to our end of the bar. A quick walk up through food alley (no one wants to haggle) nets some sustainance so that the team can make it to the next bar, wherever that may be. Babs decides to call it a night and makes the long walk back. The team should note that Barb is tired and needs some sleep. A few queries later the remaining team finds the only other bar in town. It appears that the entire ride has decided to make this their watering hold for the night. It takes about forever for Steve to get served, so he opts for the walking 12-pack. City Girl is getting really drunk. We better get a move on before we all start wanting to hear BTO. Some smart entrepreneurial mom set up a taxi service for the riders. Good idea, provide reasonably priced transportation all night long for those who have been drinking (they tip better). Bad idea, not knowing the town as well as a guy who just arrived there that night. Another bad idea, saying "fuck" tons of times in front of your 12-year old son. Having an SUV which door closed all the way is also a good idea. Back at the camp a little late-night conversation is in order. Try to keep it down to a roar. Remember, Babs is trying to get some sleep. Try as she might, Heidi's dancing routine can't help but bring belly laughs. Rick finds sleep on his open-air bed as the others continue their slow decent into an all-nighter.