From the Archive

Day #5 of RAGBRAI – Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids, IA – 85 miles

7/26/12 – Day #5 of RAGBRAI – Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids – 85 miles
(actually stayed in Fairfax, IA)

Randy and I got on the road into Marshalltown around 6:30 am, and stopped at the Tremont Cafe for breakfast. It was the first time since RAGBRAI started that I sat down and ate at a real restaurant. No wait lines and the best part was that they had really good coffee with free refills. Had a Belgian waffle with bacon and toast. We were on the road by 7:15 am and fully fueled for the first part of the ride.

It was overcast, and the forecast for the day was for cooler temperatures – meaning in the low to mid nineties. The first 50 miles or so were very pleasant, over rolling hills. As I was coming into the designated lunch town, I stopped to wait for Randy to see if he wanted to eat lunch. After 5 – 10 minutes, he still had not showed up. I racked my brain to try and figure out whether he might have passed me and I missed it. Since there was no cell service, I couldn’t call. I decided to wait 5 more minutes and then just proceed ahead on my own. Then I saw Randy approach. He looked a little traumatized, and proceeded to tell me that he had stopped to help a man named Glen who looked as if he were about to pass out.  Another woman with some EMT training stopped and said she thought Glen might be having a heart attack. Luckily, the woman knew what to do in the situation. Still, Randy was a little shaken. He suggested I say one of those prayers of blessing for Glen that we have frequently talked about. I have discussed this concept in earlier journal entries.

It seems like RAGBRAI is thinning out a little, although there are still thousands of riders. I am told that some people just come for a few days. Or maybe some are resting. I have also noticed that people aren’t quite as exuberant and boisterous as they were the first couple of days. I get the impression most are physically and mentally tired, as evidenced by more frequent accidents and people swerving over without looking. I know I am physically tired and find myself not thinking as clearly. You also frequently see glazed over looks sometimes when you ask a question and the response doesn’t match.  I am convinced that more than anything RAGBRAI is an endurance test for those that ride.

We moved on to Shellborne and stopped for lunch there. After Shellborne, there was only 20 or so miles left to Cedar Rapids. One of the scenes you frequently see are water hoses connected to fire hydrants so you can fill your water bottles. Attached is a picture of one of those stops.

To our delight, Beekman’s came up just after leaving Shellborne and we stopped for one of those root beer floats I am fast becoming addicted to. It was fabulous as usual.

By this time the sun was full out and it was quite hot, although not as hot as yesterday. Today was only in the low to mid-90’s. Still hot and this is day 5. The last few miles were uneventful. After yesterday’ s adventure with losing our way to the destination house, I had googled the address and we went directly to Barbie and Darrell’s house. No bonus miles today. In my head I could hear Phil from Amazing Race, “Kim & Randy, you are the first team to arrive. As the winners of this leg of the race…” I really do want to do Amazing Race. I found out that Carrie, one of the women in the group, really wants to do it also. She even recently tried unsuccessfully to talk her husband Mike into interviewing for the show. However, she said she would not be able to do the food challenges either. So, I am still looking for a suitable partner. Mike indicated that he would have no problem with the food challenges. I told him I thought he and Carrie would make a great team.

Upon our arrival at the house, we were warmly greeted by Barbie and her daughter Meg. Meg just returned from studying in Spain for 6 weeks, after which she spent a week in Paris and London. We sat down and visited a few minutes while we cooled down. Barbie had prepared a gorgeous spread of food. There was ham, a delicious potato dish, beans, chips and this wonderful hot chicken dip that was to die for. Also, fresh fruit, cold salad dishes, boiled eggs and wonderful desserts. I am leaving out some of the offerings, but these were some of my favorites. Barbie had obviously put a lot of time and effort into making this wonderful dinner for us, and I know everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

I again had the opportunity to take a wonderful hot shower before dinner. Also, Barbie told me that there was enough space (again) so that no one would have to camp out – I gave her a hug on that one! I came into RAGBRAI fully expecting to have to camp every night and eat what I could find. However, we have stayed with the most gracious hosts and, for the most part, the camping and eating have been a pleasant surprise.

Before dinner, I had the chance to talk with Meg in more detail about her summer in Spain. She enthusiastically told me about going to the beach, the lady she stayed with, and the opportunities she had to explore the area and learn about the culture. This past spring she had gone on a mission trip to Central America and enjoyed that also. I think she has the travel bug. She asked a lot of questions about the bike trip, although I don’t think travel by bike is part of the bug. We agreed that one of the things we have learned from traveling is how little you really need, and how much we have as Americans. We also talked about my theme for the bike trip, which is learning to be present in the moment to whatever is happening and recognizing when opportunities arise. Meg will be returning to Iowa State this fall  and plans to be an occupational therapist. She is a very personable and impressive young lady, and I think she will be successful in whatever endeavor she pursues. Attached is a picture of Meg at the table.

At another point in the evening, Barbie, Allison and I were discussing the best route to take in the morning to get back to RAGBRAI in Cedar Rapids. Then Barbie actually offered to drive and show us the route she suggested as best for biking. (I had a flashback to Tim at Motel Raine in Valentine). Yet another example of people’s kindness that makes me want to be more generous and kind in my dealings with others.

Tomorrow is only scheduled for approx. 50 miles. Should be a breeze after 3 consecutive 80 + mile days. Although I still don’t feel that it is likely I will become a  RAGBRAI regular, I have met some really nice people and have had some good experiences that I will take with me. My attitude is improving and I am glad I came.



  • Hi Kim! I spent part of yesterday reading all of your blog entries. What an amazing journey you are on! I think that seeing this wonderful country by bike sounds like an incredible way to experience the sites & people you meet along the way. It is too bad I am not in good shape or I might have to join you!! I’m so glad I got to meet you and I hope I was able to provide some comfort and “fuel” for your journey. Thank you for your kind words! Safe travels my new friend!! Barbie Landon

  • Hey girl!!! You are (were by the time you read this) in my home town–Cedar Rapids that is. I am so glad you are getting a good feel for my home state. When you were in Iowa City you were very close to Riverside, IA, Riverside is where most of my mama’s folks are from. Grandpa Charlie used to have an Ice cream shop there, and there was the “store.” We could go pick out our piece of candy. My great grandmother’s (maybe my Aunt Till”s?) house backed up to the school yard’s play ground and we’d go through the gate and keep ourselves occupied.

    You are doing so well with RAGBRAI — even though it is not your “cup of tea.” I’m so glad that you’ve hung in there to find the wonderful blessings that were waiting for you.

    Hugs sweetie!!! Love, Linda


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