The weather was threatening when we woke up, so we quickly packed up our tent and got our gear loaded onto the baggage truck. Our first stop of the day was the cafeteria for breakfast. During breakfast, the first hints of rain fell. We were glad to have our rain gear with us.
Just as we left for breakfast, the rain started to fall, and gradually got heavier. Becky always hates riding in the rain – but this really wasn’t that bad. It was cool enough that we were happy to have rain jackets on. Even when our jackets were soaked through we stayed comfortably warm, and didn’t cool down too much when we stopped. We felt sorry for the folks without rain gear, seeing goosebumps on their bare skin, but fortunately it wasn’t like rain at RCLT. Warm enough that there was no risk of hypothermia here!
We stopped briefly for lunch (a hot dog) at a stand set up in at a farmhouse at a turn in our route. The barn was full of vehicles, but in every empty space there were cyclists crammed in trying to avoid the down-pouring rain. We didn’t mind the rain on us so much (thanks raingear!), but we didn’t really want our hot dog buns to get soaked before we could gobble them down.
Becky went in search of a quiet corn field to pee, and encountered the wrath of a grumpy lady who complained that cyclists had spent “the entire morning peeing on her property”. Given that this lady had provided her property to serve (and sell food), we’re not sure what she expected. (Perhaps the food folks should have provided more than two porta-potties?) In any case, we’re confident that the heavy rain diluted any urine left behind by the cyclists before it could become a problem. We’re happy to report that she was the only grumpy local we met on our entire trip!
By early afternoon we were getting hungry again. We saw a sign advertising smoked chicken and baked beans – it was the beans that drew us in – we both agreed to pull over for a snack. It was a small vendor with a covered seating area and just as we sat down the rain stopped. We enjoyed one of our best meals of the trip – perfectly smoked BBQ chicken and a plate of beans – yum.
We hopped back on the bikes but didn’t ride for long before we heard the screams of pie and soft ice cream – it was the soft ice cream that had Becky hooked. We pulled over for a snack as the temperatures were heating up.
We moved quite quickly for the first 80 km of the day, but when the sun came out, it seemed that our last 20 km involved constant stops!
Manchester, the overnight town, had experienced major flooding that week (the levy broke and a lot of the downtown was under water for several days, just 5 days before we arrived). There were questions all week whether everything would dry out enough for us to camp there, but luckily it did. We talked to some people who stayed indoors in Waterloo until almost noon, and they didn’t feel a drop of rain all day. We have memories of rain and garbage-bag-clad cyclists though, which they missed out on.
We were camped up on dry ground at the ball diamonds. The campsite was nice, but there were limited washrooms for the number of people. By 11 pm, the two flush toilets were experiencing sewer backup. We guess that with all the flooding, the septic system couldn’t handle the volume. Becky had not figured out the location of the kybos (porta-potties) before going to bed, so at 1 am when she awoke, she found herself wandering around a parking lot full of RVs. She had clearly taken a wrong turn as there were no kybos in sight. She saw some people sitting under the awning of a giant RV enjoying a beer.
“Do you know where the kybos are? I’ve been wondering around and am clearly lost.” Said Becky.
“Just go in the door, take a left, and its the first door on the left.” Said the man.
“Are you sure that’s Ok?” Becky asked.
“Yes, no problem.”
So, Becky opens the door to the RV. As she enters the man adds “If you see a naked guy in there, just tell him I sent you.”
Of course, by then she REALLY needed to pee, so she stepped in, said hello the guy in his underwear that was crawling into bed, and used their facilities. Afterwards, she thought, “what an odd RAGBRAI experience!” …
When Becky awoke again needing the Kybos, Scott offered to come and direct her. Amazing how much easier they are to find when you know where they are!
RAGBRAI TIP – Learn where the Kybos are BEFORE it gets dark!
A really wet Scott and Becky!
- Waterloo to Manchester (PDF route map).
- Reported as 61.6 miles (99 km).
- Scott rode 111 km to campsite.
- Ride time: 6 h.
- Total Scott: 714 km, Total Becky: 664 km.
- Costs: $52 food