Karen, Rachel, Mike, Qing, Maddie, Meghan, Holly, Me, Britt, Lindsey and Brandon. (Jim is behind the camera)
This was at about 7:30 on Day 1 of the ride, on our way to the Dip-In site in Sioux City.
Oh, and we're the 2010 National Shake Weight Twirling Champions! See, we have a sign to prove it!
Qing and Jim were our support guys for the week - driving the RV to the meet-up town and then to the overnight towns, setting up camp, cooking, keeping coolers stocked w/ beer, etc., etc. Theirs was a thankless job and at times, I'm sure, quite boring. It would've been hell without those guys there. Thanks Jim & Qing!
Mike & Britt were the team captains and they did all the organizing work - getting our registrations in, renting the RV, figuring the budget, providing tips for packing and anything else. Note: if you ever do RAGBRAI, do it with someone whose been there/done that. Thanks Britt & Mike!
We all met up in Madison in the morning of Saturday, the 24th to load up a U-Haul and fill up the RV. Here we are trying to figure out how to pack the bikes so they didn't get all beat up on the trip from Madison to Sioux City.
From here, it turned out to be an 8-hr drive (about 420 mi), with a couple stops. A lot longer than we were planning for. Two of us were in the RV (Jim and Qing to start, Brandon and I to finish the trip), while the rest were in the RV. Brandon actually slept in the space above the driver in the RV for the first couple hours. It was nice spending time in the RV and getting to know everyone else a little. To me, it was pretty clear that political discussions were not going to raucous debates. We were of like minds.
On the way, we noticed a LOT of flooding in Iowa along the US 20 corridor. This pic was taken in Sac City on the Raccoon River, about 20 miles east of Sioux City.
The other thing I noticed - you couldn't help but notice - on the way was all the windmills. And not the old 19th century ones, the new tall modern 3-bladed ones. There are tons in western Iowa, which explains why I saw this headline in a Tweet: 20% of Iowa's in-state energy comes from wind technology, putting it #1.
We finally rolled into Sioux City at about 6:00 and spent another 45-60 minutes trying to find a place to set up camp. With 10,000 (or more?!?) people all setting up shop for the night, it was pretty crowded. We then set up camp and get the rides ready for the day ahead.
I ran over to meet up with Team LIVESTRONG to check in with them. Came back with some cool swag - a jersey, a cap and a messenger bag.
(And even after 2100 training miles, I'm still fat.)
Then it was time for dinner, a couple of beers and time to call it a night (at about 10:30-11:00). The plan was to be up at 6:00 and on the road at 7:00. Of course, at the end of the night, they had a fireworks display. We couldn't see it from where we were, but we could certainly hear it!
We ended up not going to the expo area or seeing Smash Mouth play. Actually, we didn't see any of the bands perform that week. (Smash Mouth and the Spin Doctors were the biggest names, so I'm not sure it was much of a loss.) I do wish we would've made the expo though. Some of the vendors did travel and there were mini-expos in each overnight town. Next year, maybe.
Next up: Day 1.