Sioux City, IA. Nowrthwestern Iowa, on the banks of the Missouri across from South Dakota.
After arriving Saturday evening, after a looooong day of driving, we set up camp, found some food, had a couple beers, and retired to the tents at about 10:30, with a plan to rise at 6:00 and hit the road by 7:00.
By 5:30 I could already hear other riders packing up their tents and getting ready for the road. We were next to a large group - I think they were with an agent because all 40-50 tents were identical. They were long gone by the time we were ready to roll and the support folks had half the camp packed up.
At 7:20, we started to meander over to the dip in site.
I had Mike take my pic:
We rode 68.5 miles, officially to end in Storm Lake.
Lots of rolling hills climbing out of the river valley. The first town, Leeds, was barely outside of SC. Just outside of Leeds was a right turn with a crossing over RR tracks. You had to stop and get off to cross them. 10,000 riders all stopping leads to this near Leeds:
As you can see, people of all shapes and sizes ride RAGBRAI.
From Leeds, it was on to Kingsley. You couldn't ride through town - any town - as it was a veritable traffic jam of bikes. You had to dismount - maybe grab a bite to eat or get a drink, have adjustments made to your ride, or just hang out with the locals - before you could continue on to the next town. It was that way in every town.
I passed through Washta, but did stop in Quimby. A bloody mary sounded good. And tasted great, too. They were serving them up in the Quimby Fire House. I ran into two guys from Minnesota there who were 10-15 years older than I. They invited me to join them, as they too were on Team LIVESTRONG. Turns out we each knew people who knew each other. We talked about the Cities and Madison. Weird. Small world.
After the 30 minute break, I headed on to Storm Lake, our destination for the day. I got in about 1:00. And I beat the RV in. They stopped in Washta, the meet up town, to connect with the others. And, (in-)conveniently enough, my cell phone died shortly after arriving. Good thing we had already established that we'd leave a note on the message board that RAGBRAI uses. Except, being the first one there meant there was no message for me.
I talked to some welcome people and found out that teams were being sent to the HS to set up camp. So off I rode to the HS, and checked out other locations on the way. I easily added 10 miles to my day back-and-forth and back-and-forth. By 2:45, Karen had made it and she posted a message asking where we were. I caught up to her shortly thereafter and the two of us waited for the others to come in. By 4:00, there were a handful of us and someone had communication with Jim & Qing. They were parked behind an old elementary school - a block off the path I rode to-and-fro on the way to the high school a couple times.
HINT: establish clear communication links between everyone on your team, and if you're relying on cell phones, a) make sure they're charged and b) make sure everyone exchanges numbers.
By 5:00, the stragglers in the group pulled into camp. Day 1 done. We all made it. He grilled some food and headed to the HS to get showered.
HINT: bring $ for showers - average of $5 to shower, plus a towel fee (or at least deposit). You WILL want to shower at the end of each day. It is so bloody refreshing, even if it's cold and with a bad showerhead. So worth it!
By the time we were done eating and showering it was well past 8. We hung out, enjoyed a beer or two and called it a day by 10:30. Tomorrow: 79 miles lie ahead, plus, for those that couldn't get enough, the Karras Loop through Rolfe, an optional 18.4 mile loop to make it a "Century Ride." Well, not really, but close, since 79+18 = 97.