Monday, July 30, 2007

184 Miles in Three Days

I took some time off last week to make my annual pilgrimage to Iowa to take part in RAGBRAI -- the annual bicycle trek that begins in on the shore of the Missouri River and ends on the banks of the mighty Mississippi five days later. Last year was my first trip to the annual event that has been going on since 1972. Like last year, this ride attracted approximately 25,000 riders. Towns and cities along the route throw open their doors of welcome as the party on wheels made its way across the state. I had anticipated another ride similar to last year's event. Hot weather in the mid-nineties and very little breeze to cool off the riders. But this year the weather gods were on the riders side. Clear blue skies with temperatures ranging from the mid-seventies to low eighties were common. Brochures touting the ride speak of towns that will never see a Walmart. The route that zigzagged across the state showed that statement to be true. Thursday's ride went through 67 miles of Amish country. Locals shut down their regular activity to sell refreshments along the old highways that made for a gentle ride along rolling hills. As you ride into town homeowners are sitting in lawn chairs watching the steady stream of bicyclists , children spray riders with water from hoses as they coast down the streets void of any traffic but bicycles. Entire downtown areas literally over-flowing with bicycles and riders milling about, enjoying even more refreshments, snacks and new friends. Friday proved to be quite different. The rolling hills became steeper as the route made its way into the sparsely inhabited areas of northwestern Iowa. Saturday continued the climb to a combined elevation of over 7,200 feet in three days. Towns with names like Garry Owen, Bernard, and Lamont either slowly went by as you churned up hills that never ceased to end or waited as a welcome oasis as you coasted in from the down side of the same hill. This year was a different experience as my fellow riders and I camped out in the overnight tent cities that were erected in public parks of the host towns. Evenings filled with concerts, good food and preparation for another day of an early start as the sun rose. Another interesting footnote is the proliferation of cornfields. Though Iowa is known for growing corn -- the coming of ethanol and high gasoline prices has made the corn market a farmers dream. It seems that nearly every open field is crowded with the dark green stalks nearly ready for market. After three days my riders I wondered if next year we should take on all five days of the ride. The sore muscles and bruises at our ages (the youngest being 47 years old) at the end of the trip gives us pause to ponder. One thing is for certain. Whether five days or less, we will be back next year.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting story, Greg.

In an unrelated matter, has anyone else wondered how many bridges in America could have been rebuilt/improved for safety if our money for Iraq War had been spent at home?

Surely Hallaburton and Chaney could find away to profit from that too!!!

Anonymous said...

I read where the Chamber of Commerce is planning a Roundup Days parade. What suprises me is the theme, " A Proud Community". Is this some kind of a joke? Yes, this was true maybe 15 or 20 years ago, but not today. The deteriorating neighborhoods, because the city won't enforce codes, the empty storefronts, and Frank's folly, the old Baptist Church. So we are going to invite the whole world to come view our parade along a route of trashy neighborhoods, closed businesses and the worst code violation in the whole city, the old Baptist Church. The Chamber must really need the money to put themselves in such an embarassing position. Please, spare up the continued redicule of our neighboring communities by canceling this farce of a parade.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that! Let's cancel the parade, because, really, who is going to come? Band parents, of course (I've gone to lots of parades and competions myself, and trust me, I would rather just have the competion WITHOUT the hassle of the parade!) and family members, but the way I understand it, there is nothing else planned for people to do. Why make all the poor kids march, and then compete, just so we can have our traditional parade? It is embarassing enough that the route goes right past the old Baptist Church, which looks so sad, but it will be worse if there are no people to appreciate all the bands, and their hard work. Let's think here, people!

The Salamander said...

A word of advice Mr. Greg. Your bike ride is interesting stuff, but this IS a political blog. You can't be all things to all people!

A stroll down memory lane is always good for the soul. Sometimes it brings us back to reality.

Try this from the Raytown Post, June 21, 2006. An editorial by then owner, Randy Battagler. From his editorial which took anyone who didn't see pots of gold at the end of the Raytown rainbow.

"Today, developers are popping up all over Raytown and new shopping areas are in the early stages."

Where are the developers? The last one the city hired charged over $6,000.00 per month. Collected over $55,000.00 and has disappeared into the mists. Shopping centers popping up all over town.

Who are we kidding. Opening a coffee shop hardly qualifies for such a gargantuan description...

...Time to Smell the Coffee.

Andy Whiteman said...

This is Greg's blog. He can write about what is important to him. I wonder how many others could accomplish 184 miles in 3 days? I consider that news! I couldn't do that.

The Salamander forgot we also have a new bar on Raytown Rd one way going towards where the wooden bridge used to be. I walk past the bar occassionally and notice many parked cars.

Don't put down to coffee shop. Raytown is lucky they decided to locate here. Some people enjoy gourmet coffee. It probably could do better in a mall, the Plaza, or any high traffic area. At least the owner chose Raytown. Even though it is not gargantuan, it is a tax generating business. Any new business opening here should be welcome.

I thought that Raytown wants to attract business openings. Is there going to be limited only to welcoming gargantuan businesses?

Anonymous said...

Another thought for consideration on the Roundup parade is the cost to the city. They will have all the police on overtime and public works will have to be available to block off the streets. I bet the Chamber will never reimberse the city for any of these costs, which usually amounts to several thousand dollars. Just think if this money was used to put street lights on some of our dark streets. Wouldn't this be a better use of taxpayer dollars than subsidizing the Chamber of Commerce?

Andy Whiteman said...

What is happening with Round Up days in the future?

It may be a fund raiser for the C of C, but it is a public nuisance and forced several businesses to close for the event because streets are blocked.

This nuisance requires police to keep order at the taxpayers' expense. Two or three years ago there was a double homocide following Round Up days. In my opinion, the perpertrator(s) scoped out this home business during Round Up Days, thought it was a business, and didn't expect to find a couple living in a business.

Round Up Days definately needs to be restricted to an area where it won't be a public nuisance.

Itellitlikeitis said...

In an unrelated matter, has anyone else wondered how many bridges in America could have been blown up by terrorist if it wasn't for the fact that we are killing them in Iraq? Thank God we have a president that has the guts to fight for the safety and security of our nation instead of governing by polls.

Anonymous said...

They don't need any terrorist help in that department, lack of preventative maintenance and funding is all they need for that to happen here, especially with that dang Bush and Cheney in there with those screwball line their pockets with greed big business loving republican a$$h*-es up there in DC. Got a few of those here in Raytown obviously as well. And Round Up Days has become the latest death toll casualty statistic here as well. Blame that one on them commie bastard republicans as well! Can't leave things alone can they!

Itellitlikeitis said...

To Screwball, Commie Bastard Anonymous; I'm not quite sure how to respond to a fool, so I guess I'll just let your own idiotic ranting speak for itself....

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that it was a debate, oh yeah, apparantly it becomes a debate when the truth hits close to home and the republicans feel threatened, so they in turn will call it screwball idiotic ranting when they know that it is the truth. Just like that idiot Rush Limbergercheesehead, if that guy told you to jump off a bridge you would do it... that is their mentality....You are probably one of those RRFT do gooders that have brought Raytown's overall condition deeper than that of a slum ghetto.... enough already!

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Anonymous said...

You look at life through rose colored glasses....Save your pity for yourself itellitlikeitis, as most of your type are the danger to this country and our society today. You are pathetic, just like the rest of them, they lie, cheat, change their story mid stream.... I can also make up my own mind, make my own decisions, and I sure dont need a political group to do that for me like your kind does like, you better vote for us or theyll take our guns! Get real! Yeah, I am still in Raytown, but most that were involved with RRFT apparantly slipped and thought they were somewhere else like at the Lakewood Homeowners Association Meeting or something like that. Huh, thats a new thing, I have ratings now, For what???? That is funny. You just cant let it go can you....

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Itellitlikeitis said...

Rose colored Anonymous;

I know you will probably have trouble understanding this, but I never said I was or had ever been involved with RRFT. You said that, not me. But why bother with truth when distortions make you happy!

Oh, by the way you have suggested that some political group tells me what to think, I have never said anything to that effect. I am able to make decisions based on the truth and what is best for our city, county, state, and country. I don't need someone to tell me how to think like you apparently do.

Life must be just one bad, sad trip for you!

Anonymous said...

I see now, you are one of those "I'm always right, everyone else is wrong" type of person...two rivers can help you.

Itellitlikeitis said...

Anonymous;

Two Rivers must not have helped you! I am assuming by your comments that you have been there.......probably a waste of money in your case.

Itellitlikeitis said...

To Anonymous Ranter;

You are right, the truth is what it is and it does exist, I just happen to have found it and apparently you haven’t. The problem appears to be that you couldn't recognize the truth if it hit you up side your head. I am never threatened by people like you personally, but your kind of thinking is definitely a threat to our nation and will probably be its downfall. Actually I feel sorry for people like you who are so wrapped up in darkness that the light evades you.

By the way, you have it backwards. Most people who listen to Rush do so because he is expressing what they already believe. You on the other hand are told what to think by the liberal elite, not being able to think for yourself.

You hate, and you aren’t really sure why, your rantings prove it! I know what I believe, and I know why I believe it.

Oh, by the way just so you will know, the RRFT has nothing to do with Republicans or Democrats; in fact it probably consists of more Democrats than Republicans...did you forget that you were in Raytown?