Range Roaming – Iowa 2013 – Day 7

The first lost item: Fort Madison to Lake Wapello State Park

Sunday April 21, 2013, 79 miles (127 km) – Total so far: 333 miles (537 km)

State Highway 2 in Iowa is known to be pretty hellish for cycle tourists. In places it is in poor condition, and like most roads in southern Iowa, it generally has little to no shoulder. It is also heavily used by trucks. In 2010, I avoided the highway where I could by using the good-quality (generally) county roads. The one thing that was helpful then, however, was the courteous car drivers who almost always gave me plenty of room as I traversed the state. Read more

Range Roaming – Iowa 2013 – Day 8

The warmth before the snow: Lake Wapello State Park to Honey Creek State Park

Monday April 22, 2013, 35 miles (56 km) – Total so far: 368 miles (593 km)

Paris, Iowa has none of the cosmopolitan atmosphere of its European cousin. Instead, it is a small collection of dilapidated mobile homes with junk piled high in the yards. The locality stretches along the road for about a thousand feet or so. The properties make me think ‘meth labs’, but maybe I’m just being judgmental. Read more

Range Roaming – Iowa 2013 – Day 9

Waiting out snow, sleet, rain and other precipitation: Honey Creek State Park to Honey Creek State Park

Tuesday April 23, 2013

The temperature begins its slide from midnight. The rain continues its slide down my tent fly all night long. It just rains and rains, and gets colder and colder. The constant drumming on the tent is soothing. By 8am, however, it’s a battle between my bladder and my desire to stay in the warm sleeping bag.

About 8.30 am, the rain goes quiet! Perfect! I put on my clothes, slide my feet into my frigid shoes, and get ready to dash to the toilets. But as I poke my head out of the tent vestibule… it quickly becomes apparent that the rain has stopped, but the precipitation has not. It is now snowing! Read more

Range Roaming – Iowa 2013 – Day 10

Fingers so cold I can’t even shift gears: Honey Creek State Park to Humeston

Wednesday April 24, 2013, 41 miles (66 km) – Total so far: 409 miles (659 km)

Oh dear. I have frozen snot on the pannier I’m using as a pillow. The NWS was expecting record low temps last night of 25F (normal lows are about 46F, highs in the mid-60s). My little thermometer says 25F. My fingers say… well, their comments are all expletives.

I take all of my gear to the bathrooms. I get dressed and pack up all my gear in the warmth of the heated toilet block. Then I go out to pack up my frozen tent. Read more

Range Roaming – Iowa 2013 – Day 11

My first non-dairy item at a DQ: Humeston to Lamoni

Thursday April 25, 2013, 36 miles (57 km) – Total so far: 445 miles (716 km)

Chugga-chugga. Chugga-chugga. No “choo-choo”.

I’m just chugging along today, trying to keep my mind occupied with inane thoughts, instead of how cold I am and why I keep finding headwinds. The weather radio indicates there were record lows again last night in the mid-20s. It is slow to warm again today. Read more

Range Roaming – Iowa 2013 – Day 12

“You’re riding in that wind? Good luck!”: Lamoni to Clarinda

Friday April 26, 2013, 69 miles (110 km) – Total so far: 514 miles (827 km)

The hills roll forth like fossilized ripples of mud. Take away the vegetation and it’s as if I’m riding upstream in the remains of a state-sized, gently-flowing, muddy-bottomed river. Up a ridge, down a valley. Up a ridge, down a valley.

In reality, I’m riding across a whole bunch of gently-flowing rivers and creeks, all of the drainages flowing north-south while I ride generally east-west. But I like to think about what the landscape would look like from high above – and all I can think is that these hills would look like ripples. Read more

Range Roaming – Iowa 2013 – Day 13

Loess Hills Scenic Byway: Clarinda to Louisville SRA, NE

Saturday April 27, 2013, 84 miles (136 km) – Total so far: 598 miles (962 km)

There are some days that are perfect, even when they’re not perfect. Today was one of those days. In the morning, a cold and clammy fog has replaced yesterday’s wind. The visibility is decent enough, so I set forth, rear blinkie light flashing. Read more