The hot shower water feels wonderful on my back, sore from a 92 mile trek. Surrounded by big red vehicles I hold my breath hoping that no one in the surrounding 40 miles suddenly needs a fire truck.
Today we leave Orion early with a 92 mile ride, first to The Mississippi River Crossing 45 miles away followed by 50 miles of Iowa Rollers.
News Flash! Iowa is NOT flat.
The weather is cool and the sky grey with pregnant clouds but the weatherman promises no rain. I leave with the Wildflowers who are poking along…
Being impatient, as I can sometimes be, I speed on ahead knowing the day will be long. They speed up a bit too, taking a hint, and all three of us arrive together at the Bridge to Muscatine.
On the Iowa side they decide to stop for lunch…more pokey time in my book, so off I speed not to see them for the rest of the day.
Crossing the Mississippi means three things:
1. I am officially not longer in the East…just look to the radio and TV call stations…the “W” has now been replaced by “K”.
2. I have ridden from the Atlantic Ocean to here where the rivers now flow south and east.
3. The flat lands of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois are in the past and I am challenged by West Bank Mississippi River Rollers, on par with those of the Ozark, and the infamous ones of Texas.
I am acutely aware that muscles used for climbing have been wasting away over the past three weeks…
”Oh New England strength, where have you gone?”
Finally after 40 million Rollers I coast into Oxford Junction for our nights stay. This is a tiny crossroads in the middle of green rolling hills. The town folk open up the community center for us, feed us,
and arrange for a shower
set up by voluntary firemen
at the station between the trucks.
Kindness to strangers in the middle of nowhere…
And icing on the cake…a rider from previous years drove 2 hours from Wisconsin to bring us snacks!
But the best happening of the day? The Fire Trucks were not called out with me standing there in the buff limbs flapping in the breeze…
PS I had to walk two blocks and sit outside a closed library at the edge of town using a pirate password to post this story while swatting a trillion flies who thought I tasted better than cows…
The things we take for granted in life…