Hank – I slept pretty good last night. No trains came through during the night and the truck traffic was light. But there has been another problem these past few days. Remember when Kathy and I returned a sleeping pad to REI because the inflation valve was failing? Well, the sleeping pad she bought to replace it developed the same problem. Me being the excellent and loving husband that I am, I switched pads with her. So I’ve been lying on a sheet of plastic at night. We’ll hit the REI in Madison or Milwaukee to replace it again, but until then I’m carefully picking tent sites. To her credit, Kathy has offered to alternate nights with the good sleeping pad.
We got up at 5:00 am and were on the road by 6:30 so we could beat the heat and humidity. We had a ton of gnat carcasses to shake out of the tent. Every time we got in or out they charged in like it was Black Friday at Target. The gnats were so bad yesterday and this morning that we finally broke out the mosquito head nets. We may have looked odd but we were much more comfortable. We had a little over 40 miles to our destination–Sheldon IA. Around the halfway point we entered Orange City. Just as O’Neill NE is Irish, Orange City IA is Dutch. We asked a woman for a good restaurant and she pointed us to The Hatchery. The breakfast was awesome. A couple people asked if we were training for RAGBRAI (Register Annual Great Bike Ride Around Iowa) and were amazed to learn about our adventure. The way I see it, this is just how we’re living our life right now.
Leaving Orange City we soon turned north towards Sheldon. The crosswind was now more of a tailwind. Normally that would be a good thing but I preferred the wind to be keeping me cool as opposed to pushing me along the mostly flat terrain. The crosswind helped keep us cool for the 25 miles of rolling hills to Orange City. That was nice.
Arriving in Sheldon we stopped at a bar and grill and hung out there for a couple of hours. Kathy had a glass of Chardonnay and I had a tall Blue Moon. About 90 minutes later we ordered dinner. Refreshed and fed we puttered around town a bit before going to Hills Park where the city has a campground. $10 to pitch a tent and they have power, water, and hot showers. Yay! We were very grateful a strong breeze was keeping the bugs at bay. I put up a clothesline so our laundry could dry. The high humidity has been terrible. I sweat so much the chamois pad in my bike shorts is as soggy as a diaper worn in the kiddy pool. Talk about getting a rash. Thankfully, Desitin works just as good on a sexagenarian’s butt as it does on an infant’s butt.
In other news I was informed we made the paper in Plainview, NE. That’s another minute of my 15 minutes of fame used up.
Kathy – Today we got our short steep hill workout in the first 25 miles. Since the only thing I had to look at during this three hour period was the corn fields, occasional cows, and stinky hog farms, I decided to count the hills. In 25 miles we went up and down 29 hills. 🙂 I’m glad I counted the hills because not only did it help to distract me from the heat, humidity, and a bit of boredom, but it also helped me to realize it was not as bad as it seemed. Our total mileage today was 47 miles with about 1,000 feet of climbing. I decided to start my day off with a good attitude regardless of the heat, humidity and the rolling hills. Well, I had a sweet surprise after we left Orange City, Iowa, the rolling hills diminished almost completely. Our remaining miles were flat or gradual climbs which at the end of a hot day just make me happy.
We arrived in Sheldon, Iowa around 1:00 pm and were thrilled to find a quiet and cool place to hang out in for a bit. The cold drinks, food and staff were all fabulous! Our camp site is totally awesome tonight as we have a beautiful park-like setting, a soft bed of grass to put our tent on, a nice breeze, enormous oak trees to shade us, and no gnats to bug us. As I’m writing this post I’m listening to my sweetie sing and play his ukulele. Life has been pretty sweet today…and tonight.
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