To recap: last week we packed up our lives into a van and hit the road, leaving fair West Seattle and our possibly hottest local summer ever behind.
We were blessed to see so many of our loved ones before we left at the street fair and beyond.
At this point, we've driven over 2000 miles -- through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota -- and collectively biked a few hundred miles across Iowa.
Safe to say, our baby needs a wash.
Huge thanks to the Maddy's (Luc's cousins/family) for letting us stay our first night on Flathead Lake.
Currently sitting at the halfway point and reflecting via this here triplog blog.
On the way over we tried out a couple of KOA campgrounds - Kampsites of America. It's like an RV resort, complete with wi-fi, swimming pools, and regular camp sites. Not the camping we grew up with necessarily, but pretty nice stay for $30-40 bucks a night.
We stayed in Yellowstone valley (though we didn't make it to Yellowstone National Park proper, this time.)
Had to get some monuments and national parks in along the way.
Sad to say, we rushed 'em -- had to get to Iowa.
The night time lighting ceremony at Mt. Rushmore made for a curious mix of monumentous-ness, tourists, and what may be considered near-radioactive levels of patriotism.
We love this country (godblesstheusa), but the Discovery channel video presentation may have been a little too much.
Maybe let the ol' faces speak for themselves?
Buffalo, Wyoming brought us great barbecue and an incredibly authentic wild west experience at the Century Club - where the PBR's sell for 1.50 on draft, ($1 on happy hour.)
Eventually, we made it to Iowa. The land of milk and honey. (Or cornfields and parallel highways.)
RAGBRAI or Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa is just ridiculous.
We started getting the hang of it by Day 2-3 -- but pretty much, 10,000 plus cyclists roll into a town and set up tents and RVs everywhere. We're talking high schools, lakeside city parks, people's front lawns... The RAGBRAI-ers descend on each town, take over for 6-18 hours then it's on to the next.
There's approximately no service in most of Iowa (and basically no T-Mobile service at all in Montana, or Wyoming, or South Dakota.) So, we generally have to get lucky to find each other in towns when we try to link up. It's stressful at times. But probably good for ya.
At night, there are food tents, crowds and concerts/events going on -- we've seen some rad/hilarious cover bands the past two nights in middle America.
It's such an interesting segment of the population out here, middle America -- we've met some real characters here in Iowa.
To quote Luc's first facebook status in a few years:
"Seeing America like never before....this country is diverse. How the states are still all united I do not know."
But she sure is beautiful.
- We beat some self proclaimed "rednecks" in a round of beer pong for free drinks (to be fair, it was hardly a fair fight -- they were legitimately "NASCAR drunk", astounded that we didn't have "dirt trackin'" in Seattle, and especially perturbed by the color of my shorts -- "THEM ARE MAROON SHORTS!!");
- We came to a regular 'merican epiphany to the tune of "Party in the USA" and danced like utter mad men at a small bar's large dance party. What can you say, but #jelloshots;
- We drank beers and camped on the lawn of multiple Iowa public high schools;
- We camped out over-looking an epic corn field, under a giant, 200 foot wind turbine;
- We've been treated with great kindness all over (even by the police who pulled us over at 1AM after we ran into a corn field on the walk back to camp one night);
- We've started to understand the RAGBRAI.
"What I mean," said Ford, "is does it give you a full and satisfying life?"
- Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
It's been some full days and nights out here.
But the cover bands are clownin', the corn's a-growin' and the light beer's a-flowin'.
Night seven sleeping in this blue tent -- our shelter from the dew, the midwest lightning bugs, and the rest of RAGBRAI -- and she's goin' strong.
Oh, there's also this:
Bringing us to today: these two goons ride another 65 miles.
Meanwhile, I will sit here and blog, then happily drive the support vehicle through a few more cornfields.
>>Chicago on Saturday.
Shout out to Sidecar Cafe and Beth for the interwebs and delicious coffee.
Until the next legitimately wi-fi enabled location...