To continue with our story…

One big-ass turkey leg, from Tender Tom's Turkey, found daily along the route
Laundry day for Team Fly
what a piece of rock and roll history

I blogged earlier about the significance of the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.  What an intriguing place.  They’ve tried to preserve it as much as possible to 1959 appearances, down to even the coat check.

so very old school
outside the ballroom

Good friend and fellow therapist Mandi Parker knew the history due to her Iowa heritage and told me that The Bopper was the Chantilly Lace singer.  Also, Waylon Jennings, a very young man at the time, traded his seat to Richie Valens just as they were leaving for the airport.  Oh, Bobby, you would have loved this place.

Don McLean's American Pie, first verse
our version of taking the kids out to dinner
unofficial team pic, because Jesse is not in it - stay tuned for automatic timer
Sam and Flave on the tandem
another view
sweet Iowa corn on the cob, thanks to Dustin
Amy giving a hooping lesson
ice cream at Beekman's...
...followed by pie at a church
pink breast cancer tractor
talking to Mommy
Toys Aunt Glenda bought Aden with his tip money

The next picture is another story.  Riding into a town down Main Street, we heard the “Free Beer” call, and never being a team to pass that up, we stopped and indulged.  When we started asking for who to thank, and why, we were directed into the house where the table was full of food of all kinds, just because.  The lady of the house refused any donation (“Oh, Goodness NO!”), and said she was just so excited about Ragbrai coming through her town she had been cooking for days.

spread at the most generous lady's home in Iowa

About a mile off-route on the last day, we were directed to the Field of Dreams house and ball field.  We had been through there before, in about 1993, and have a picture of Ben on the pitcher’s mound.  The field was too crowded for the same picture with Aden, but we took one at the field.

House from Field of Dreams
Jesse's pics are better
Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa
Iowa boy

This Ragbrai had been billed as one of the fastest, shortest, and flattest.  However, on the last day, the day into Dubuque, we had a little different picture.  We had been hearing about Potter’s Hill all day long; we knew it was steep, and we knew it was about a mile.  We did not know it was an 11% grade.  I have never walked my bike up a hill.  Until Saturday.  But here’s the best part:  Flava Flave pulled Aden up the hill in the kiddie cart.  He’s a beast, and he impressed all of us.  I think Aden may have been playing his DS at the time.

Hill that kicked my ass, and Amy's, and Laura's, and Jesse's, and Meg's, and Tuck's, and Kirsten's. The boys aren't telling.

And that brings us to the Mississippi River.  I’ll try to get more pics from the other riders of some of that – I stopped short at the bus for my shower.

It was as good a ride as we have ever had.  Except for one rainy morning, the weather was flawless – moderate temps, low humidity, cool nights, and it really was a flat, easy, short ride.  The team was great, and we were so fortunate to have our sweet Aden along!

Thanks for reading – last full week of July, 2011!