Ragbrai 2016, Night 6, Day 5 of riding….today was 57.6 miles and only 1,999 feet of climbing! It was a great ride with some incredible views. We traveled through the towns of Rathbun, Moravia, Unionville, Blakesburg and the host town of Ottumwa. Inspired again by many as we rode with a gentleman who is a paraplegic, a couple bikers who are amputees, 9 to 90 year olds and bikers of all fitness levels. I love hearing snipets of conversations, laughter and friendship between bikers as we ride past.
The Rathbun Lake dam was gorgeous and the bridge seemed to go on forever. We met Patrick who is in the Air Force (picture attached) and rode and visited with him for about 30 minutes. We parted ways rode another 15 miles or so to the meeting town for the day. Each day a town is selected as “the meeting” town and vendors set up and often a band is playing. At any given time, 2,000-3,000 bicyclists ride into town so you can imagine the lines for food. Usually one of us gets into line as the others find a place to rest the bikes. As I was standing in line, I felt two hands on my shoulders and some say “hey, Sue there you are.” I am trying to figure out who this voice belongs to and out out thousands of people who would know me. I turned around and it was Patrick with the Air Force and another Airman. Aaron had seen them and sent them over so they would not have to wait so long in the long lines. We treated the two serviceman to breakfast and when I paid, the cashier gave me a card for a free breakfast(most of these vendors go the next day to the meeting town). So tomorrow, we hope to make someone’s day a little brighter as we plan on giving that breakfast to another rider or serviceman that we are standing in line with. We ate breakfast and shared great conversation.
Our host home in Ottumwa is First Lutheran Church. We were greated by Lisa Duff and family with smiling faces and homemade cookies! I shared a post earlier that Garrett Johnson posted as cookie Thursday continues in Iowa! Dave Foulke, Todd, Garrett Johnson, Aaron and I attended their Thursday service at 5:30pm and had the opportunity to meet Pastor Mark Johnson. He shared that he is originally from Caledonia, MN. We can’t thank Lisa Duff and First Lutheran enough for the warm welcome and awesome hospitality and the use of the high school locker rooms as they had warm showers and a real toilet! Crazy how the little things make a big difference! We walked downtown tonight to catch a few songs from Rick Springfield! We continue to pray that we finish these last two days strong and pray for the safety of all the bikers and support personal. 302+ miles completed, 120 to go!