Thursday, 25 July 2013

Entering Iowa

Our stay at Oasis in Iowa was quite the unique experience for Sea to Sea. We spent the night at a kid's Bible camp and got the chance to hang out with 50 campers. We played dodgeball and had a campfire with s'mores and worship. What an adorable opportunity! After four weeks of only adults to hang out with, we were all thoroughly enjoying time spent with a younger generation. Their joy and energy almost seemed to rub off on us!

Around 8 we started the campfire. So, here we were, 100-odd bikers sitting around a campfire with 10-year-olds roasting us marshmallows! They would run around asking who would like a s'more and then roast the marshmallow for us. They really seemed to enjoy it!

Well, this was one day where the adults went to bed before the kids. By 9:00 most of us had already hit the hay while the kids bragged abotu their 3:00 AM bed time. We were able to sleep indoors- airconditioned- and many of us took the camp up on the offer. I am working on a record of not putting my up tent. I don't remember the last time I used my tent and it has been a real adventure working to find cover in each of our camps!

After a few hours of restful sleep, we were all very rudely awakened at 6:00 when a camp leader flicked on the lights. Word spread quickly that a large storm was brewing on the horizon. In the space of about 10 minutes all the tents had been taken down and the gear bags stored along the sides of the gear truck. The breakfast tables were moved from the great outdoors into our sleeping area and all those wishing to sleep in were awakened. Those who had opted to sleep in their tents had been woken up when the wind suddenly picked up with fierce intensity. Those who peeked out their tent flys saw a very large, very dark cloud on the horizon.

The next couple of hours were spent in slight panic mode as we packed up everything that could be blown around, ate breakfast and got ready for the ride. We were asked to not leave camp before 8:00 because of the severe storm warning, so I spent a long time just sitting outside watching the clouds roll in. By 8:00 the storm had still not hit but seemed to be moving northeast. So I set out on our ride, prepared to spend the entire day battling the brutally strong winds coming from the north. It was only raining a little and the temperatures were very nice, especially with the cloud cover.

Well, long story short, Tuesday turned out to be a fantastic day- beautiful temperatures, the wind died down soon after we started riding and the skies remained overcast. I rode with Rick from Hamilton and Henny and Harry from Fredericton. For a day that started out quite stormy (literally and figuratively), the ride was wonderful, full of laughs, good conversation and fun. Oh, and a lot of hill, but that's a given. Whoever told me Iowa was flat should be shot... Iowa is NOT flat! I think we have done more climbing in Iowa than we did in the mountains! Seriously! These hills are not easy.

Sam was so diligent in roasting those marshmallows!
Singing time!

Our day was only 111 kilometres long, most of it hilly. Near the end of our ride we crossed the Missouri River and the Iowa/Nebraska state line. This line is in the middle of the Missouri River and the Missouri is in the middle of a very long and very flat plain. Ahead we could see the bluffs rising out of the ground but it took a long time to reach them. We camped among the bluffs that bordered the Missouri River basin in a beautiful state park. Our stay there was relatively uneventful for Sea to Sea although Billy- our motorcycle driver- was rudely awakened in the middle of the night when a large tree branch fell on his tent. His neighbours heard a crash and a yell. Some became concerned and went to investigate ... others rolled over and went back to sleep. All in all, Billy is currently on tent #4. We speculate that some raccoons had a little dance party in the tree that night as there was no wind that could have blown down that branch!

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