Thursday, July 24th - These were the best days of RAGBRAI for us, I think just knowing we were going to make it to the end made us more relaxed. Also getting to know our camping mates better and bonding with them added to the camaraderie of RAGBRAI spirit!
The weather was once again in our favor, it was overcast and looked like rain when we left camp so we were prepared and had our jackets. We rode through a light rain for maybe an hour, but it wasn't too cold if you had light wool socks with your sandals like I did - these are my favorite, everyone should have a pair!!. And we heard later that right after we left, Tama got dumped on with a 2" rain, so were very lucky. But as the day went on we did have a head wind out of the east. It was funny to hear the level of complaining, it was tiring but the wind wasn't that bad. People remembering we were from South Dakota would say, "oh yeah, you live on the prairie, I suppose thisn't isn't much to you guys." They were right, I'm sure the wind was 15 mph or less!
The route brought us through a Czech town - Chelsea and then the Amish communities of West Amana, South Amana, and Homestead with their beautiful flower gardens and stone houses. I had a potatoe pancake with applesauce in South Amana. It was 'interesting' and a good carb load. I should have had a kolache in Chelsea, but alas even I can only eat so much in one day!
North Liberty really played up their "pirate" theme and treated everyone royally as we entered town. Our camp ground was at the Knights of Columbus, a beautiful spacious lot, connected to the bike trail and just a block from the RAGBRAI center. We were especially happy to find a laundromat just 5-6 blocks away. Finally - clean and dry biking shorts. With the humidity, things never seemed to dry out after washing them out the previous nights. The laundromat was next door to a coffee shop so I got my latte fix taken care of. And we met a couple from Sioux Falls on their first RAGBRAI in the laundromat who were very chatty - it was fun exchanging stories and the time went fast.
We are some good food and were ready to turn in early once again. But having a few beers at the campsite we found out we had a few younger partying guys in our camping group - they were very entertaining!