MelonHeads survive...


Riding out to meet the RAGBRAI route this year was fraught with many obstacles.  Average daily temperatures were in the triple digits and days the winds were not very accommodating.  The bars were few and far between requiring us stop often at golf course clubhouses along the way.  


There were some personality issues.   Team bickering occurred when hotel rooms only had one TV remote. Everyone had their favorite show.


This issue was quickly resolved after our hot ride into Webster City.  A post ride meeting was held to determine which channels to watch.  The RAGBRAI updates and the Weather Channel reports won out.  Tony took minutes of the meeting; however, they became very soggy and unreadable.

Our bodies were so hot, we raised the pool temperature by 5 degrees.


Even riding our alternate route on the way up, we were fortunate to meet other RAGBRAI teams.  We met a few Texas members of Team Blaster on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.  We enticed them with beer and got them to stop and take a break with us in the shade?  They kindly re-payed our hospitality later in the ride.


The best day of our ride was the trail day.  Over 60 miles of nearly flat from Ely to Evansdale, under canopy of trees.  Tom and Bendar missed their turn and rode all the way into Evansdale and got stranded on the wrong side of the Cedar River.   Luckily their journey ended at a place called BEER CAVE, so they were easily found by other MelonHeads.


A quick stop at Center Point Station allowed us to recharge our beer batteries. It was Sunday and many of the taverns were closed.   WHY???


When we arrived in Webster City around 4:30; it was a ghost town.  This made it easy to find each other and convene at a local bar.  That was the GOOD news!   The BAD news was that the bar was excessively overcharging riders for drinks.  After four costly rounds nearly drained our beer budget, we recruited an accountant and he quickly uncovered the financial anomaly.


Oh how I miss the smell of KYBOs in the morning! 

I really must tell you....we terribly miss the pleasure of camping with the bike club.  Things like pitching tents, blowing up air mattresses and finding a warm shower....tend make you a disciplined rider.   

However; going the hotel route has its own set of problems.  During the week, most of our sleeping rooms were as abysmal as the one pictured above.  LIke it or not, you often have to take whatever accommodations you can get.   In addition, those complimentary "all you can eat" breakfast buffets, contributed greatly to our expanding waistlines.

One night we were assigned a honeymoon suite.  The candy and champagne were nice, but the room's whirlpool didn't excite any of us.  However, it was a great place to ice down the beer.  


In a room adjacent to the sleeping room shown above, MelonHeads wait for their turn in the shower.  One poor MelonHeads had to sleep on that fold out couch you see in the picture.  It probably did not smell very good!


Let be said that MelonHeads alway find canvases on which to apply their tattoos.  These are a couple of the very few tattooing pictures I could actually post on this web site.  Pretty mild!


In Cedar Rapids were able to avoid all of our hotel issues by staying at the home of fellow MelonHeads, Bob and Brenda Swanson.  With the screwy streets in CR, finding their place was tough after dark, but using GPS (Great Phone Supervision) by Brenda, we made it with little problem.

Bob had a cooler of beer chilled for us and Brenda prepared spaghetti and meatballs for our dining pleasure.  We partied till late on their deck.  

Next day, Brenda got up early and prepared breakfast burritos for us.  Great way to start the day before we all headed up the trail towards Waubeek.

Party in Waubeek!!!  (forgot my camera)

Instead of going into Anamosa on the last night, we attended a great party in Waubeek.  It was right next to the Wapsipinicon River in a 150 year old mill building.  They had  three bands playing outdoors.  Although not as good as Brenda's burritos, breakfast at the mill the next day was great.  It even beat out the Homewood Suites breakfast buffet, which itself was outstanding.  Sorry Mr. Pancake Man!


Keeping the support van organized with gear and beer was a major challenge.   Rather than haul bikes to our rooms every night, we locked them on the van for protection against thief.   One good thing; however, as the week past, the amount of space taken by our beer supply diminished.

After the party night in Waubeek, it was time to get back on the bikes and ride home.  The heat and hills on the 73 mile homeward trek were daunting.  One particular 20 mile segment from Springville to Olin was very hilly.  Also,a barmaid in Olin was not sympathetic to our bitching.  Seems she had a bad experience when Olin was a RAGBRAI pass through town.


Frequent water and beer stops on the ride keep us hydrated and happy!  And away from cranky barmaids.  The key to making the 8 day excursion was to take it slow and enjoy the hospitality of all the towns along the way.

Our 2012, RAGBRAI trek ended Saturday at about 7PM when we arrived back home.  Sorry Clinton, dipping our wheels is not a priority anymore!

The MelonHeads would like to thank all who aided us during the week.  

  • The Missipi Brew for their generous supply of beer.
  • Bob and Brenda for opening their home to us.  
  • All the golf courses who tolerated the "seedy bunch" in their club houses.
  • All the hotel maids who cleaned our rooms every morning.  
  • All the locals along the way, who loved our jerseys and headgear!
  • And finally, the Team Subtle Savage girls for reminding us why kilts are the "coolest" riding gear you can wear!

Eight days on the road and we're  going to sleep at home....tonight!