Thursday, 1 August 2013

Ragbrai Wrap Up - Traveling to Iowa

After 3180 miles (5118km) of driving and 406 miles (653 km) of pedaling, I arrived back home at the kennel yesterday, just a bit before dinner.

Everyone, except maybe Mark's Stupid Cat, seemed pretty happy to have me back. Especially Bet. She sniffed and danced and sniffed some more (she doesn't give kisses - but she is a very enthusiastic sniffer!). I treated her (and her Dad) to Mushroom Swiss burgers for dinner and Saskatoon berries with ice cream for dessert!!! And yes, there were Saskatoon waffles for breakfast this morning. (Bet meticulously  picked up all her saskatoon berries and just ate the waffles! She makes me laugh!!!)

I took a lot of extra time picking up the dogs' bowls last night. While they are usually laid back and relaxed when I pick up bowls, they danced, chatted and otherwise vied for my attention - which I was happy to give!!!

It is wonderful to be home but it was also a wonderful trip, for which I am so grateful for having experienced!!!

July 18th

I loaded my Highlander up with my bike, a whole bunch of clothes and gear (most of it that I never used)- and Bang, who was moving down to her retirement home with my friends Dan and Heather and headed out.

The first night we stayed with my friends Colleen, Twizzler and Sparky in Regina. We had a short, but really enjoyable visit.

I have to tell my Bang story from that night...

Bang bopped around the house and yard while Colleen and I ate pizza and caught up with each other. When it came time for bed, Colleen insisted that Bang, who had claimed a cozy corner of the kitchen and was sleeping soundly there, would be fine loose in the house. I was doubtful, but Colleen was insistent - and since I was sleeping in the basement, any disturbance would likely bother Colleen more than me!

Around 3am a white shadow crept into my room. She had sought me out in the basement and curled up on the floor at the end of the bed to sleep. Just before 5 am she worked up the courage to jump onto the bed, stretched out her body against the length of mine, claimed half of my pillow and went to sleep.

It was a lovely way to spend my last evening with my friend and former teammate.

Folks often ask how I can part with dogs. I will admit that it is never easy, but when it comes to my dogs, I am interested in the RIGHT decisions, not the easy ones. This retirement home is definitely the RIGHT one for Bang. (Dan and Heather have reported that she is settling in wonderfully!)

The next AM we loaded up, swung by a Timmie's and then headed for Iowa.

It turned out to be a long and not particularly interesting drive. Since it was so long, I didn't do a lot of stopping - just gas, coffee and a few breaks for Bang.

I arrived in Glenwood, Iowa about 11pm and despite the late hour, was warmly greeted by Shelly, Helen, Dan and Heather. We visited for a bit, planned out the next day and I turned Bang over to her new family before we all collapsed into sleep!

Saturday was hectic!!! After securing a camping spot for the night (next to a pretty amazing man named Gay, who biked FROM VIRGINIA to Iowa - "How long did that take?", I asked. "Thirty five days", he casually replied!!! Way cool! LOVE IT!!!) and getting our tent put up, we headed down to Omaha for my Tales of the Trail presentation.

The presentation, hosted by Taysia Blue Siberian Husky Rescue, went really well. Great crowd and got to put lots of names to faces, which is always wonderful!

Bang and her new family came out to watch - and it was nice to see how quickly she was adjusting to her new life of luxury (also got to visit with Casey, another one of the now 4 NorthWapiti dogs living with Heather and Dan!)

After the presentation and some pizza, Shelly, Helen and I headed off to do some food shopping and get final preparations ready for the morning.

Just a small part of the Council Bluffs Ragbrai Campground!

Once those were done we biked down to the Missouri River to dip our rear tires into the water. A true Ragbrai tradition!!!

Tire dipping!

The whole Winter Chicks team - Shelly Lewis, Helen Thorgalsen and me!

After biking back we hit the bike and food vendors, finding some dinner and a bit of last minute 'kit' for the next week!!!

The girls thought I needed one of these for Bet next year. Bet and I vote NO!!!

As we were settling in for the night I could hear a sound from the trees that I was completely unfamiliar with. I asked Shelly what it was. She listened for a moment and said "A plane". Yeah, yeah....I'm not THAT much of a hick....I know a plane....the humming??? "Oh", she replied, "those are locust." It is a sound that she is so familar with, she doesn't much even hear anymore - but for me, along with the sound of fast rolling wheels on asphalt, and the unclicking/clicking in of bike pedals, it would become the 'song' of Ragbrai.


Shirly said...

I was very glad to meet you in Omaha Karen. Would of loved time to just talk but you were a very busy lady. It was nice seeing your girls also. Because I was looking at their build. I did want to go to Des Moines but I had a unfortunate not planned fall on some hard cement so couldn,t make it as my head was complaining. Hope you come next year. Until then see you on facebook

Khady Lynn said...

Ah yes, the lovely evening sounds of the locust, cicada's and crickets. We are so use to them here that we don't even hear them! I can imagine it would be weird for someone who has never heard those sounds!

Was so wonderful to meet you in person and have pizza with you! Maybe you can make RAGBRAI your new annual trip!!

Also, thank you so much for coming to talk to those of us who are part of Taysia Blue Siberian Husky Rescue! We love our breed, and it was an absolute honor to have you come speak to us!

Foster Coordinator/Adoption Counselor
Taysia Blue Siberian Husky Rescue