Day 27: IOWA stands for “In Other Words, Amazing!”

The Big Cat himself served us breakfast at his cafe in downtown Muscatine. Locals Bob and Chuck were also caffeinating themselves before their ride. Bob was recovering from a crash he had last year when he had heart trouble during a ride. His friend Chuck was helping him get back into riding shape. We swapped stories and Chuck even showed us a video of a woman that rode across Iowa RAGBRAI on a penny farthing (old high-wheeler). Amazing!

After some zigging and zagging we rode out of town and we’re doing the same on farm roads. The tiny town of Nichols was a good place to stop for lunch. Roxanne, the friendly owner told us the story of how it got its name. When she was prepping for paint, she saw the covered up name and decided to bring back the old name of “Newt’s” named after the owners, the Newton family. She got permission to re-use the name and even got some historic local photos and artwork from them.

The train station museum, closed today, in West Liberty was a good napping spot before facing the hot sun again. We continued onto West Branch and ate an early dinner at Down Under (so named because it’s downstairs in the basement). It felt like we were walking into the Cheers bar in that we immediately felt welcome. Mel, and the owner, Mike had plenty of funny stories to tell and Mike’s daughter Amy came in to work her shift and add more stories. Doreena, a regular customer, and local cyclist, amazed us with her accomplishments including riding RAGBRAI 9 times and her recovery from a recent injury.

After much debate and what ifs about where to camp, we decided to ride to a remote and empty part of the trail and camp on our route. James, a local contractor, riding his gravel bike, stopped by for a nice chat and he was inspired to do an adventure ride as soon as the opportunity arises. We hope you do it soon, James, we’re rooting for you!

Part of the day on Hoover Nature Trail
A good section of Hoover trail
A bad section of Hoover trail
Extreme yard art
Roxanne’s place
Long but true
Our nap spot to escape the hot sun
Ha ha
James and I

Summary: we rode 49 miles from museum in Muscatine to north of West Branch using country roads including G28. Be careful of trucks creating dust on the farm roads, and Hoover Nature Trail.

5 Replies to “Day 27: IOWA stands for “In Other Words, Amazing!””

  1. You need an RZR on the bad section of the Hoover; BUT sign says motorized prohibited on limestone surface…. HMMMM I can’t see the LIMESTONE! Maybe Hoover should stick to vacuums….

  2. Hi guys. It appears that I just missed you at the Good Vibes Cafe in Solon as I was out on my ride today. As a fellow cyclist and 9 year RAGBRAI rider, it would have been great to meet you and buy you a coffee to help you along your incredible journey. Crystal told me about you and your trip and shared your contact information. I admire your willingness to take on this adventure and wish you the best. Perhaps you will decide to join us in Iowa next year for the 50th RAGBRAI anniversary and our paths will cross. In the meantime, I look forward reading your blog and living vicariously through your the cross country ride through your words.

    Larry Jewell, Iowa City

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