Once again, flat, straight roads with a tail wind. Will this cyclist's dream never end? Shaine and I took off at 7:30 on the tandem, and covered 20 miles in 80 minutes. Cheryl took over, and we motored into Sioux City, Iowa. This town is actually the largest we rode all the way through on the trip; Indianapolis, we sneaked across the southwest corner, but Sioux City, we went the whole enchilada: southeast suburbs ("Southern Hills"), where we went up and down the bluffs over the confluence of the Missouri and Big Sioux Rivers. Then west into downtown, and north again out of town. 100,000 people all around us, most of them still resting inside on this warm Saturday morning.
So why did we do this, after all our efforts to avoid big cities on this trip? Originally, we'd programed ourselves to ride up the other side of the Missouri, crossing at Onawa through South Sioux City, NE, and into Ponca, a state park, then on to another crossing of the Mizzou at Yankton, SD.
Two reasons: first, Cheryl discovered that her friend, Catherine, no longer lived in Yankton (where we last saw her in 1984), but had moved 25 miles east to Vermilion, where the University of South Dakota is located. There are no bridges across the Missouri between Sioux City, IA, and Yankton. And, Catherine invited Cheryl to a native sweat and pig roast on Sunday (our original date there), but we were arriving on Saturday, having gained a day with the Iowa tail winds. What to do? Like Lewis and Clark, we would avoid crossing the Missouri as long as possible, and also stay out of Nebraska. We'd hang out an extra day in Vermilion; on Sunday, I would scoot out ahead by 65 miles early in the morning, get sagged back, and then drive the whole crew forward the same amount Monday AM.
And second? Somehow, we lost Annie's "kid back", an extra chain ring, set of cranks and pedals which attach to the seat tube allowing her to ride on the back of the tandem. Otherwise, her feet would fly off the pedals with every down stroke, and she'd be just a passenger, not a participant, in Bikrutz. Obviously, we still don't know how we lost this most important piece of equipment. The two most likely candidates: not replacing it in its sacred location when it was last removed at Griswold, IA, or falling out when Will was working with the tools, stored in the same location, to break down his bike for the plane trip to Idaho. Oh my!. We discovered this near Onawa, when we went to set Ann up for her ride. Cheryl got catalog numbers from a friend at home with a "Tandem Magazine" handy (this was Friday afternoon, and getting anything soon by mail was a long shot). I called Albrecht's bike shop in Sioux City, which had a yellow page ad saying "Sioux City's ONLY full service bike shop", and listed many high end brands (Trek, Cannondale, Schwinn, etc.). No, they didn't sell kid backs or crank extenders, but, uh, wait, we've got one in the back we're selling for someone on consignment! Amazing! They were in the heart of downtown Sioux, so we got there by noon the next day.
Like the other bike shops we've been to, they were totally uninterested in our cross country trip; must hear stories about them all the time, I guess. Anyway, the kid back was almost perfect. It had all the extra things which were needed to make it work: second chain ring for the stoker's left side crank, small chain. After playing with it a bit, I've got it rigged to work, but it does have longer cranks than our other one, so we'll have to wait and see.
On to Vermilion, now in the great summer Midwest heat we've grown to hate, but still with a tail wind. Once in South Dakota, we stopped at an Interstate Highway Rest Area - it was on an exit where we crossed over I-29. It was one of those Welcome Centers, cso we loaded up with brochures and maps of South Dakota. Now we have no idea what to do in the Black Hills, having learned (a) there's much more there than Mt. Rushmore, and (b) the motorcyclists's annual rally at Sturgis is from Aug 2-10; We'll be there Aug 8, 9, 10. Once over the freeway, our back country road turned into a four lane divided, with little shoulder. We almost got killed twice, once by a Greyhound Bus, and once by a Winnebago, who thought the idea and effort of moving to the center lane was not worth our measly bikists' psyches or lives. Out of Iowa, indeed!
Miles: Al (Tandem&single) 84; Cheryl (Tandem&single) 29; Shaine (Tandem) 20.
Total Miles: 1935
**Next Day's Journal**