Look at a map; Council Bluffs does not really look half way from Plymouth to Gig Harbor. But with our circuitous route up over the Alleganies, then down to Cincinnati and Seymour, and back up to Council Bluffs, the miles added up. We actually plan fewer days of riding from here to home, partly because we're in better shape.
Today's ride was much like yesterday's. Endless hills, not too steep and not too long - 10-15 mph going up, and 25-35 going down. The tandem loves this terrain. A 10-15 mph wind from the east was also helpful, along with temps in the 70's and 80's.
We didn't mean to, but we seemed to follow the Mormon Trail through Iowa. Our original plan had been to take State Route 2 all across Iowa's southern tier. But talking to RAGBRAI survivors, and re-looking at camping possibilities (we found we actually like the Corps of Engineers camps), we stair-stepped north from 2 to US 34 to SR 92, apparently taking the same trip Brigham and his troops did.
With the ride offering no tidbits or anecdotes of note, I'll use today to award the states with their appropriate designations, from a cross-country bikist's point of view. But first, some half-way stats:
Total miles: 1797; Tandem miles: 1050, avg speed: 14.75 mph; Will's miles: 1797, all single, avg: 15.0; Al: 1797, tandem: 1050, single: 747, avg: 14.9; Cheryl: 1130, avg 13.9. Average daily miles, nearly 70 (not counting 3 rest days).
Now, the awards:
- Best towns: MA (Churches, estates, trees, hills, history)
- Best roads: NY (Newly asphalted, wide shoulders)
- Best Downhill (Eastern Division): Berkshires, from Savoy to Adams, MA
- Best Day (Ties): Shreve to Carroll, OH & Lake Rathbun to Creston, IA
- Most Courteous Drivers: Indiana
- Straightest, flatest roads: Illinois
- Best Place to Bike: Iowa
- Best AC: Mark Twain Cave
- Best Roller Coaster: King's Island
- Best Sunset: Lake Erie St Park
- Friendliest People: Iowa
Now, for some sad news. Will, several weeks ago, decided to cut short his ride, and re-join his family. He will fly out from the Omaha airport on 8-1, to Boise, where he goes on up to his family's place in McCall ID. He needs time to get ready for school (he's going away to school on Vancouver Island next fall), and re-connect with friends, after six weeks with us. Will has been a really great partner in the adventure; helpful, humorous, philosophical, flexible, and companionable. All of us will miss him but appreciate his decision to balance what he needs. Adios, Will! Vaya con Dios!
Miles: Will, 85; Al (Tandem&single) 85; Cheryl (Tandem&single) 57; Shaine (Tandem) 16; Ann (Tandem) 16.
Total Miles: 1797
**Next Day's Journal**