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Rest Day #2 in Valentine, NE

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7/15/12 Rest Day #2 in Valentine

t’s 5:45 pm and I am sitting at “my” picnic table in the grassy area next to the Motel Raine. I call it “my” picnic table because that is how Tim referred to it this morning when he moved it out of the way of the sprinkler so I wouldn’t get wet if I decided to sit here and read. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to sit here much today because the wind is so strong it almost blows you off the bench! It has to be 25-30 mph by my estimation. Plus, it got up to 103 degrees this afternoon – the forecast is for more of the same tomorrow, which doesn’t bode well for biking. Oh well – we’ll just consider it one more opportunity to continue the character building.

This has seemed like the longest day. It seemed like a good idea to take 2 full days off and give our bodies and minds a really good rest going into RAGBRAI next weekend. If nothing else, to prepare mentally for 6-7 days of camping during RAGBRAI . I imagine that will be as big a challenge for me as the actual bike ride across Iowa. However, after the near constant exhilaration since starting the ride, I found myself feeling restless and a little out of sorts. Didn’t quite know what to do with myself. Walked into town and around the neighborhoods; read a little; tried to nap; did some crosswords; went to the store to shop for tomorrow’s snacks; visited with Tim for a good hour or more; soaked in the tub while I can.  Contemplated that we still have 2-3 more off days this week to kill before RAGBRAI , and even got out the map and gave a fleeting thought to ditching RAGBRAI and moving on through Iowa and to the east coast. However, I do want to experience RAGBRAI – as much for my friends as myself. Next, I gave myself a talking to on the virtues of being quiet and patient, and trying to sense whatever it is I am supposed to learn from this day.

The dynamics of the group have been subtly changing the past week or so, just as the terrain and average temperatures have changed. Not in a bad way, but in a very discernible way. We’ve known for several weeks that after RAGBRAI there would be a divergence as Roger and Frank head north to the Adventure Cycling northern tier route and eventually to Maine, and Randy heads on a different northern route eventually arriving in Washington DC as his final stop. That leaves me with several alternatives: go with Roger and Frank to PA, then head to DC or Va on my own to find a spot to “dip” my front wheel into some body of water related to the Atlantic Ocean; go with Randy to DC then figure out where to go to “dip” my front wheel into some body of water related to the Atlantic Ocean; or strike out on my own after Iowa and make my way east to some body of water related to the Atlantic for the ceremonial dipping. Since Randy and I are such compatible biking partners and enjoy traveling together, it seems to make the most sense to stay with him. We have great conversations and seem to share a similar appreciation for the whole experience, especially in the way we are affected by the scenery and interactions with the people we meet along the way. I think we tend to bring out the best in each other, and that is saying a lot when you spend weeks on end with someone you just met. Plus, we have similar views towards camping, and if I stayed with Roger and Frank it would entail regular camping and mostly biking on my own. So, the writing appears to be on the wall. However, more and more Roger and Frank are off on their own and Randy and I are off on our own. We do keep up with each other and try to meet up most days. However, you can sense a change in the group dynamics. I also sense a change in the trashmaniacs within the group dynamics. As I mentioned previously, although they camp exclusively, they do not care for the more primitive camping preferred by Roger and Frank, so I see them striking out on their own more and more, i.e. like avoiding the Cody city park last Friday. So, we’ll see what happens in the next week or so.

Met Randy for dinner, and he told me that he received a text from Frank indicating he and Roger left Valentine this morning and rode to a town approx 60 miles away. We will likely catch up with them a day or two before RAGBRAI.

Dinner tonight was at the Peppermill Restaurant. I had steak tips with mushrooms and fettuccine noodles. However, the best part was the steamed veggies I have craved for weeks – they were awesome.

We agreed to meet earlier than usual in the morning and hopefully avoid the full blown 103 degree heat and the forecasted strong winds during at least part of the ride. Plus, I think we are both just antsy to get back on the road after the extended rest stop.

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