7/27/12 – Day #6 of RAGBRAI – Cedar Rapids (Fairfax) to Anamosa – approx. 48 miles
Absolutely perfect day for riding. Clear, blue skies with temperatures in the low to mid 70’s to start. Easy rolling hills. Wind no real factor.
I took the opportunity to drift along with my thoughts. I started thinking about my cat, Sassy. Honestly, the hardest thing I had to do in preparation for the trip was give up my cat for 3 months. She has been my near constant companion for 16 years and we are very bonded – at least I thought we were. However, lately I have begun having the sneaking suspicion that Mom and Sassy are conspiring to terminate my parental rights, initiate adoption proceedings, and apply for a name change. I can hear it in Mom’s voice. Plus, there is the fact that from the moment Sassy sashayed out of her carrier into the Florida sunroom prepared for her and all her favorite things, it was as if she had entered her own private Disney World. No fantasy is off base. And she never looked back. I mean, I wanted the cat to be happy and have a good summer, but she could have at least refused to eat and absolutely refuse to come out of the closet for at least a day or two. An appropriate period grieving my departure. Instead, Sassy immediately embraced retirement living in Florida with her two new best friends and never looked back. She has my Mom and George at her beck and call 24/7 and is taking full advantage. That is what happens when you take a cat person who is cat-less at the time – Mom (makes you a little crazy), and give them the most beautiful and smartest cat in the world. Sassy bats those big blue eyes and it is all over. It always worked with me, so why not my Mom?
Then I started thinking that if I had been abandoned by my cat, I might as well make the best of it and just turn right after dipping my front tire in the Atlantic and head south to the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida. I could just drop in on unsuspecting family and friends along the way and share the triumph of my ride first hand. Okay – not likely to happen, but it was a fun fantasy. Besides which, I already bought my ticket home.
Back to the real world and RAGBRAI. As I said, the riding was fabulous. Then, a big surprise – we ran into Muhammed and M (the “trashmaniacs”) in Mt Vernon! We hadn’t seen them since S. Dakota shortly after Mt. Rushmore. I took a picture and we agreed to meet up again in Clinton. Which reminds me – we passed Roger 3 times yesterday and again today. Still no sign of Frank, although M & M said they had seen him earlier today. While I am at it, another update. McKinley and Patrice sent a picture of a Starbucks in Kansas with the message something like “First Starbucks we have seen since Oregon and thought of you and your penchant for cappachinos.” Fun stuff.
The next highlight was our new daily ritual of stopping for Beekman’s root beer float at the end of the ride. Fabulous! Definitely entering addiction territory.
Another fun part of the day was riding along with a man who has wanted to do the cross-country ride for years. He had tons of questions and was so envious, in an enthusiastic sort of way. We encouraged him to go for it and told him what an amazing adventure it is. He was especially surprised to hear that there are lots of other riders that you meet along the way and can ride with, so you are never really alone. Randy admonished him to take the first step and commit to a date.
We proceeded to Anamosa and are camping in this lady’s beautiful yard. There is a cool gentle wind and I am even looking forward to camping in the pleasant weather, my attitude having been adjusted by two consecutive nights indoors. Scary as it might sound, I almost found myself actually liking and embracing the RAGBRAI experience today, and not just making the most of it.
Tomorrow we ride the final 70 mile leg of RAGBRAI. If the weather and riding conditions are anything like today, it will be a fabulous end. More importantly, we still have one final Beekman’s stop to look forward to.