Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 18--Day 6--A Conversation With My Dad

Even though my dad has been gone a couple of years now, it was as if I was talking to him today. I'll get to why in a moment.


The weather was finally cooler this morning, like upper 60s cooler. It was delightful. I backtracked a bit to get back on the route. The map info said the route from Marquette to Elkader was hilly and shoulderless. It also said the road was rough and very curvy. The hilly part was certainly true, especially the first couple of miles back on the route. In fact, the entire first couple of miles was uphill. But, it was quiet and not too bad. Once I got to the end of that climb, and to the more open rolling farmland, the issue was not the hills, but the strong headwind. It was a long 13 miles to Momona.

Rolling Iowa farm land



I arrived in Momona at 10:00. I dropped a postcard in the mailbox at the post office for My Sweet Baboo, then headed to the library to see if the wifi was on so I could post yesterday's blog. Of course the library was closed, but the wifi was on...except it required a password. Oh well, at least I had phone service so I could use my phone as a hotspot. More importantly, there was an outlet. I have a dynamo hub, but for some reason it's not doing a good job charging my Ankar battery pack. The first two days it was great. Now when I get up to speed, even though I have turned off the headlight so all the generated power goes to the battery pack, the headlight comes on. For awhile yesterday it was working like it's supposed to--battery pack charging, headlight staying off. I thought, maybe the battery pack has to have enough of a charge already, and when it had reached that, the headlight stayed off. I don't know...


Anyway, I pulled out my chair and sat down in front of the library to charge my iPad, and finish up the blog post. As I'm writing, a gentleman pulls up in his car, and starts talking to me. At first he asked the usual questions--where am I going, where am I from, etc. I couldn't really type and talk at the same time, so I put my iPad down. I thought, at least it will get a good time to charge. Craig used to be the funeral director in town until he sold the business. In our conversation, he covered everything from Trump (doesn't think he'll make it four years) to stories about escaped prisoners in South Dakota that tried to highjack his car (he just floored it and tried to run them over--didn't care if he hit them--he didn't). He told me how he thought foreigners coming to this country should learn to speak English in a hurry. He said he had spent some time in Seattle taking care of his aunt so she wouldn't have to go to a "home" where she might be put with a "colored" person, plus all her money would go to the "home", and she'd have nothing left when she died. Then he started up his car saying he needed to get home. But, then he shut it off again because he had to tell me how he heard that some town in Kentucky (couldn't quite remember the town) has a bunch of loot stolen from Iowan Union soldiers from the Civil War in a bank vault. He was going to figure out who he needed to talk to get it back (certainly not someone from the Confederates, they'd just say they didn't know, had to be someone from Iowa). Basically, talking to Craig was like talking to my dad--a bit of a bigot, but an okay guy. I thought it was appropriate, as this is Father's Day.




Craig did finally go, but not before giving me the wifi password. There was a kid that came up to the library, and was playing some sort of game on his phone/device. It didn't occur to me that he would be using the wifi (duh, why else would he be there?). Craig asked the kid what the password was. The kid said, "Oh, it's easy, it's the phone number." I could have looked at my map, but I didn't need to as Craig knew it by heart. So, in the end, I did use the wifi.


Everything packed back up, and I was heading out of town. What should I happen to come across? A Subway! It was 11:00, a little early for lunch, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to check of an Iowa Subway. So, I had an early lunch, then FINALLY left Momona.

Iowa Subway--Check!



The road from Momona to Elkader was supposed to be curvy with no shoulder, and rough. Turns out they have since redone the road and even taken out some of the curves (this was according to Craig). While it was true that there wasn't any shoulder for the first few miles, there was a nice wide shoulder the rest of the way. 

No shoulder part



I thought I had to go into Elkader to get to the park I'm staying at. It was a nice ride through town, but it turns out I could have stayed on the highway straight to the park. At least tomorrow I don't have to go back uphill to get out of town.


I'm staying at Elkader City Park. I asked a gentleman if all the sites were electric, or if there was some non-electric/water sites. He said I could camp wherever I wanted. So I set up in an electric site to charge everything in case I can't get the battery pack to charge fully. 


There's a pool too. Even though the temp is not that warm (it's a least over 70 because the pool doesn't open unless it is), and it's very windy, I went swimming. The pool is not heated, so it was...refreshing. The showers were also not heated, but it felt good to be clean.

The pool

The museum



There's a museum. I walked over. The gal, Jane, who was volunteering today was getting ready to close up. I saw it was $5.00 to go in, so I told her not to worry about it. I asked her if she had lived in Elkader for very long. She said she had lived here all her life. I asked her what she liked about it. She said she just loves it. It's a very nice town with friendly people. Later Chris came in. I think he might have been her husband, but they didn't have the same last name, so not sure. We talked some more. Chris told me, if tomorrow a green truck hauling corn honked at me, it was him. I told him he would know it was me by the Da Brim on my helmet.


It wasn't really a long day's ride today, but I have enjoyed meeting more Iowans (especially ones who remind me of my dad). Day two in Iowa, and I'm still finding everyone to be very friendly. I like this state!

Another building that is part of the park.




Total miles today: 33

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