Yesterday was so tiring that I didn’t get to blog at all. But today I’ll make up for it with some interesting RAGBRAI facts. While talking to a nice farmer, we learned some interesting facts about Iowa crops:
The tall stuff is corn. It’s related to grass, and most of the time only one corn is harvested per stalk. All the corn in the field is field corn, not sweet corn, and ground up to feed animals or perhaps made into ethanol. Corn rows always have an even number of kernels! And he helped us remember that corn likes humidity by relaying a saying his father told him: if your ma sleeps with her bum out of the sheets, it’s a good year for corn. Graphic, but memorable!
The short stuff is soybeans. They aren’t your edamame variety, but instead are ground up for animal feed.
In many of the towns, they set up ropes held taught by tractors so people can park their bikes. You can see an example in the picture.
As for the actual ride yesterday, it was good but long. We went to a waterpark afterwards and went down a slide in which the slider picked up speed in a chute, spun around a huge funnel a few times, then gracelessly fell through the bottom. It was miraculous. Then we saw 38 Special perform, which was a very good show that mercifully ended around 9:30 so we could sleep.
Today was much nicer weatger-wise. We saw a pep band, enjoyed brief periods of rain, and ate some (ok, a lot of) really good food.
John got to drive with the people who run the charter, which was apparently an adventure in itself. He tried riding bike, but it hurt him to brake… and braking is pretty good to do on a bike.
We ended in Grinnel, which is a very cool town. First, Ryan and I went to an awesome water park complete with big slides, high diving boards, and showers! We all enjoyed a tasty meal with chocolate malts. Afterwards, Ryan and I ran to put rainflies on the tents since it started sprinkling. Then the rest of the people came back and we went downtown to watch a country style band and a laser show! It was great.
Today was cooler but a bit hillier, and I’d trade humidity for hills any day. We had Danish crepes in the shade of a windmill from Denmark for breakfast.
We also went to a hausbarn that was brought from Germany and reconstructed brick by brick. We had our most interesting food of the day there: saurkraut-chocolate-beer cupcakes. Not bad at all!
There was a creek by our tent which we went into to cool off before solar showers. These don’t seem like much (plastic bag with hose attached) but they’re really great inventions! Now Ryan and I are off to explore downtown while everyone else sleeps. Fun!