Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 26 - Cascade to Elkader, IA

Total miles for the day: 78
Total mileage to date: 1279
Brook's Bitter Blog: Knowing my parents read this letter by letter I have to make a difficult filtering choice, but I suppose this is my journal and I would only want to look back on what really happened during my bike journey. Although my day started wonderfully with good company and a yummy free breakfast, things turned for the worse quickly. I do not mean to sound offensive, but I am sorry to say Iowa your roads SUCK! The roads lack proper signage (I even included a funny sign for your entertainment), they need a world of repair, they lack a proper shoulder and I if I were not mistaken I could have thought I was on the Autobahn.
I arrived in a town called Dyersville which is where the baseball field for Field of Dreams lives. I enjoyed a fruit smoothie in an adorable cafe and as I began my journey leaving town a car flagged me down. Josh from the local newspaper steps out with a camera, pad and pen. He spent 5 minutes interviewing me before I needed to continue down my road.
In one of the following towns I asked someone if I was headed in the right direction and he responded with, "yes, but you can't go that way because that bridge is down." Reroute time - my 70 mile day just turned into an 80 mile day.
The rain began - I had to remind myself the following things in order to keep moving forward in the relentless precipitation: at least it was not cold temperatures, at least my knee and tendon were feeling strong and at least I had a dry place to stay tonight. The lightening began - with no refuge for another ten miles I continued to bike while throwing my thumb out at the passing vehicles. No one took the bait I honestly felt seriously fearful for the first time in 26 days (besides those dogs that one day). As I turned my head around to look for an oncoming pick up truck to come save me I drifted off to the side and thanks to Iowa's awful roads, there was a clear 7 inch drop off and down went Brook, Charlie and Bob. I have no idea how I escaped this crash with only a minor bruise and scrape on my knee, torn rain pants and torn leg warmers. Charlie and Bob held in strong and had the strength to carry on. The rain continued as I had another 10 miles of serious hills and pouring rain!
Filled with joy I met my couchsurfing host, Shannon, and nearly began crying in exhaustion and a sense of gratefulness for her hospitality and warm smile. We enjoyed a fantastic dinner at the local Algerian/American restaurant where her husband, Bryce, was subbing in as the cook. Since most folks in the Midwest enjoy their dinner between 4:30 - 6:30 we had the place to ourselves and had a lovely time chatting with my hosts and the two owners of the establishment.
Comment of the day: While talking with a driver waiting for the flagger to wave us through during a stretch of construction the overweight gentleman asks me, "How many miles are you traveling today?" I tell him I had planned for 70 but the reroute might bump it up to 80 miles. He responded, "I've been there, done that." In shear amazement I responded, "You have biked 80 miles in one day because a bridge was closed?" "No, but I have driven a tractor that far because of that bridge," he said. I am so sorry, but he does NOT have the right to use the phrase, "been there done that" by pushing a gas pedal on a tractor for 80 miles! The equal would be seeing a person walking across America and telling them, "been there, done that." Feet do not equate to wheels a bicycle does not equate a motor.


  1. Oh no! Sorry to hear about the fall Brook, but it's good to hear you're alright, and that your bike is still in fine working condition. I hope that this post marks the worst of your journey. I would like very much for the remainder to be pleasant for you. It's very impressive to watch your progress and see your posts from each new location. I still wish the best for you daily. Good travels friend.


  2. Dan - thanks for the comments and support. I love getting comments, it keeps me motivated. It is as if I have a virtual support team rooting me on :)