Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 27 - Elkader to Lansing, IA

Mileage for the day: 64
Total mileage to date: 1343
I joyously lathered myself with sunscreen before heading out this morning as the sun shined through the windows. I had a great morning and cruised through the first 20 miles. Folks in town warned me of a storm rolling through and I looked up at the clouds and sadly concurred. At the midpoint of my day my goal was to visit a bike shop and an outdoor gear shop two miles out of my way to pick up a new pair of rain pants as mine bit the dust. I picked up my pace and began to worry about the thick cloud coverage overhead. I made it to the bike shop for a much needed tune up but the outdoor shop seemed slightly out of reach and I left unwilling to tack on another 4 miles to my day through the serious hills alongside the Mississippi. As I reached the the top of the steepest and longest hill I had seen since leaving the mountains in the east coast, two older farmers began clapping and yelling from a distance, "you can do it, you are almost there, it is all down hill from here." I waved and thanked them and through my exhaustion I descended the hill crying. I cannot explain my emotions, but I felt overwhelmed by their enthusiasm. Most farmers pay no attention to me or offer a casual wave, but this couple just touched my heart in a way they have no idea.
I arrived to town with no plans of a place to stay and waited for my magic universe to deliver my sleeping arrangements. Lansing provided more road blocks than any other town and the folks could have provided a more friendly greeting to their town. The Methodist pastor wanted no part in helping me, the police had banned public camping and the campsite 3 miles outside of town wanted to charge me $18 to set up my tent. While working at the library the librarian had arranged for me to pitch my tent in her daughter-in-law's back yard. I declined the generous offer as her house was outside of town as well. As I strolled the main street restaurant shopping I met Jeff or lived downtown and allowed me to pitch my tent in his yard for the night. I enjoyed a lovely dinner in the bar area of one of the restaurants and spent 2 hours with some local characters. By the time I left the restaurant I had 4 bed offers but sadly they all lived outside of town so I did not take anyone up on their offer.

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