RAGBRAI Day 4: Des Moines to Knoxville
July 24, 2013 § 1 Comment
“The ride should flatten out after the second day.”
Wow, what a great day! The roads were still crowded and it was pretty hilly, but the ride was short, the food was great, the scenery was beautiful and varied, and the weather was better than yesterday.
We started pedaling at 7:22 for the third day in a row! We seem to have a schedule working here. Des Moines gave RAGBRAI a great farewell. The route out of the city led through a park to the state fairgrounds which were open and running just for the morning. It was a great tour of the city.
The day’s hills started early and started hard – one had an 11% grade and we were warned profusely about properly going down it safely. The neighborhood of Pleasant Hill, while very friendly and supportive, is terribly named – it was a very unpleasant hill. For pretty much the entire day, we were headed either up or down a hill. It sounds grueling, but we didn’t mind at all! It doesn’t compare in the slightest to Lolo Pass or the Continental Divide. Besides the hills, the landscape was plenty interesting. Today and yesterday, trees were much more common. As we increased our distance from Des Moines, they began to give way to fields again. The rolling bluffs of corn were great to bike through. Near the end of the ride, we crossed the Des Moines River, which was gorgeous, especially since the only bodies of water we’ve seen this week have been cow ponds. Our arrival in Knoxville was very similar to our departure from Des Moines, in that we got a tour of the town coming in. Before we got to the campsite we went around the motor speedway and through a great neighborhood. Our campsite is a tree-lined park next to the speedway and we have great acoustics from the live entertainment there.
The food on RAGBRAI is incredible. Besides yesterday’s perfect breakfast burrito, we’ve had awesome barbecue, sandwiches, smoothies, and more. Today we had breakfast sandwiches with local eggs, bacon, and kale. Lunch was a pulled pork sandwich with an awesome strawberry-banana smoothie, and dinner was a juicy brisket sandwich with baked beans, mashed potatoes, and a gooey brownie. It was a stupendous meal day, and we still have things to look forward to – tomorrow we have plans to visit Mr. Pork Chop, a man who drives around in a pink school bus and cooks insanely good pork.
Looking forward to another great day!
The town of Runnells was absolutely bizarre. It was decorated as though it were Christmas – trees on the light poles, hay bales stacked and decorated like snowmen, holiday inflatables in front yards, sugar canes, and even Santa!