We had lots of wind again but 90% of the time it was either a tailwind or blowing sideways. It was so wonderful that I didn’t mind the fact that there quite a few hills. Most of the hills were the roller coaster kind that aren’t that long and that are fun to descend. Also, that kind of terrain in Iowa means the ride is scenic with views of valleys and ridges blanketed with beautiful farmland.
I didn’t hear any statistics on amount of rainfall last night in Marshalltown, but it definitely wasn’t enough to break the drought. It did thunder and lightning and a severe storm warning was issued. We were already in our tent, but talked to some riders today who said people who had gone downtown on the shuttle were told the shuttles wouldn’t take them back to camp until the storm threat passed. A group in our campground this afternoon was making repairs to their tent and drying out their clothes in the sun. They said when the shuttle finally got them back to camp they discovered the wind had blown over their tent.
Even if the nights camping on RAGBRAI don’t have storms there are other hazards to watch out for. Have you ever experienced the frustration of leaving your car in a parking lot while you shop and then when you come out of the store you can’t figure out where you left it? That frustration can’t compare to what a fellow camper experienced last night. At 3:30 in the morning Lee heard me getting out of the tent to go to the bathroom and asked if he could walk with me since he’d forgotten his flashlight. When we exited the tent a panic-stricken woman saw our light and told us her sad story. She had gone to the restroom but then had gotten disoriented in the dark and couldn’t find her tent. We stumbled around with her awhile with no success and finally left her back at the restroom where she started so she could try to retrace her steps. It’s awful what an unorganized, huge jumble of tents fills a RAGBRAI campground. When the restrooms are far away like they were last night I always dread those middle of the night restroom visits. I could end up wandering around until daylight lost and unable to find my tent.
Here in Cedar Rapids we have a much nicer camping spot. The restrooms are close and the skies are clear. It should be a hazard-free night. I’ll need a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is the day with the most hills on this year’s ride.