With this record-breaking heat what better place to spend the night than a campground on the shores of Black Hawk Lake? This 957-acre lake that is Iowa's southernmost glacial lake was named after the Sac Indian Chief Black Hawk. The statue in the photo is a historic landmark that was erected in 1934.
Our host town here is the small resort commmunity of Lake View. It's surprising how many amenities even the smallest towns can provide. And then there's an added advantage that everything is close and it's easy to get around. Of course, as hot as it is, there wasn't much except showers, shade and cool drinks that I was interested in looking for.
I read in today's paper that the National Weather Service reported that the first three weeks in July were the second warmest on record in Des Moines, only being exceeded by July of 1936. Based on total precipitation so far this summer, the area is in its fifth-driest summer on record to date. This could be the driest spell since 1927, even surpassing the Dust Bowl years.
It wasn't until the last couple of hours of pedaling today that I began to feel the excessive heat. That's a major selling point for getting up before daylight and getting started at first light. Overall, today's ride was one of the easiest I can remember. There was hardly any wind, the hills were gradual and provided nice breezes on the way down, and the pass-through towns were spaced out just about right for when I needed a break.
These triple digit temperatures are supposed to be around for two more days, but I'm more than ready to get out there and tackle another RAGBRAI day tomorrow.
While pedaling away the miles on a typical RAGBRAI day, one of the things that often brings a smile to your face and a humorous bit of encouragement is the handmade roadside signs local residents post along the route. These are “Burma Shave” type commercials for those of you old enough to remember driving a highway and seeing a series of the signs with a partial message on each one leading to a final punch line.
Anyway, today I saw one of these sign series that I wanted to share:
1st sign: “Helpful Hints for your ride across Iowa”
2nd sign (with an arrow pointing to a cornfield on the righthand side of the road): “This is corn”
3rd sign (with an arrow pointing to a soybean field on the lefthand side of the road): “These are beans”
Punchline sign: “That’s all you need to know”
Yup, that’s the basics of what you’re going to see…lots of corn and soybean fields. But it’s hard to describe why that can still be something so beautiful to behold. You would think after having pedaled these many Iowa highways over the years that I would be tired of seeing the same thing. But after finishing the first day of this year’s ride I can’t wait to get back on the bike to pedal some more tomorrow.
We had a lot of headwinds today but I was on the road early enough this morning that I was able to finish the day before the winds got too strong. That also helped with the heat factor. It’s starting off to be a very hot week, with temperatures up to 100 the next couple of days. The most important thing is to drink lots of water and I’m careful to do that and am looking forward to another great ride tomorrow.
This morning’s first stop was in the Dutch town of Orange City.
This is the RAGBRAI baggage truck you look for at the end of the day so you can dig through the hundreds of bags laid out on the pavement to find the bag you loaded on the truck in the morning. They do a nice job of laying them out in areas labeled with the time in the morning that you loaded your bag.