All along, I've been wondering if, as I approached the RAGBRAI route, I'd run across a convergence of baggers and bandits making their way towards the nearest overnight town. Today, I finally did.
After a restful night on Faith and Robert's sofa, breakfast, and some lounging around in front of the Tv, I got moving sometime around 9:30am. The plan was head down the Sauk Trail Trail and camp where the trail crosses through Carnarvon. With a easy rolling trail and a tailwind, I got there a bit too early in the day to feel enthusiastic about stopping.
I was feeling pretty much awesome, so I decided to just head towards Carroll and see what would come of it. Passing by Breda, I spotted -bikes-. Lots of them, at least fifteen loaded touring bikes, some road bikes with trailers, a couple of big dummies. Someone had a bike-mounted stereo blaring. Everyone was drinking beer, eating, rummaging through panniers, setting up and tearing down camp, hanging up clothing... For someone who has never seen more than two touring cyclists together at a time, this was pretty nifty.
As it turns out, I had run across a loosely associated groups of riders, most from the Des Moines area. There where riding their own alternate RAGBRAI route, and partying in town parks every night. They'd been having a good time of it - this morning, they woke up to find a lady come down from church, cooking a pancake and bacon breakfast outside their park shelter. I got a beer, delicious chicken wings, and plenty of conversation out of the encounter.